Who said cricket is boring?

February 28, 2015

What a game:

Australia 151: New Zealand 152/9.

Phew!

 


Shearing’s a sport . . .

February 24, 2015

One of the country’s greatest sportsmen, David Fagan,  has never been recognised in the Halberg awards and Jamie Mackay is launching a crusade to change that:

. . . At the time of writing the five times world champion had won a staggering 634 open-class shearing finals, not to mention the odd junior, intermediate and senior title he picked up along the way as he honed his craft.  

By the time you read this that tally could well be 635 since he was a hot favourite to win the Southern Shears in Gore. With no Rowland Smith and John Kirkpatrick to contend with this season he’s looming large to win his 17th Golden Shears title at Masterton and do likewise for the 17th time in his swansong at the NZ Shearing Championships at Te Kuiti.

If Fagan is successful at either of the aforementioned events then surely he qualifies to be recognised in the 2015 Halberg Awards. 

What more does the man have to do? . .

Fagan did win the Southern Shears in Gore at the weekend.

He also won the speed shearing competition at the inaugural Hilux Rural Games in Queenstown at Waitangi Weekend.

Even if he doesn’t win anything else this year, surely his skill, athleticism, his 635 open-class titles, including five world championships and his 16 Golden Shears titles should qualify him for an award.

He’s not just a champion, he’s a good sport and he’s willing to share his skills. He was working in sheds around Southland before the Southern Shears, teaching up and coming shearers.

Sport is defined as an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

That should cover shearing.

Anyone who doubts it, should read Bulibasha by Witi Ihimaera. It has the most exciting sporting commentary I’ve ever read and the event was a shearing competition.

That shearing is also an occupation should be irrelevant – lots of other sports people are also paid to do what they do.

Shearing is a sport.

Fagan is one of New Zealand’s greatest sportsmen and he should be eligible for recognition at the Halberg Awards.

If the rules don’t allow his inclusion in existing categories then a special category that acknowledges his achievement should be made.


Blackcaps beat England by 8 wickets

February 20, 2015

What a win!

England 123 all out after 33.2 overs (Joe Root 46, Tim Southee 7-33, Daniel 1-19) lost to New Zealand 125-2 in 12.2 overs  (Brendon McCullum 77, Martin Guptill 22) by eight wickets  at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Tim Southee was in a class of his own today, producing New Zealand’s best figures in ODI history to bowl England out for 123 in the crucial ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 fixture in Wellington. The skipper added to Southee’s record breaking bowling effort with the fastest half century in the history of the ICC Cricket World Cup from only 18 balls.

McCullum ended with 77 from only 25 balls, to lead the home side to 124-2 and chase down the English total in the 13th over. It was the first time that Westpac Stadium was a full house for a cricket match – a total crowd of over 30,000. . . 

This is where I have to confess I’m a fair-weather cricket fan – but I’m really enjoying the start to this World Cup campaign.

 

 


Bring the 7s to Dunedin

February 10, 2015

The Wellington 7s used to attract a sell-out crowd.

This year numbers were well below that :

In past years, Wellington Sevens tickets sold out in minutes, but this year the crowd peaked at 18,000 in the 34,500-capacity Westpac Stadium.

That has opened an opportunity that Dunedin is keen to seize.

A Facebook page has been created and garnered more than 4,000 likes in a couple of days.

There’s a long way from there to winning the right to host the tournament but it’s an enthusiastic start.

 


Rural Games to be annual event

February 9, 2015

Take a man with vision and the determination to showcase the sports that built a nation; add the Topp Twins, three former All Blacks and hundreds of elite rural sportspeople, mix them in a variety of competitive endeavours in Queenstown under blue skies and sunshine and what do you get?

The inaugural New Zealand Rural Games which were so successful it is to be an annual event:

Organisers of the first ever Hilux New Zealand Rural Games confirmed it will become an annual event after attracting more than 7,500 spectators to Queenstown over the Waitangi holiday weekend.

An estimated crowd of 5,000 people lined the downtown streets on Waitangi Day to watch around 400 locally-bred merino sheep pass by in the Running of the Wools. The free event, co-sponsored by the Otago Daily Times and clothing and gift retailer, Global Culture, proved the perfect curtain raiser for the next two days of traditional sports and live entertainment staged on Queenstown Recreation Ground.

Snow on the mountains around Lake Wakatipu after storms earlier in the week quickly melted as the sun ensured a warm and sunny atmosphere for competitors and spectators alike.

Billed as a showcase for ‘sports that built the nation’, nearly 200 competitors took part in 13 national and trans-Tasman championships including sheep dog trials, coal shovelling, wood chopping, speed shearing, speed fencing and gumboot throwing plus the Wild Buck Challenge taking place in the beer tent.

Spectators were entertained on both days by roving MCs, musical comedy duo the Topp Twins, plus three former All Blacks in Jeff Wilson, Justin Marshall and Toyota ambassador, Marc Ellis who competed with and against each other in several events over the weekend.

