Saula Sologa Rugby 2019 webSaula Sologa. Photo Heather MackenzieAttempting to barge his way through the Ellesmere defence at the Rakaia Domain on Sunday was Saula Sologa.

Sologa was part of the Mid Canterbury Under-18 team which was beaten by the Ellesmere Under-18s in what was a pre-season trial match, as they look to build towards the South Island Under-18 tournament, which is this year being hosted by Canterbury Metro.

The Mid Canterbury Under-18s will again be in action this weekend, this time against the South Canterbury Under-18s at Hinds.

The Mid Canterbury Under-16s will also play South Canterbury at the Hinds Domain on Saturday, with both games kicking off at 1pm.

© The Ashburton Guardian - 27 August 2019

240819 HM 0980 NetballFinal College A v Celtic A webCollege A were in a celebratory mood after taking out the Mid Canterbury Netball premier one title with a big win over Celtic A on Saturday. Photos Heather MackenzieCollege A have claimed their first Mid Canterbury Netball premier one crown since 2010.

The competition’s youngest side simply proved far too slick for the competition’s defending champions Celtic A in Saturday’s final, winning 34-27.

It was a stellar end to what was a massive day of netball finals at the EA Networks Centre, with the two teams all square at the end of the first quarter at 7-all.

Although College A moved ahead in the second quarter and restricted Celtic A to just three goals to take a 19-10 lead to the half-time break, Celtic A were always threatening.

Last year’s winners landed the first three goals of the third to make up some of the ground they’d lost, but College A soon rediscovered their rhythm and once the ball was in the hands of goal shoot Hayley Tallentire or goal attack Dani McArthur, a goal was almost assured.

College A continued to build on their lead and by three-quarter-time were in front by 10, and although Celtic A again started strong and slotted the first five goals of the final quarter to halve that lead, that was as close as they were to get again, with the College A side holding their nerve in front of the big, and loud, crowd.

College A coach Kaye Kennedy said that she was incredibly proud of her young side.

“They were really nervous, but once that opening whistle went they realised it was just another game, and we just had to go out there and execute our basics well,” Kennedy said.

“My girls, they are really skilled and they actually love to win and they had real belief that they could do it, and that showed out there.”

She said they’d played with patience all season, and continued that on Saturday.

“It was all there for them to actually lose their heads and let it get to them – the crowd and even just being announced on to court, those sorts of things can be tough for kids to cope with.

“But they managed really well, they were calm once they got on the court and they played really well as a unit,” Kennedy said.

Celtic A coach Ange Leadley said her side was simply outplayed.

“It was disappointing to lose, but when you lose knowing that you left everything on court and you lost to a really skilled opposition it makes it easier,” Leadley said.

“And I really want to acknowledge the umpires (Kevin Opele and Jan Lee), the umpiring was just outstanding.”

Leadley said 2019 had been a tough year for Celtic A.

After going through 2018 unbeaten, they’d had a real bad patch and dropped some games this season, thanks in part to a bad run with injuries.

And that run continued on Saturday, with goal defence Liv Hutchinson taking to the court despite having injured her shoulder earlier in the day, and having to be replaced by Barrine Ross – who had already played in the premier two final for Celtic B – part way through the first half.

Celtic A never gave up, starting each quarter strongly to ensure they remained in the hunt, and Leadley said her team should be proud of their efforts.

Meanwhile, the Mid Canterbury Netball premier two title was won by Southern A after they beat Celtic B in that final.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 25 August 2019

Shooting 2208Shania Harrison-Lee with her trophy haul from the North vs South Shoot in the Hutt Valley over the weekend. Photo SuppliedEight members of the Target Shooting Mid Canterbury team made the most of a trip over the Cook Strait, bringing home a set of excellent results for the North vs South Shoot in Petone.

Record scores were posted both by individuals and from team results.

The South Island managed to take a hard fought win in the veterans’ match, but were narrowly beaten in the juniors.

The North Island also took honours in the women’s (with record scores), inaugural men’s match and in the open match.

Emma Smith (394.19) set the pace and acquitted herself brilliantly in the junior match, shooting two possibles (100s) to receive New Zealand honours for the first time.

She backed this up with a good performance in the New Zealand match (293) on Sunday, and she also scored creditably in the women’s match on Saturday.

Colin Taylor, in his first appearance at this level of competition, held his nerve and put all his excellent preparation to good use, finishing with 389.14 and earning himself a Silver Fern.

He was also part of the only South Island team to take honours over the North for the weekend.

TJ Stewart (SI Men) showed patches of what he is capable of and Nina McKenzie (SI Women) was steady but with a slightly widened group, neither quite achieved what they were after.

Steve McArthur (SI Men and SI Open Captain), who has had a rugged campaign with broken gear that necessitated major changes six weeks out, shot brilliantly in the men’s match to top score for the South (396.26) and book his spot in the New Zealand Men’s team, where he performed well (293).

Sandy Bennett (SI Women and SI Open) shot creditably in both matches, with a pair of 391s and was just shy of NZ team qualification in both matches.

Charlotte McKenzie (SI Juniors) in her first appearance at this level, showed real steel on the mound and pushed hard for NZ inclusion, finishing 13th for a 12 person NZ Junior (U21) team.

Shania Harrison-Lee (SI Junior Captain, SI Women and SI Open) had a stellar weekend.

She top scored in the Inter-Island Junior match (396.24) and again as captain of the NZ Junior team (299).

In the women’s match (397.27) she top scored for the SI Women, and was second top performer in the NZ Women’s match (299), for the Inter-Island Open match (399.27).

She top scored again, to claim the honour of being named the NZ Open Team Captain on Sunday.

Over the course of the weekend, she completed 22 targets and finished with 2184/2200, meaning her average for the weekend was 99.27.

The team are now looking forward to completing their NDC (National District Championship) final against Auckland next week; completing the Candyman Cup match (Top NI Association team vs Top SI Island Association team).

The Ashburton College’s NZ Secondary Schools’ Championship team will consist of members from the Target Shooting Mid Canterbury team as well as others who will travel to Wellington at the end of September, where they will be among the favourites for national secondary honours.

© The Ashburton Guardian - 22 August 2019