It hasn’t been an easy season for Highlanders’ fans but at last they’ve won a game:
It hasn’t been an easy season for Highlanders’ fans but at last they’ve won a game:
Hastings-based shearer Rowland Smith has won the 2013 Golden Shears open.
A new shearing champion has been saluted in an emotional end to the 53rd Golden Shears in which he gave his $3000 prize to help fight cancer.
After his win in an almlost all-Hawke’s Bay race for the “Wimbledon” of shearing in Masterton, 26-year-old Rowland Smith, of Hastings, told the crowd “it’s not for the money,” and bolstered the shears’ cancer research fundraising to over $11,000 from donations and other gifted prizes.
Smith’s own mother died of cancer, making it a particularly poignant moment as shearsgoers got behind woolhandling icon Joanne Kumeroa, battling cancer but still finishing second in her attempt to win the wool industry pageant’s Open woolhandling title for a seventh time.
The shearing final was an exciting contest dominated by four Hawke’s Bay shearers who were separated by less than four-tenths of a point, Smith justifying his TAB favouritism after winning eight other finals in the six weeks leading into Shears week.
With 16-times winner David Fagan missing from the final for only the fourth time in 30 years, Smith was always going to find three other former winners toughest to beat in defending champion and four-times winner John Kirkoatrick, of Napier, 2006 winner Dion King, of Hastings, and 2010 winner Cam Ferguson, of Waipawa.
It was King who poured on the pace throughout the contest, finishing the 20 second-shear sheep first in 16min 30.09sec, 16 secoonds ahead of Kirkpatrick, and another 8 seconds ahead of Smith.
With Ferguson next to finish, all four Hawke’s Bay guns put more than a sheep around World champion Gavin Mutch, a Scotsman farming in Taranaki, and Southland hope Nathan Stratford.
The final result was in doubt however until the presentation, with Rowland’s event best 10.45 quality points total securing him the major prize. King had to settle for second overall, Kirkpatrick third and Ferguson fourth.
Amazingly, despite his lack of familiarity with the fine-wooled merino, Kirkpatrick was first to finish the multi-breeds PGG Wrightson National Circuit final earlier in the night. Taking 19min 6.862sec for the 15 sheep, half-a-minute slower than the fastest time last year and in nhis first time in the circuit final, he just just pipped 2009-2011winner Tony Coster, of Rakaia, for the major prize.
With points ultimately in the same order as the shearers came off the board, World champion, Scottish national and Whangamomona farmer Gavin Mutch was third and defending champion Angus Moore, from Ward in Marlborough but now living at Kaitangata, South Otago, was fourth.
The 15 sheep comprised three of each type representing each of the qualifying rounds at Alexandra (fine wool), Waimate (longwool, Alexandra (coarse wool), Raglan (lambs) and Pahiatua (second-shear).
A dramatic Open woolhandling final ended with World champion Joel Henare, 21, of Gisborne, winning the title for the first time after four consecutive second placings in the event. He’s the youngest ever to win the title, and the first male woolhandling champion since Oti Mason, of Dannevirke, won in 2000.
In the other major event of the final night, New Zealand won a shearing test over Australia.
The link in the opening sentence will take you to the full results on Shearing Sports NZ’s website.
Any news of cheating or poor sportsmanship travels quickly.
This story of good sportsmanship and the honesty of a long distance runner is only getting traction through social media more than two months after it happened:
. . . on December 2, Spanish athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai – bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner – the certain winner of the race – mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.
Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai’s mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.
“I didn’t deserve to win it,” says 24-year-old Fernández Anaya. “I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.” . . .
Isn’t it heart warming to know that winning at all costs isn’t what counts and doing the right thing still matters?
What’s your favourite sporting moment of 2012?
If you click here you can vote and be in to a draw to win tickets and flights to the Halberg Awards.
The choices are: NZ Breakers – Win second straight NBL Championship; Bay of Plenty Magic – Become first Kiwi team to win Netball Championship; Nathan Cohen & Joseph Sullivan – Storm from behind to win Olympic Gold;Mahe Drysdale – Battles five ‘scared men’ to win Olympic Gold; Lisa Carrington – Blitzes the field to win Olympic Gold;Valerie Adams – Gets her Olympic Gold in the end and Levi Sherwood – Wins the Red Bull X-Fighters Motorcross Series.
Everyone can vote once a day until February 14th.
If I’d put my money where this morning’s post was I’d have been on to a winner.
My pick this morning was Terror To Love which won its second New Zealand Trotting Cup race this evening.
Terror To Love joined an elite list of some of the greatest Cup champions with his second successive NZ Trotting Cup win.
The defending champ had to be everything he was touted to be and more after he endured a midrace battled with leader Mah Sish.
When the whips were cracking though Terror To Love was still able to present his trademark finish and overwhelm a wall of horses featuring Highview Tommy, Sushi Sushi and Mah Sish.