Day one highlights included the North Island taking out the NZ Inter-Island Challenge Sheep Dog Trials in association with Ngai Tahu Farming while former NZ strongman champion and national Highland Games number two, Reuben de Jong winning the NZ Rural Highland Games ‘Heavies’ trophy. The overall title of this new addition to the NZ Highland Games calendar, presented in association with PlaceMakers, was decided over the four traditional events of caber toss, stones lift, farmer’s walk and heavy stone toss.

The ANZAXE Trans Tasman Wood Chopping Championship pitched the four top-ranked Aussies – Jamie Head, Laurence O’Toole, Brent Rees and Brayden Myer – against New Zealand’s reigning world champion team of Shane Jordan, Jason Wynyard, Adam Lowe and Kyle Lemon.

Queenslander, Jamie Head took the overall trophy from Kiwis Shane Jordan (second) and Jason Wynyard (third), while the home team won the team event.

Australia had more individual success in the New Zealand championships for coal shovelling on Saturday and cherry stone spitting on Sunday. The reigning Australian champions in each sport, Stuart Turner from New South Wales and Clint Thompson from WA respectively, will take the titles back across the Ditch with them.

Elsewhere on Sunday, the NZ Wine Barrel Racing Championship attracted a global field including entrants from North America, Europe and Asia as well as home grown talent. Eventual men’s winner, Csaba Szondi was visiting from Hungary.

In the throwing events, 10-year-old Adam Stevens from Invercargill won the Bill Tapley Trophy for cow pat tossing held as part of Jetstar Kids ‘n Country, a series of fun events for the under-12s.

Interviewed after his victory he revealed the secret of his success: “I chose a nice tight turd and threw it as far as I could.”

After speed competitions for hand milking in association with Fonterra (featuring a pair of specially adapted fibreglass cows), tree climbing, fencing (in association with Line 7) and gold panning there was victory for five-time world shearing champion, David Fagan in the NZ Speed Shear Championship in association with Toyota Hilux. The veteran from Te Kuiti will retire from competition in April at the end of the current New Zealand season.

In the Games’ penultimate event, an excited crowd witnessed a new national record for egg throwing and catching of 61.7m recorded by Justin Marshall (throwing) and Jeff Wilson (catching). Then the first NZ Gumboot Throwing Championship, in association with Skellerup, saw both men and women’s North Island teams (selected during last year’s Taihape Gumboot Day) win against South Island teams that qualified through Saturday’s regional champs.

Hilux New Zealand Rural Games founder and trustee, Steve Hollander was delighted with how the event turned out.

“What a weekend! We’re all taken aback by the New Zealand public’s enthusiasm for rural sports some of which have all but died out as spectator events. That’s our vision – to preserve the legacy of traditional sports for future generations, bringing them to the attention of the wider population and ensuring this country’s rural spirit is celebrated for many years to come,” he said.

“Huge thanks for everyone who competed and came along to make the event such a success, as well as our amazing volunteers and event crew. We’re already planning for next year so see you in Queenstown on Waitangi weekend 2016.”

Sky Sports will be showing an hour-long highlights programme of the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games at 6.30pm on Friday 13 February.

TV3’s coverage of the Games is here.

TV1’s coverage is here.

Steve Hollander has been working on the concept for about five years.

I became chair of the Games Trust late last year after most of the hard work had been done.

The last three days were a very good reflection on Steve’s drive and determination and the work he and his team had put in to dotting is and crossing ts.

Competition was fierce and competitors and spectators were treated to a weekend of excitement and entertainment.


Sports that built the nation

January 30, 2015

The Hilux NZ Rural Games are being held in Queenstown next weekend.

They start with the Running of the Wools and a waka race on Friday February 6th.

A variety of other events including dog trials, wood chopping, speed shearing, speed hand milking, gum boot throwing, cherry stone spitting, highland games, coal shovelling, tree climbing and wine barrel rolling will take place on the Saturday and Sunday.

There will be opportunities for crowd participation.

An outdoor concert starring Jody Direen, James Reid of the Feelers and the Topp Twins will take place on Saturday evening.

You can buy tickets in advance or pay a bit more on the day.

P.S.

I chair the trust which is running the Games.

 


Coal shovelling a sport?

January 27, 2015

Who would have thought it? Coal shovelling is a sport and a New Zealander was a world champion.

It will be one of the sports on show at the inaugural Hilux NZ Rural Games in Queenstown at Waitangi weekend.

Among the competitors will be Stuart Turner, Australian champion coal shoveller,  who will take on . Stuart is coming over former world champ, West Coaster Brian Coghlan and others in the NZ Coal Shovelling Championship (in association with RD Petroleum Ltd & Roa Mining).

The video shows Turner shifting half a tonne in under 30 seconds:

P.S. I chair the trust which is running the Games.


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