AS I SEE IT (8 April) 

hockey nz olympics rio
By Terry O’Neill.

Professional sport centres on money. Who gets how much. 

And this is especially so in an Olympic year.

New Zealand hockey’s generous supporter Sir Owen Glenn has come out firing about Hockey New Zealand because it asked its current Olympic players to plead/beg sponsors for funds to finance the build-up to Rio. $12,000 has been bandied about as individual obligations. There are obvious questions. “What about Sport New Zealand’s high performance system? Doesn’t it allocate funds to sports?”  It does. But what  it doesn’t indicate is that the goose which lays the golden egg is light on eggs.

Consequently Sport NZ’s budget is reduced by a $4 million dollars through the fall in returns from lottery grants.

The government has come under criticism in spite of its investment of $62 million in High Performance Sport NZ, which in turn made funding decisions based on targeted performance results.  

Women’s hockey receives $1.3 million in High Performance funding with individual players receiving between $9000 and $20,000. Men’s hockey will get $700,000 from HPSNZ , a $300,000 drop from its previous level. The fall-off in support for national lotteries, and the absence of large payouts, has dimmed lottery buyers’ spending.

Meanwhile local rugby kicked off last Saturday with no red cards issued, a few yellow cards and no blue cards.

Blue cards? These could become part of local rugby if an innovation from the Northland Rugby Union is adopted nationally.

Head knocks and concussion are increasingly before the public. Northland introduced a system whereby a player who receives a head knock is asked a few questions by a team medic/physio and, if required, the referee then gives him a blue card which means that the player is effectively out of the game for 21 days. This has real merit.

rugby blue card front

rugby bvlue card back

Blue card front and back

Rugby opening day last weekend resulted in high scoring from Old Boys and Athletic Marist and an entertaining performance between Maheno and Kurow.  It may have been due to opening day collywobbles.

No match liaison officer was publicly named at the Stadium on Saturday, so supporters were kept in the dark over team or number changes making the provided programme far from accurate. That, combined with the lack of a Public Address system, meant that point scorers faced a bit of a lottery at that venue. At the Maheno Domain there was no such problem I believe, but at Weston no programme was available for supporters.

Not a good beginning.
I’ll excuse it because it’s the start of the season. But will rugby supporters?

ENDS

AS I SEE IT (18Dec)

 

NO rugby against AS

North Otago players celebrate as Bill Pile scores the game-winning try against Australia at the Oamaru Showgrounds in 1962. Photo from ODT files.

By Terry O’Neill.

This year’s North Otago’s sporting prowess is renowned despite the low population of this district . . .

Development of our swimming talent is the success story of 2015. Seventeen local swimmers under coach Narcis Gherca brought home a massive total of 45 medals, set 76 personal best times, and many qualified for the 2016 national age group championships. Take note of swimmers like Micah Hayes, Tandia Gooch, Jasmine Emery, Danny Gilbert, Iessha Mansfield, Tiana Mansfield and Imogen Keeling.

Oamaru rowing club administrator Peter Scott maintains the eighty active rowers on the water this season makes the club in the biggest in its 128th year and comprises School, Club, University and Masters rowers. Most satisfying for him is the great parent support and mingling of all local secondary schools.   At last weekend’s regatta Oamaru’s Mark Taylor, Charlie Wallis, Jared Brensell and James Scott were outstanding.

North Otago rugby’s consistency has been the key to significant performances over the last two decades. The playoff systems for initially divisional, and later the Heartland competitions, have been in existencefor nearly two decades.North Otago has made those playoffs on nineteen times since 1997 taking titles on four occasions. 2015 was no exception with Lemi Masoe and Ralph Darling again making the NZ Heartland XV.

The North Otago senior cricket side is currently only one match away from winning the zone four Hawke Cup challenge repeating last season’s effort. This season the team had two outright wins against  Otago Country and Southland. And there’s games coming up against South Canterbury (9/10 Jan) in Oamaru and Mid Canterbury(23/24 Jan) in Ashburton.

Winning the Ian Smith Trophy for only the fourth time was the feature of the North Otago mens hockey side this year. On an individual basis Logan Jopson and Jonty Naylor took a further step in their development being selected in the Southern under 18 side. On the club scene Waitaki Boys’ first X1 won the second division South Canterbury title beating Tainui B,3-0 in the final.

Valley Gold won the2015 premier grade netball title beating Waitaki Girls’ Wildfire in a thriller late in August. Wildfire led by four at the end of the first quarter, three at halftime, and two at three-quarter  time before Valley Gold stormed back to win 37-35. Jennifer O’Connell was impressive for the Waitaki Girls’. Her ability was further confirmed by her selection for the pathway to podium system developed by Netball New Zealand, one of three from the southern region, and she will play two games for the national development team in the Cook Islands this week.

Football Waitaki caters for over 480 children including teams from Twizel and Omarama. In competition, St Kevin’s U/18 finished second, Waitaki Boys’ U/16, second and Meadowbank U/14s finished fourth. Young players coming through the ranks and heading for senior ranks are Caleb Roberts, Riku Koyama and Tom Prestidge.

The highlight of the basketball season was the performance of the North Otago U/15 team which qualified for the nationals beating Otago in the process. Individually Harry Thorp and Tom Crutchley from Waitaki Boys’ are in Las Vegas with the Mainland Eagles Academy team while Matt Brien of St Kevin’s made the National Secondary Schools A tournament team.

ENDS