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Madison Trusler Clark Aidan Elvines Girls Rugby webMadison Trusler-Clark (left) and Aidan Elvines have made this year’s Hanan Shield secondary school girls’ rugby team. Photo Erin TaskerTheir team’s season may have come to a heartbreaking early end, but two members of the AshHutt girls’ rugby team still have plenty to play for.

Madison Trusler-Clark and Aidan Elvines have been named in the Hanan Shield girls’ team to contest the South Island Under-18 tournament, which is this year being hosted by Methven in the next school holidays.

For Elvines – a 17-year-old number eight – it’s a return to a team she’s been a firm fixture in over recent seasons, but for Trusler-Clark it’s the first time she’s made the cut, and she’s over the moon.

“I definitely didn’t think I would make it because I’m still only under-15, and it’s an under-18 team,” Trusler-Clark said.

But the 15-year-old caught the selectors’ eyes, and although she’s played most of the season at flanker, she’s set to play at second-five or halfback for the Hanan Shield side.

She’s not too worried where she plays on the field though, she’s just happy to be playing.

Trusler-Clark plays rugby, hockey, basketball and, in the summer, softball.

But rugby is the one that is top of the pack, and the one she really sees her playing future in.

“I just want to go as far as I can, if that eventually means dropping everything else, I would definitely do that,” Trusler-Clark said.

It’s a similar story for Elvines.

A Year 13 student this year, the 2019 season was her last for the AshHutt side – a combination of players from Ashburton College and Mount Hutt College – but she plans to continue playing, wherever life takes her.

“I want to keep playing rugby for as long I can, so long as my body will let me,” Elvines said.

She credits her family for getting her into the sport. She’s a rower too, but having a dad and brother involved in rugby prompted her to give the sport a go in Year 9, and she loved it.

It’s been a real family thing for her.

This year her dad was the AshHutt coach and her mum the manager, but unfortunately the season didn’t go as well as they’d hoped. They took on Timaru Girls’ High School in the semi-finals of the Aoraki secondary schoolgirls’ competition and let a lead, and the game, slip through their fingers.

Timaru Girls’ High School went on to take on Craighead in the final, which Craighead won.

The Hanan Shield team – selected from that competition – is a wide cross-section of players from all teams, and while Elvines is one of the more experienced players when it comes to rugby at that level, Trusler-Clark is one of the youngest.

Elvines was a late starter in the sport, compared to Trusler-Clark.

She’s been playing rugby since she was four, and played in boys’ teams up until a couple of seasons ago, giving many a boy a run for their money.

Trusler-Clark said she plays in headgear, so often it wasn’t until the end of games when she took her headgear off to shake hands with the opposition, that a lot of players realised they’d actually been playing a girl.

Playing in a girls’ team, in a girls’ competition, took some getting used to initially, but she loved it and really saw her future in the game.

First though, both Elvines and Trusler-Clark’s attention is on the job at hand – the South Island tournament.

They had a fun season playing for AshHutt, with great team-mates, great coaching staff and great sponsors who all played a vital role in getting the team on the pitch, and if they can finish the season off with a top showing at South Islands, they’ll be happy.

Elvines said two years ago the Hanan Shield girls came second, and with 2018 having been somewhat of a rebuilding year, it’s hoped the side can step it up a notch in 2019.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 30 August 2019

SPorty Stuff webPhoto supplied.Sporting teams from South Island secondary schools are setting off on an annual winter week of fun and games this weekend.

There’s a long list of titles up for grabs around the South Island, as the annual winter tournament week gets under way.

All up, Ashburton College has 10 teams taking part in tournaments across five different sporting codes, while Mount Hutt College has two.

Mount Hutt College’s boys’ first XI football team is off to Nelson to play in the NZSS Jim Wishart Tournament, while the school’s A netball team is off to Nelson to play in the South Island Secondary Schools’ netball tournament.

