100817 LB 0030 College Netball Georgina Kelly 647x700Georgina Kelly (pictured) and Grace Wilson were on a goal-scoring streak as Ashburton College finished 12th at the NZ Secondary Schools’ Netball Tournament. Photo Laura BagrieThe Ashburton College Senior Netball side have put aside the fact did not initially qualify for the NZ National Secondary Schools’ Netball Tournament, and have finished in 12th place in the 16 team tournament.

The lost their final game to St Margaret’s 42-17, but despite the loss, coach Angela Mitchell was still very pleased with how her team performed.

“We are really pleased with how the team did.

“The intensity probably caught up with us a bit today and we hit the wall but that just shows how much effort these girls have put in,” she said.

“It was a really competitive competition and I would say we have out-performed expectations and really done AshColl proud.”

After winning one match in their pool, the side progressed in third to the next stage of the competition, where they won their next two games on the bounce.

They started off with a comfortable eight goal victory against St Andrew’s College, winning 33-25, with goal shoot Grace Wilson top scoring with 25 of the points.

The next day they snuck by Palmerston North Girls’ High School 29-27, before Sacred Heart College proved too tough a test in the third game, winning 40-25.

“They are a great team.

“They fought hard and really showed the strength of the relationships they have built and played some really nice netball,” Mitchell said.

By Jaime Pitt-MacKay © The Ashburton Guardian - 13 October 2017

Will Graham CricketWill Graham made an appearance for a Canterbury Select XI last week, and will have the challenge of captaining the Ashburton College 1st XI in the return to division one. Photo supplied.Mid Canterbury cricketer Will Graham made a big step forward in his cricketing goals after appearing for a Select Canterbury XI against a New Zealand under 19 side last week.

The Ashburton College 1st XI captain was asked to join the side after participating in the Canterbury under 18 winter training squad.

“At the start of this year I was selected to join the squad and me and another guy from it were asked if we wanted to play in the game against a New Zealand side,” he said.

“It was a bit of a shock.

“It was only a week before so I didn’t really get the chance to think about it.”

Considering himself a bowling all-rounder, Graham did not get a chance with the bat after the Canterbury side won by three wickets, but did pick up a wicket.

“I was pretty chuffed with that,” he said.

During the winter training programme, Graham travelled to Christchurch two to three times a week for trainings.

“We would work on technique, fitness and mental stuff, it was mainly about getting ready for the season,” he said.

While the Year 13 player has his sights set on playing premier cricket in Christchurch next year, he still has the task of leading AshColl in their return to division one of the schools competition for the remainder of the year.

“It is going to be hard. It is not really about winning or losing but it is about us senior guys using our experience and stepping up to show the younger guys what it is like as it has been a few years since the College was up there,” he said.

On a personal level, Graham has his sights set on spending plenty of time in the first class cricketing world.

“I want to make it into the Canterbury under 18 team this year and go to the national tournament, and also eventually work my way up into the Canterbury team and stay there for a few years,” he said.

“Of course everyone wants to play first class cricket and play for the Black Caps one day.”

By Jaime Pitt-MacKay © The Ashburton Guardian - 11 October 2017

Eru Cooper TahuriEru Cooper Tahuri. Photo suppliedMid Canterbury rugby player Eru Cooper-Tahuri has achieved one of his big goals after pulling on the silver fern to represent New Zealand over the weekend.

The 18-year-old, who plays his club rugby in Ashburton for Celtic, was named as part of the New Zealand Maori Under-18 side that played two matches last week, one against the New Zealand Schools’ Barbarians and then the Tongan Schools’ side.

“It was a top level of rugby and a good experience, it was very hard and quite a challenge,” he said.

“We went there to prove ourselves and make our own statement and we did that by almost beating the Barbarians.”

When it came to the highlight of the time away, the answer was easy for Cooper-Tahuri.

“It was pulling on the jersey and representing New Zealand, and seeing that silver fern on my chest,” he said.

While rugby was a big focus on the trip, Cooper-Tahuri said there was also a lot of cultural learning involved with the time spent in the camp.

“We learnt all about our ancestry and the Maori Battalion and lots of little activities,” he said.

“There was a routine where we would get up early in the morning and go out and do prayers and stuff, and the same in the evening before bed.”

There were 25 players in the squad, all of whom formed a quick bond.

“There was a really good bond early on.

“It was awesome to meet so many people and still be in contact with them,” he said.

While play time was spread evenly over the two games, Cooper-Tahuri said he got more game time in the first match against the Barbarians, as it was a game they were really wanting to win.

“We were really wanting to win that Barbarians game to make a statement so some guys got more time than others,” he said.

By Jaime Pitt-MacKay © The Ashburton Guardian - 11 October 2017