It was a triumph once again for the father-and-son partnership of Graham and Paul Court. The Cup win was a culmination of a faultless preparation. Nothing went wrong. It threatened to a lap out when a dip for the lead proved unsuccessful but driver Ricky May didn’t panic, the horse came back to him and the rest is history.
The win takes Terror To Love past the million in stakes earnings.
But nothing for me except the dubious satisfaction of knowing that picking a winner in ignorance can sometimes be lucky.
The New Zealand Trotting Cup takes place at Addington 5:15 pm today.
I know even less about harness racing than I do about gallops, which is almost nothing, but on the strength of their names am opting for Terror To Love, Gold Ace and Pure Power.
|3||Terror To Love|
|8||Fly Like An Eagle|
Let’s not incur the wrath of Internal Affairs which warns any sweepstake with a prize worth more than $500 would be breaking the rules.
But let’s have some fun with an electronic sweepstake for this afternoon’s Melbourne Cup with an electronic batch of meringues for the winner.
TV3 has a downloadable sweepstake form which includes the important detail of jockey’s colours.
#9 Sanagas for first place – the jockey is in blue with a horseshoe on the front of his shirt.
# 20 Zabeelionaire for second – the jockey is in blue and gold, which are Otago colours and its a New Zealand horse. The only other New Zealand horse’s name is Maluckyday which appeals but the jockey’s shirt sleeves are pink.
#1 Dunaden for third sounds similar to Dunedin, the jockey’s in blue and gold and it’s a previous winner.
The form includes the jockey’s weights. Some of the heroes in Dick Francis books mutter about constant hunger and taking saunas to reduce their weight. But how do you have the strength to race when you’re not eating enough?
The Melbourne Cup field has been announced.
The Victoria Racing Club has details on the field and form.
Racenet lists the favourites.
I will be studying all this to determine the likely winner of tomorrow’s race based on the not very foolproof method using a combination of the appeal of the horses’ names and the jockeys’ colours.
The race and the jockey were Australian, the horse was New Zealand born and trained and its owners are its trainer, Gary Hennessy, and two Hong Kong businessmen Andrew Wong and Stephen Yang.
Twelve months is a long time in rugby.
A year ago Otago was in the doldrums, tonight the team beat Tasman 41 – 34 to secure a spot in the final.
Is it too much to hope that Southland will beat Counties Manakau tomorrow to provide a Southern showdown and give Otago a home final?
My farmer has taken some of our staff and a few strays to a Beldisloe Cup test in Australia for several years.
When asked why I didn’t go too, I’ve always said we’d both enjoy it more if I didn’t.
But the idea of going to Argentina with the All Blacks was different.
We hosted an AFS student from there and his family is now ours. Our links to Argentina have been strengthened by the marriage of a nephew to a woman from Buenos Aires; we’d had six trips there and I was very keen on a seventh visit.
We joined the 300-strong Air New Zealand All Black entourage which left New Zealand a week before the Rugby Championship test against the Pumas.
The nine of us in our group were all country people and included four farmers and a stock agent. We could have stayed in Buenos Aires and gone to an All Black practice but the call of the country was stronger so we headed out of town for four days to catch up with friends and visit farms.
We returned to the city on Thursday in time to join the entourage’s evening with the Club Atlético Ferrocarril General San Martín, home of the San Martin Rugby Club where we were entertained by a three-part contest between former Pumas prop Serafin Dengra and former All Black Frank Bunce (Dengra won the haka, Bunce won the tango and I’m not sure who won the banner erection.)
The locals were very welcoming, forgiving of my rusty Spanish and treated us to a delicious meal featuring meat cooked on the asado.
Saturday’s test was in La Plata about 40 minutes from Buenos Aires. We arrived there mid-afternoon for a couple of hours of pre-game build-up which included talks by Olympic gold medalist Mahe Drysdale and Frank Bunce.
Our journey from there to the stadium was eased by a police escort which amused us and gained the attention of people we passed, most of whom gave us big smiles and friendly waves.
Estadio Unico, which is covered, seats 52,000 and had a capacity crowd.
It is alcohol-free which appeared to have no impact on the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the crowd.
All week advertisements had been encouraging people to hug each other while the All Blacks did the haka and most of those in the stadium did.
The noise from the crowd was deafening, especially when the Pumas scored first. They quietened down a bit as the All Blacks took control but continued to be good humoured and polite even though it was obvious the home side wasn’t going to win.
The only noise while the Puma’s player too a shot at goal was from New Zealanders which earned shocked looks from the locals. When thy were noisy while an All Black was taking a shot, the announcer asked them to show respect.
It was an amazing experience and while I still think my farmer and I would both enjoy the Australian excursions more if I didn’t go, my fears about what happens on rugby trips weren’t realised.
Air New Zealand looked after us well with good pre-tour communication, excellent communication and organisation in Argentina and their usual friendly but professional service. They finished by putting on a special flight from Auckland to Christchurch for southerners when a later departure than anticipated from Buenos Aires meant we’d miss the scheduled connection.
If they offer a similar trip in future I’d be very keen to go again.
