Basketball web2Ashburton College sides came away with mixed results after taking on two of Christchurch’s top teams in Canterbury secondary schools’ basketball competitions this week.In the Whelan Trophy division one competition for girls, the Ashburton College girls faced top-of-the-table Christchurch Girls’ High School with a full squad of 12 players to play with.

It was a tough night at the office, with the Christchurch side running away with it 73-45, but there were plenty of positives to come out of it for the Ashburton girls.

Scoring was balanced across the team, but the title of the night’s top scorer went to Sophie Adams with 15, while Eilish Pierce added seven and Alena Patterson also in the mix and showing off her sweet outside touch.

Further down the court, excellent mid-court defence from Sam Tuck, Mae Patterson and Phinenah Teves led to some great turnover scoring opportunities.

They will now look to take the lessons learnt from that game into their next game, on Tuesday at the Oxford Street stadium against Middleton Grange, which will tip off at 5.15pm.

Meanwhile, Ashburton College’s boys in the Thomson Trophy division one competition took on Christchurch Boys’ High School and came away with a much better result on Tuesday night, winning 87-50.

© The Ashburton Guardian - 21 June 2019

Sammy HOlden College Netball webSammy Holden looks to move the ball through the court during her College A side’s upset win over Celtic A on Thursday night. Photo Erin TaskerWhen the final whistle blew on their latest win in the Mid Canterbury Netball premier one competition on Thursday night, you’d have thought the College A netball girls had won the final.

They hadn’t, but they had done something that no other team had been able to do since 2017 –beat Celtic A.

And it wasn’t just a win, it was a big win, with the final margin being 11 goals – 40-29.

College A coach Kaye Kennedy, like her players, was over the moon with the result.

She said her side was composed and stuck to their structures.

“And we had really good accurate shooting again.

“All of my girls are shooting at over 80 per cent a game, and you can’t ask for much better than that,” Kennedy said.

When the two sides met in round one the game finished in a draw.

College A led for most of it, only for the class Celtic side to come back and square things up right on full-time, and that was on the minds of the young College players on Thursday night.

But this time when Celtic came roaring back, they were ready.

After that round one draw, College A went through a bit of a lull and lost to the newly promoted United A early in round two, but in the past couple of weeks they’d finally rediscovered their mojo.

In Christchurch on Wednesday night, in the Canterbury secondary schools’ SuperNet competition they pushed competition leaders Christchurch Girls’ High School to the limit, just going down 37-32, and then brought that form back to the local competition.

Celtic A coach Ange Leadley said College A were outstanding and deserved the win.

“You can definitely tell that they have had lots of time on court, their shooters didn’t miss a beat,” Leadley said.

She said her side simply didn’t connect after a week where they’d been hit hard by sickness and injury.

“The difference was they were well connected and their transition was outstanding, and we were too slow to react,” Leadley said.

It may have been their first loss since 2017, and although Leadley said the fact they hadn’t been beaten for so long hadn’t really been on their minds, the loss had put a slight dent in their pride.

It also meant that the Mid Canterbury premier netball competition had just one unbeaten team remaining, and that was the team that Celtic A were due to line up against next, United A.

This time last year United A were in a vastly different position to where they were now.

They were at the bottom of the premier one heap and found themselves in the position of having to fight it out in the promotion/relegation game that followed round two, and they lost it, meaning they finished last season and started this season down in premier two.

They were determined to get back up, and they did, going through round one unbeaten in premier two to earn promotion, and then continuing that run when they got back into premier one for round two.

They were now the surprise package at the top of the premier one leaderboard with just one match remaining in round two, adding to their unbeaten run with a 27-21 win over Methven A on Thursday night.

Methven A started the game strongly, with the unexpected threat of the relegation game hanging over the heads of last year’s premier one runners-up, but United A slowly moved away to take the win.

It means Methven A now needs to beat Hampstead A in next week’s final round of round two to stand any chance of avoiding the relegation game.

Hampstead A were the team just one point ahead of Methven A on the points table heading into Thursday night’s games, but they picked up a 32-20 win over Mt Somers to give themselves a bit of breathing space.

That meant that the dreaded bottom spot on the table at the end of round two would now be occupied by either Methven A or Mt Somers.

A win to either side and a loss by the other next week would see the winning team safe, but if both won or lost it’d be Methven A having to play for the right to stay in the top flight.

Southern A were still shaping up as the team that would be playing for promotion, continuing to lead the way in the premier two competition with a 49-18 win over Methven B on Thursday night.

Ashburton College B had been looking like their toughest opposition, but they lost to the team relegated from premier one at the end of round one – Celtic B – on Thursday night, 30-23, while the battle between Hampstead B and Hampstead C went the way of the Bs 36-22.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 21 June 2019

Hayden Roulston 2019 side webHayden Roulston. Photo supplied.Former Ashburton Olympian, Hayden Roulston is back in the frame for the Olympics – just this time it’s as a coach.

Cycling New Zealand this week announced the double Olympic medallist’s name alongside its longest-serving sports scientist/coach, Craig Palmer as the two men who will lead the men’s endurance track programme to the Tokyo Olympics.

Palmer, who joined Cycling New Zealand in 2007 as a sports scientist, has had a stint as women’s endurance coach and coached two-time world champion Alison Shanks and Roulston.

He will become the men’s endurance lead coach and will be joined by Roulston, who takes up a contract role as men’s endurance assistant coach for rider development.

The coaching group will be completed with the addition of Shem Rodger, a former professional rider, national junior coach and academic in the role of training systems specialist.

Palmer was head sports scientist for the track programme post-Beijing through to the 2012 London Olympics, overseeing training and competition performance, and supervision of innovative software initiatives.

Post London Olympics, Palmer moved back to coaching, taking control of the women’s endurance programme before returning to focus on the role as Cycling New Zealand’s sports scientist.

“In this role, Craig has worked very closely with the men’s endurance coaches and we believe he is best suited to move back in control of the squad’s coaching,” said Cycling New Zealand high performance director, Martin Barras.

“The riders know him well and he knows them probably better than they know themselves in terms of their riding skills and approach.

“He has already established the protocols and procedures and was working closely in advising our coaches.”

Palmer said he is looking forward to the challenge.

“I am probably a coach by inclination and with my background, I take a scientific approach to my coaching,” Palmer said.

“We have this endurance squad developing well with their 3:50 team pursuit early this year and the efforts of Campbell Stewart in the omnium giving a glimpse of their abilities.

“With hard work and clear direction, I believe they have the potential to threaten medals in Tokyo and we will collectively look forward to that challenge.”

Barras said the organisation was thrilled to gain the services of both Roulston and Rodger.

“Hayden did a stint with us as an assistant coach.

“He has such mana as a rider of course, but the riders and staff alike greatly appreciated his input as a coach.

“He will be a huge asset and has all the attributes to develop into an outstanding coach especially in helping nurture younger riders.

“Shem has already had a stint with us as a high performance sports science analyst and as coach of our Subway Hub programme.

He has his Masters of Science and he sees his analytical process through the eyes of a former professional rider and coach.”

Barras said the trio are highly skilled, well respected by the riders and have a clear understanding of the detailed planning and delivery required to both Cycling New Zealand and HPSNZ in the current high performance environment.

© The Ashburton Guardian - 21 June 2019