Rugby 0708Former Mid Canterbury schoolboys (from left) Liam McCormack, Josh Ree and Elama Touli are making waves on the Canterbury rugby scene. Photo SuppliedWhen Canterbury take to the field at the annual Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under-19 tournament next month, a couple of Mid Canterbury boys look set to feature.

A 31-strong Canterbury Under-19 squad was named this week to contest the South Island tournament, ahead of the national tournament, which will be held in September.

And within that squad are two former members of the Mid Canterbury Combined Schools’ Team, a combination of players from Ashburton College and Mount Hutt College, Josh Ree and Elama Touli.

Ree and Touli both now play their club rugby in Christchurch, with Ree playing for Christchurch, and Touli playing out of the Belfast club, where both had put in strong showings in the 2019 season.

They’ll now form part of a Canterbury Under-19 team that will play the under-19 teams from Tasman, Southland and Otago, and those results would determine the seedings for the South Island teams at the national tournament.

Another promising former Mid Canterbury schoolboy, Liam McCormack, has also been named in the Cantabrian Colts team.

Their success followed hot on the heels of another couple of players with Mid Canterbury roots – Dallas McLeod and Josh Bokser – making the Canterbury squad for the 2019 Mitre 10 Cup.

Canterbury’s Farah Palmer Cup squad would also have a Mid Canterbury influence, with Melanie Puckett making the squad and the Mid Canterbury Rugby Union’s new women’s and schools’ development officer Nicole Purdom named in the wider squad.

© The Ashburton Guardian - 8 August 2019

Poppy Kilworth College Netball webCollege A’s Poppy Kilworth reaches for a pass during her side’s win over Celtic A on Thursday night. Photo Erin TaskerCollege A finished the Mid Canterbury Netball premier one round robin in fine fashion on Thursday night to ensure they headed into the finals as the firm favourites.

A huge start by the young school side put them out to a big early lead against the defending champion Celtic A side, which set them up for a 33-18 win that put them well and truly in the top spot on the ladder.

The only team not to have been beaten in the season’s third and final championship round, College A finished on 20 competition points, seven points clear of second placed Celtic A, while Hampstead A’s 30-21 win over Mt Somers on Thursday night put them into third spot heading into the semi-finals.

The fourth and final semi-final spot went the way of United A, despite the Claire Tappin-coached side going down in a nail-biter on Thursday night, 23-22 to Methven A.

The results mean that College A will play United A in one semi-final next week, while Celtic A will play Hampstead A, with Methven A finishing one point outside the top four.

The bonus point that United A picked up for finishing within three in that last game against Methven gave them the edge, although had the two finished tied on points United A would have been the team to go through anyway, due to a superior goal difference.

Thursday night’s win was just Methven A’s second of the round, and although it wasn’t enough to sneak them into the semi-finals, coach Maree Firth was happy with the performance.

“We wanted to play with pride, Methven netball is about that, and we just wanted to show that we could do it,” Firth said.

Methven were forced to play the first half without the services of shooter Leanne Clemens, who got a bleeding nose just before the game started, which kept her off the court until half-time.

Despite that, Methven seemed to have an edge for much of the game, with United having to do more of the chasing in what was a tight game from start to finish.

For Celtic A though, it was a different story, with their final round opposition – College A – making a fast start for the second week running.

By half-time they led 19-8, but Celtic A are not a side to lie down and they came back strong in the third quarter, going on a 7-1 run to bring it back to 20-15 before College A settled back into their work.

College A coach Kaye Kennedy said the fact that her players managed to stop that third quarter roll and regain their composure, was pleasing.

“I was very proud of the way they played.

“It was a real battle,” Kennedy said.

Celtic A coach Ange Leadley took nothing away from College A.

“We let them get out to a strong start so we were chasing, and that’s not great against a side like College,” Leadley said.

“I have to really acknowledge their goal shooter, when you’re playing a team with a shooter like that at the back … it was quite exciting, at one point she missed two goals and we rebounded them.”

That shooter was Hayley Tallentire, and she was one of the competition’s steadiest and most consistent, whereas on Thursday night, Celtic A struggled at times.

Leadley said her side actually put up one more shot than College A, in the 15-goal loss.

While Celtic A had gone through last season unbeaten to claim the premier one title, this season College A have had the edge.

Celtic A came back to land a last-minute goal to see their round one encounter end in a draw, but round two and round three have well and truly belonged to College.

Their performances mean they are now the team to beat, while down the other end of the points table is Mt Somers, a team that finished the third and final round without a win.

They took on Hampstead A on Thursday night and things were tight early on, with Hampstead holding a 11-5 lead at the end of the first quarter, before Mt Somers won the second quarter to close the gap to 14-11 at half time.

But Hampstead A held firm and took the win to set up a semi-final showdown with Celtic A – a side they beat back at the start of the round.

Meanwhile, in premier two, the semi-finalists have already been found going into the final games of round three.

Top contenders Celtic B and Southern A were again in winning form, with Celtic B downing College B 36-24 and Southern A beating Methven B 48-20.

The night’s other game between Celtic C and Hampstead B went the way of Hampstead B 29-24.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 8 August 2019

ash8veronica wallVeronica Wall. Photo supplied.Ashburton rowing ace Veronica Wall has been accepted by one of the best universities in the world and will head off to the USA at the end of the month.

Wall has gained a place at Ivy League university Yale, consistently ranked in the world’s top 10.

She scored high in the university scholastic assessment test (SAT), which evaluates written, verbal and mathematical skills, and was also supported in her application by Yale rowing coaches who have monitored her performance in the boat over the last few years.

Wall has just returned from Florida, USA, where she finished fifth in the New Zealand quadruple sculls boat at the U23 World Championships.

She has 21 national rowing titles to her name and dominated junior rowing in her last three years at Ashburton College.

She finished her college studies last year and has been rowing out of the Southern Rowing Performance Centre.

She honed her talents at the Ashburton Rowing Club and has spent many early mornings practising on Lake Hood.

Veronica said she was excited to be accepted by Yale and was looking forward to studying and living in the USA.

She was securing a student visa and expected to leave home at the end of August.

She had chosen Yale for its obvious academic credentials and also because of the opportunity to continue her rowing.

Yale had good rowing coaches and had finished ninth at the intercollegiate (NCAA) championships.

“I want to continue on my rowing journey and to see what else I can achieve in the sport.

“Yale gives me that opportunity and also the chance to get a first class education.”

The university offered liberal arts and science courses and for the first couple of years she would be taking a broad range of subjects, before then having to decide on a major and minor.

Her major was likely to be a science subject, she said.

Yale University has close to 3000 international students from over 120 countries and a total student population of more than 13,000.

Yale does not award merit-based scholarships, but assesses the finances of applicant families to determine any scholarship amount.

Tuition and fees for undergraduates at Yale costs around US$55,500 per year.

By Mick Jensen© The Ashburton Courier - 38 August 2019