The 54-15 score secured the All Blacks the Rugby Championship trophy but the Pumas didn’t give up and given the Wallabies’ injury woes could well beat them when they meet in Rosario this afternoon.
With Robbie Deans as coach my heart would usually back the Wallabies if they were playing anyone but the All Blacks. But with memories of the wonderful experience in La Plata so fresh, today I’m saying vamos Los Pumas.
We were part of the Air New Zealand All Black entourage to Argentina which left New Zealand last Saturday (September 22nd) and got back to Auckland late last night.
We then had a connecting flight to Christchurch and drove home from there, arriving at about 5am.
Blogging will resume when I’ve caught up with some sleep and the other items on the things-to-do-when-you-get-home list.
The All Blacks 54 – 15 win over the Pumas has made them the winners of the inaugural Rugby Championship.
Win or lose in next week’s match against South Africa, the All Blacks are the Championship champions.
The expansion of the Tri-Nations to include Argentina has been good for rugby.
The Pumas were always going to be the under-dogs but they drew against South Africa at home and had a win against the Wallabies in Australia.
They also scored first in both matches against the All Blacks.
Hopes of beating New Zealand for the first time today weren’t realised but while they lost the match they were not disgraced.
Anyone following the achievements of is multi-medal winning paralympian Sophie Pascoe knows she’s got the x factor.
She’s now also got the + factor.
Sophie has become Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s third iron maiden, joining Lisa Carrington and Sarah Walker.
A former Puma player is urging the team’s supporters to take part in a group hug when the All Blacks do the haka tomorrow.
“En el Estadio Unico, va a pasar algo único”, dicen. Ese es precisamente el lema de “Abrazo de Puma”, una iniciativa que tiene como objetivo alentar al equipo argentino en la previa al trascendental choque con los All Blacks, en el que intentarán obtener un triunfo histórico ya que nunca le pudieron ganar en los 19 tests matches disputados desde el primer enfrentamiento en 1976. . . .
La idea que apuntala a esta novedosa propuesta es abrazarse “con el de al lado”, replicando en las tribunas lo que harán los jugadores argentinos en el centro de la cancha, en el preciso momento en que los rugbiers neocelandeses -liderados por el medio scrum Piri Weepu- inicien con su cuerpo los movimientos intimidatorios para dar significado y fuerza a la tradicional ceremonia y danza tribal que representa el Haka, una expresión cabal de la pasión, el vigor y la identidad de la raza Maorí. . .
This (loosely) translates as:
A former Puma is promoting a hug to counter the haka as a proposal for solidarity in Saturday’s big match. . .
“In the United State something unique will happen,” they say. That’s the idea of “Puma Embrace”, an initiative which aims to encourage the Argentine team in the pre-mtach of the momentous clash with the All Blacks, in which which they try to get an historic triumph as they have never been able to win in the 19 tests matches played since the first meeting in 1976. . . .
The idea that underpins this new proposal is to embrace “the one beside”, replicating in the stands what the Argentine players will be doing in the centre of the field, at the precise moment when the rugby players-led by New Zealand scrum half Piri Weepu starts his body movements and intimidating strength to give significance and strength to the traditional ceremony and tribal dance representing the Haka, an expression full of passion, vigour and identity of the Maori race. . .
A haka versus a group hug – that will be an interesting match.
You can see more at Abrazo de Puma.
The Silver Ferns 50 – 49 win over the Australian Diamonds, earned them the Constellation Cup and their first series win in eight years.
Valerie Adams was robbed of her moment on the Olympic podium by a drug cheat.
Nothing can bring that moment back.
But tonight she got another moment to cherish when Governor General Lt General Sir Jerry Mateparae presented her with her medal.
There was another international sporting contest this weekend – and the New Zealand team won.
The Silver Ferns beat the Australian Diamonds 54 -52 in the opening game of netball’s Constellation Cup in Melbourne today.
The teams meet in Auckland on Thursday and play the final game in the series next Sunday in Christchurch.
The economists tell us that stadiums (stadia?) don’t stack up financially.
The Forsyth Barr Stadium has plenty of critics who will feel vindicated by that but I doubt if anyone among the capacity crowd at the All Blacks’ first test there cared about that and the roof was the winner on the night.
The forecast was for wintry conditions. I was drizzling as we arrived for the match against the Springbok, but with a covered stadium, once we were inside it didn’t matter.
Only in Dunedin would pre-match entertainment include blokes in tutus – the Selwyn Ballet - and I am sure they too appreciated being under cover.
We were at the game as guests of Ravensdown which brought the bonus of pre-match banter from former All Blacks Buck Shelford, John Timu and Josh Kronfeld. Then there was after-match excitement when we were joined by Olympic rowers Mahe Drysdale and Juliette Haigh.
As for the rugby? A win’s a win but there were plenty of times when it looked like the 21 – 11 score in New Zealand’s favour could just have easily gone the other way.
At the final whistle it was the All Blacks ahead and the winners of the Freedom Cup.