Mount Hutt College will contest the B grade section, while Ashburton College’s A netballers will contest the A grade at the same tournament.

Ashburton College has three hockey teams in action, too, with their boys’ first XI heading down to Invercargill to play in the Johnson Cup tournament, while their girls’ first XI is off to Cromwell for the Jenny McDonald tournament.

Their other hockey team doesn’t have to travel far at all – the boys’ second XI is playing in the Coaches Cup tournament which is being hosted in Ashburton, and played at the Ashburton hockey turf at the Ashburton Domain.

Ashburton College’s girls’ football first XI isn’t far from home, either. They’re heading to Timaru to play in the Gary Sowden Tournament, while the school’s junior boys’ rugby team is heading an hour in the other direction, playing in the Rural Livestock tournament in Christchurch.

The school’s remaining teams heading away are all basketball teams.

The senior girls are off to the AA Secondary Schools Premiership Zone 4 Tournament in Nelson, while the senior boys will also be in Nelson, playing at the AA Secondary Schools’ Non-Qualifying Tournament.

Ashburton College’s junior girls’ basketball side will also be in action this week.

They’re off to Dunedin for the Junior Secondary Schools’ Premiership for zone four.

That tournament gets under way today and runs through until Tuesday, while most other tournaments start either on Monday or Wednesday.

© The Ashburton Guardian - 30 August 2019

270819 JPM 0003 Peter Datlen Rocket Lab webPeter Datlen. Photo supplied.Ashburton’s own rocket-man Peter Datlen came back to his original launch pad yesterday to share his story about how he came to work for leading company Rocket Lab and his role in putting those rockets together.

Datlen was the first speaker of three to talk to the U3A group on their mini-series on space at St David’s Church Hall in Allenton, just around the corner from where he grew up.

He spoke about the path that led him to working in the space industry, with developing an interesting for cars and mechanics from his father who owned the petrol station on the corner of Harrison Street and Allens Road.

Following his father’s death in an aeroplane accident in 2006, Datlen decided a career in the air force as a aeronautical technician was what he wanted to do when he finished his time at Ashburton College.

“I had had no interest in it previously, but I figured I wasn’t able to fix the plane that dad crashed in, but I could fix all the others,” he said.

In 2008 he joined the air force, where he remained for several years before leaving after the report into the plane crash that killed his father found that it was not a mechanical fault that caused the plane to crash.

“That was the only reason I had gone into the air force and I found my drive was gone,” he said.

After that he trained to become a commercial pilot, before shifting careers again, working on newly imported Ford Mustangs to New Zealand and even trying his hand at swinging the hammer as a builder.

It was not until an old friend from the air force called him to tell him he had this job at a new company called RocketLab building rockets and asked if he wanted a job did he find a permanent passion.

“He asked ‘do I want to come build rockets’ and I asked ‘are you mental?’” he said.

“They brought me up to Auckland and I got to walk around the workshop, it wasn’t huge but it was unbelievable.”

Datlen was part of the small team that constructed the first rocket launched by RocketLab in 2017, and is now the lead launch technician for the company which now has more than 550 staff and has plans to work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to build a launch-pad in the United States.

Datlen also spoke to the group about Rocket Lab’s other plans for the future, including getting to the stage where they are launching one rocket every week and not leaving any space junk behind.

Rocket Lab is now an American registered and owned company, but is still run by New Zealanders and is based out of their Auckland factory and control room, launching their rockets from Mahia Peninsula, one-hour’s drive from Gisborne.

The U3A group will have two more speakers on space over the coming weeks, with British astronomer Ian Griffin coming to speak on September 3 and local astronomer Alister Perkins will deliver a Layman’s Guide to the Universe on September 4.

Both events will be held at the St David’s Church Hall from 10am and are open to casual visits from members of the public with an entry fee of $10.

By Jaime Pitt-MacKay © The Ashburton Guardian - 28 August 2019