ash25connor 696x522Connor Brosnahan amid packing this week for travel to take up a tennis coaching role in Greece. Photo supplied.Tennis pro Connor Brosnahan is defying Covid-19 and is off to Greece, on the trip of a lifetime to coach tennis and see the world.

Connor, an Ashburton College alumni, has been coaching tennis since he was 14. His love of the sport, no doubt gleaned from his parents, tennis stalwarts Tony and Jane, has already seen him coaching offshore, including periods in the United Kingdom.

Now, aged 20, an adventurous spirit has seen the young coach jet off this week on the trip of a lifetime, albeit amid a global pandemic, to coach at luxury resort Costa Navarino Greece.

It will offer him insight into working in a luxury resort, and could be a stepping stone to future opportunities, including returning for future summer seasons.

It’s an exciting but nervous time.

Connor’s earlier plans to travel to the resort for the summer season were hampered by Greece’s Covid-19 restrictions. But at short notice those plans have rematerialised after Greece announced it will reopen its borders to tourists from July 1.

The resort resumed its summer season from June 19.

Surprisingly, New Zealand’s relatively Covid-free status means he will not have to isolate once he arrives.

But he is aware that could change enroute.

His parents are keeping a close watch on the international news and border announcements. Connor’s flights take him from Christchurch to Auckland, before heading to Brisbane and then to Doha in Qatar. From there, it will be on to Athens in Greece.

Connor only heard his flight to Brisbane was on track in the final two hours before leaving home.

He is excited about the opportunities ahead of him, but nervous about border restrictions and travel uncertainties, rather than Covid-19.

The resort, which has two five-star deluxe hotels and two signature golf courses, has summer 2020 protocols in place, to deal with Covid-19, including regular temperature checks for people entering the resort, extended distancing limits and additional staff to allow for a staff to guest ratio of 1:1.

The resort also has a spa and seaweed therapy centre, more than 20 dining venues and offers a range of sports outdoor, including a racket academy where Connor will work. It has tennis, squash and popular game padel (think doubles squash on an enclosed tennis court), as well as cultural activities and five-star services. Tennis is played on clay court surfaces.

Connor will live, eat and work on site at the resort until September before embarking on his next adventure, the return leg home.

By Toni Williams © The Ashburton Courier - 24 June 2020

240819 HM 0673 Netball Final College A v Celtic A webCollege A and Celtic will kickstart the premier netball season next week. Photo supplied.A clash of the titans will get netball’s premiership show on the road next week in a replay of last year’s final.

Mid Canterbury Netball revealed draws for the impending season last week, with senior netball returning on Saturday.

All eyes however will be on the start of the remodelled ACL Premier competition, which starts in eight days’ time.

Junior competitions, which are played on Saturdays, are still more than three weeks away.

The ACL competition’s opening night includes a premier 1 triple header at Ashburton’s EA Networks Centre, beginning with a showdown between Celtic A and College A.

College A clinched their first premier title in just under a decade when they beat Celtic 34-27 in last year’s ACL premier final.

Premier 1’s opening night action will be rounded out with match-ups between Hampstead A and United A before Mt Somers takes on Methven.

This year’s competition also introduces a premier 3 grade, which had included six teams prior to Covid-19.

Mid Canterbury Netball centre manager Erin Tasker confirmed one of the teams withdrew from the competition, forcing a bye week in the new grade.

The three premier grades will run over 11 weeks, comprising two full rounds followed by a week of straight finals.

Promotion/relegation games will be played between rounds.

Traditionally there had been three rounds played in the premier competition followed by semi-finals and the final.

Premier games will continue to be played on Thursdays, however Mid Canterbury Netball have changed game times to 6.15pm, 7.15pm and 8.15pm due to the additional grade being introduced.

© The Ashburton Guardian - 23 June 2020

150619 HM 0062 Rugby MC Combined webIt was tough going for the Mid Canterbury Combined side against Nelson College. Photo supplied.It was more than just a severe reality check that Mid Canterbury Combined received in its UC Championship opener at the weekend.

There are some walking wounded among a battered Combined squad, after Nelson College ran riot in their opening UC Championship matchup in Nelson.

The defending UC champions ran in 13 tries during a 75-3 rout, as Nelson again look to set the benchmark during the secondary school competition.

Head coach Shane Enright said it was a significant step up with 16 of the 22 Combined players making UC debuts.

“It really showed the difference in standard from what most of the lads had been playing last year U16 Rugby for the Mid Canterbury club teams in the Ellesmere competition,” he said.

Combined made a good fist of things during the opening exchanges, with Nelson up 5-3 after 10 minutes.

However a sole penalty off the boot of Sam Ree were the only points Combined registered.

Mistakes then began to creep into Combined’s game which Nelson punished as the home team raced out to a 27-3 lead by the break.

“We really struggled and started to fall off our tackles, and our lack of fitness really started to hit home with quite a few of the players,” Enright said.

The visitors were not helped by a rotten run of injuries during the game.

Combined lost midfielder Aiden Bennett to a leg injury midway through the first half, before Otto Mareko also went down right on half-time.

Further injuries in the second half to Mark Gabriel and Christian Thompson, the latter to a head knock which will keep him out of action for at least three weeks, compounded the misery for Combined.

“(Thompson) is a huge loss to the team, but it gives others the chance to step up and own that number 2 jersey,” Enright said.

Nelson did not take the foot off the gas after halftime and added another 48 points to complete proceedings.

Although Thompson will miss the best part of a month’s rugby, Bennett, Gabriel and Mareko will have to prove their fitness for this weekend’s home game against Waimea Combined.

The side are also still without skipper and Fijian import Michael Hennings, who suffered a knee injury in the pre-season game against Timaru Boys’ High.

Hennings was expected to travel to Christchurch yesterday for an MRI scan.

By Adam Burns © The Ashburton Guardian - 23 June 2020