Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times Thursday March 13
www.times.co.nz Howick and Pakuranga Times, Thursday, March 13, 2014 --- 23 125433 33 Wellington St, Howick 534 4975 WINZ Quotes Welcome HOWICK TYRES & ALIGNMENT trading as Beaurepaires Howick MAD MIKE KING OF THE MOUNTAIN! BEAUREPAIRES HOWICK winner of the New Zealand Personality of the Year award 2013 BY FAR the biggest city in the country, but once again Auck- land is badly underperform- ing as a force in winter sport. While that has been the norm for rugby union’s Blues and league’s Warriors, it’s a shame to note net- ball’s Northern Mystics have fol- lowed the trend. At least they have a genuine excuse in the absence through injury of key defenders Anna Har- rison and Kayla Cullen. But who would have thought shooters Maria Tutaia and Cather- ine Latu’s success rate in the ﬁrst two games of the trans-Tasman season would be a measly 59.6 and 65 per cent? Admittedly they faced a tough defence against fellow Silver Ferns Casey Kopua and Leana de Bruin in their 50-36 loss to the Magic. But with classy centre Laura Lang- man to feed them, their return should have been better. Adding pressure to captain Tut- aia’s cause was the fact Latu man- aged only eight of the Mystic’s 36 goals. Meanwhile, having ﬂattered to deceive with their thrilling home win against the Crusaders, the Blues were crushed 38-22 by the Bulls in Pretoria where they failed to string passes together against a strong defence. In contrast, the Bulls attack was far more cohesive and the Blues midﬁeld was rendered clue- less against their relentless in- your-face defence when the chip kick would have offered a better return. Consequently, there were few chances for speedy wings Frank Halai and Tevita Li, who had starred a week earlier at the Cru- saders expense on Eden Park. About the only player to per- form to his true ability was gritty captain Luke Braid. The lineout problems are likely to continue against the Lions this weekend, but should improve upon their return home when Jer- ome Kaino is welcomed to the fold after his two-year stint in Japan. Although the Crusaders snatched a hard-fought 14-13 home victory against the Stormers, their forwards lacked punch and their backline remains inept. In falling 29-21 to the Brumbies in Wellington, the Hurricanes suf- fered their third loss in as many games despite a backline that boasts Conrad Smith, Cory Jane, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara. At this stage, it leaves only the defending champion Chiefs as New Zealand’s only realistic hope to win the title, with the Sharks and Waratahs starting the season in ominous form. Meanwhile, while the scrum laws are the bane of rugby in slow- ing the game down, league is suf- fering much the same fate with the unnecessary long delays that occur each time a try is scored. That was painfully obvious when the Parramatta Eels outclassed the Warriors 36-16, when wings Semi Radradra and Vai Toutai exposed glaring weaknesses down the ﬂanks by each scoring three tries. Big and fast Radradra looks set to become a superstar for a team that played well above expecta- tions and is delivering a ﬁne brand of footy. The Warriors could do a lot worse than take a leaf out of their book in attacking the ball at pace, using decoys and creating overlaps for their wings. Instead, in contrast to their grand preseason win against the Broncos, they were ﬂat-footed, shovelled the ball along the chain aimlessly and missed too many tackles. It was a harsh NRL introduction for English import Sam Tomkins, but I believe he’ll prove a good buy if he gets the support he deserves. Small return from big city Agnew's Angle ENJOYING DOWN TIME: Last Friday, Pakuranga Golf Club hosted the NZ Cricket Players' Association annual charity day, in which the Black Caps donated their time to raise money for The Cricketers' Hardship Trust. From left, Trent Boult watches a drive on the first hole; BJ Watling claims a birdie; coach Mike Hesson wills a putt to drop; and Ross Taylor received The Players' Cap as the players' player of the year following the golf. Times photos Daniel Silverton Johnson sets more marks RON Johnson is the New Zealand Masters Athlet- ics (NZMA) combined events ath- lete of the year. The director of Pakuranga and How- ick Realty received the special hon- our following the NZMA track and ﬁeld championships in Invercargill earlier this month. The 81-year-old won nine gold medals despite a horror start to the competition. A delay on his ﬂight meant he missed the long jump and pole vault, then he was disqualiﬁed after the 3000-metre walk having broken the men’s 80-84 record. “So on the ﬁrst night I’d been late for two events and disqualiﬁed from another,” Johnson told the Times. Johnson went on to win the javelin, weight throw, high jump, shot put, triple jump, discus, 80m hurdles, pentathlon and throws pentathlon, and was nar- rowly beaten in the 60m sprint by just 0.3 seconds. With fewer rivals making the start line each year Johnson competes, the ever- green all-rounder focuses on breaking records rather than winning medals. At Invercargill, which marked the 40th anniversary of the NZMA champion- ships, Johnson set new bests in the 80m hurdles and triple jump and also broke the pentathlon record that had stood since 1993. “To break a NZ record is hard,” he says. “Everything you do has to be the best over the last 40 years.” His 3548 points in the throws pentath- lon was the most of all the competitors and helped earn him the combined events athlete of the year honour.
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