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Basketball College Aoraki Tournament 2019 webPhoto Jaime Pitt-MacKayIt was a Mid Canterbury derby at the Aoraki secondary schools’ junior basketball tournament held in Ashburton on Thursday.

The Mount Hutt College and Ashburton College Blue sides clashed in the B grade of the tournament.

Thirteen teams from as far south as Oamaru made the trip to the the EA Networks Centre to compete at the tournament.

By Jaime Pitt-MacKay © The Ashburton Guardian - 27 June 2019

150619 HM 0044 Rugby MC Combined Haka 1Mid Canterbury Combined will line up for their final home game, and their final home haka, of the season this weekend against Timaru Boys’ High School. Photo Heather Mackenzie 150619-HM-0044Their winless streak may have continued, but the coaches of the Mid Canterbury Combined 1st XV were still happy with their side’s latest performance.

Mid Canterbury Combined headed to Christchurch on Saturday and took on St Andrew’s, the top side in the Crusaders rugby region’s secondary schools’ competition – the UC Championship – and came home with a 62-6 loss to their names.

But one of the side’s three coaches, Brent Middleton, said his players knew they were always going to be up against it and they actually put up a pretty good fight against a side which they gave away a lot to when it came to size and strength.

“We were pretty happy with that really. As much as people might say how are you happy with that, they are one of the bigger sides we have come across and are no slugs,” Middleton said.

Mid Canterbury Combined trailed at halftime by 22-3, and actually gave St Andrew’s a bit of a fright, forcing them to bring some of their bigger players off the bench which meant the Mid Canterbury Combined scrum all of a sudden found itself going backwards in the second half.

“It came down to a classic case of good big kids beat good little kids,” Middleton said.

Unfortunately Combined’s good run with few injuries also came to an end, with hooker Christian Thompson suffering a season-ending ankle injury, replacement hooker Hamish Kerr breaking his collarbone, and Sam Ree getting knocked out.

That wasn’t ideal heading into their final home game of the competition, which is one that – looking at the standings – they stand a realistic chance of winning, against a Timaru Boys’ High School side that has won just two games this season.

The Ashburton College ball is being held on Friday night, so Mid Canterbury Combined tried to get the game moved.

But they’ve been unsuccessful so the game will kick off at midday on Saturday at the Ashburton College field.

Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 26 June 2019

200619 SN 0019 Student Learning Support web1Chaos in the EA Networks Centre as Ashburton College executive and Student Learning Support students played pool. Photos Sue NewmanWhen you’re in a warm pool and there’s a ball to toss around, it doesn’t matter whether you’re able-bodied or not, whether your’e an academic star or finding learning difficult; in the water you’re equals.

And just how much of a leveller water can be was demonstrated yesterday at Ashburton’s EA Networks Centre when students of all ages and abilities played a freestyle form of volleyball.

There were no teams, no winners, the game was a perfect example of students working together.

In an initiative driven by Ashburton College’s student executive and led by sports committee chairwoman, Emily Armstrong, students from the college’s Student Learning Support Unit (SLSU) and senior students and executive members donned their togs and took to the water.

The pool session was a way of uniting students from different parts of the school, Armstrong said.

“It’s about uniting everyone, making everyone feel included.

“Uniting everyone and making them feel part of the school, part of the community, is our goal,” she said.

A similar pool day was held two years ago and Armstrong said when she suggested it to the executive there was a real enthusiasm to repeat the event.

It was part of the college’s philosophy that every student should feel included and activities such as this were one way of living up to that, Armstrong said.

Cheryl Harding, teacher in charge of the SLSU, said the pool day was a great way for her students to feel part of the activities that most took for granted.

“No-one treats anyone as any different in the pool, there’s great camaraderie,” she said

Some of her students involved in the activity were not able to swim, but they were paired with a senior student and once they were in the water with float aids, it was amazing how quickly they relaxed and enjoyed themselves, she said.

“That they’re able to do this is all down to these students (executive) and when they’re in the water, they just become part of a big group of students having fun.”

The SLSU is the school base for 17 students from Year 9 to 13. About 14 of those took part in yesterday’s pool day.

By Sue Newman © The Ashburton Guardian - 22 June 2019