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250218 TM 0088 Haxby Hefford RowingAshburton’s Haxby Hefford was in the medals at the New Zealand Universities Rowing Championships.Two young Ashburton Rowing Club members have returned from the New Zealand University Rowing Championships with a golden glow.

Haxby Hefford and Grace Wilson have both left school but have kept up their rowing while studying at Otago University, and at the weekend’s New Zealand University Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro they showed they were both still a force to be reckoned with on the water.

Hefford won three golds, including in the men’s varsity single sculls.

He also teamed up with Corey Lewis to take gold in the double sculls, and with Lewis, Dylan Davis, Daniel Ward and cox Henry Shaw to take gold in the coxed quad.

Hefford was also part of the Otago coxed men’s eight which came fifth.

Wilson also finished the regatta with three podium finishes, taking two golds and a silver.

Wilson was part of the Otago coxed women’s eight which won gold, and took gold in the coxed quad sculls along with Hannah Coulter, Sophie Thompson, Haylee Budd and cox Lauren Gibb.

Wilson also teamed up with Budd to contest the double sculls and the duo came second.

The New Zealand University Championship regatta was raced over Friday and Saturday.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 14 April 2019

college logoDay two of Canterbury’s inter-centre netball competition is set to provide a good early-season test for Ashburton College A tomorrow.

When play gets under way at Ashburton’s EA Networks Centre at 9.30am, the Ashburton College A side will be one of the first on court, and one of only a handful of teams looking to maintain their unbeaten record from the first day last Sunday.

Their two opposing teams on the competition’s second and final day are two fellow high school teams, and for College A coach Kaye Kennedy that’s a good thing.

This season Ashburton College have to fight for their spot in the Canterbury secondary schools’ SuperNet competition, so tomorrow’s two games will be a good test to see where they’re at against some other school sides.

Ashburton College finished sixth in SuperNet’s top grade last year and the bottom three teams – which included Ashburton College A – from that grade and the top three from the reserve grade last year have to play off for the right to play in the top grade this season.

Those games will take place in May.

Ashburton College A will take on Craighead A in game one today and Rangiora High School’s A side in their second game.

Also on court first thing tomorrow are two other Mid Canterbury sides, Hampstead A and Celtic A, who will square off against each other.

Celtic won the Mid Canterbury premier one competition last season but had a slow start to the inter-centre competition’s opening day, beaten by Christchurch’s Kia Toa, but found their feet to beat Timaru’s Old Boys A.

After Hampstead, Celtic will take on Marist Albion, while Hampstead’s second game of the day will be against Timaru’s Harlequins A – a side which last week featured a couple of familiar Ashburton faces in Kayla Frew and Makayla Cromie.

Kia Toa also had two former Ashburton players in their shooting circle on day one – Sophie Beveridge and Chelsea Corbett – and they’re one of the sides unbeaten so far.

They will take on Rangiora High School and Craighead A tomorrow.

The runners-up in last season’s Mid Canterbury Netball premier grade competition, Methven A, will take on Old Boys A and Rolleston tomorrow, having picked up a draw and a loss on day one.

The remaining premier one games on day two will see another unbeaten side in Selwyn’s Broadfield A take on Harlequins A and Old Boys A.

Mid Canterbury has two teams competing in the premier two grade, and one of them – United A – will be a team on a mission tomorrow as they go hunting for a win.

They will take on Marist Albion, before playing UC A.

UC A picked up two wins on day one, including one over Mid Canterbury’s other premier two side, Southern A.

Tomorrow Southern A will take on Villa Maria, while in other premier two games Technical B will play both UC A and Villa Maria.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 13 April 2019

Rugby pre seasonMid Canterbury Combined’s Marcus Bishop tries to break through the Lincoln High School defence during a pre-season game on Saturday. Photo Heather MackenzieA new-look Mid Canterbury Combined 1st XV rugby side ran onto the paddock for the first time this season on Saturday against Lincoln Combined.

The pre-season game on the Ashburton College field didn’t go their way – by the final whistle it was 37-0 in favour of the visitors – but for the new coaching line-up charged with seeing Mid Canterbury Combined through the 2019 UC Championship, it wasn’t about what the scoreboard said.

Mid Canterbury Combined features players from both Ashburton College and Mount Hutt College and they play in the UC Championship, the secondary school competition for the Crusaders rugby region.

It’s a tough competition and last year Mid Canterbury Combined didn’t win a game. One of the side’s coaches, Brent Middleton, said the side knows what it’s up against.

“It’s going to be extremely tough but it’s also going to be a great experience for the kids,” Middleton said.

In Mid Canterbury, they just don’t the numbers to chose from that some of the Christchurch schools do, and Mid Canterbury Combined is likely to be the smallest team in the competition this season, Middleton said.

What they lack in size, they need to make up in other ways. They need to ensure they’re mobile, fast and play the kind of rugby that will hopefully take them to at least some wins this season.

“We just hope we can get the kids to play a brand of football that they are going to enjoy,” Middleton said.

“We have got to play a brand of football that’s going to suit what we have got.”

Mid Canterbury Combined had opportunities to win games against some much more fancied opposition in 2018. They stuck with many until halftime, but then they’d get to the point where they’d tackled their hearts out and games slipped away.

On Saturday against the Lincoln side, Mid Canterbury Combined again showed glimpses of what they could be capable of when they are able to stick to their game plan. But Lincoln just proved too slick in the end.

Middleton said it’s not all about results, especially at this point of the year, and Saturday’s game was more about seeing where they’re at, and what they need to do if they’re going to surprise a few teams this season, which is the plan.

“It was probably more of a trial in some ways, as well as a pre-season game. It was a chance to have a look at some of the kids that we haven’t seen,” Middleton said.

This weekend Mid Canterbury Combined head to Oamaru to take on Waitaki Boys’ High School in another pre-season clash, and the weekend after that they’ll play St Andrew’s College in Methven, before taking a weekend off to refocus before the start of the UC Championship.

This year’s UC Championship kicks off on May 4, with Mid Canterbury Combined home to Marlborough Boys’ High School in round one.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 11 April 2019