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Multisports champions of note

Robbie Anderson … represented Wairarapa in rugby and cricket. PHOTOS/FILE

COGGIE’S CALL

While researching for my articles on a Sports Hall of Fame, I was amazed at the number of sportspeople who have represented Wairarapa in two or more sports, or who have achieved a high level in multiple codes.

The combination of rugby and cricket is the most common, with many codes no longer fronting with representative teams.

Brock Price, Robbie Anderson, and Paddy Gluck each represented in the region in those two codes over the past year.

James Goodger, right, excelled in rugby and wool pressing.

There are many others over the years.

Mark Childs hung up his cricket boots in 2019 but also represented the region in rugby in the mid-90s.

Peter Noble in the 1990s, and Ian Snook, Bunter Anderson [father of Robbie], and brothers Doug and Mark Bracewell achieved the feat in the late 1970s and early 1980s, while Dermot Payton was a cricket, rugby, and badminton representative.

Possibly the most intriguing story dates back to the early 20th century.

David Kennedy Logan was widely regarded as “the gamest and trickiest halfback” in New Zealand when he moved to Masterton to start a legal practice in 1904.

Logan’s form attracted the attention of the national selectors who picked him for the 1905-06 ‘Originals’ All Blacks team, only for him to decline the chance on business grounds.

Logan went on to play cricket for Wairarapa for more than 20 years.

A left-arm spinner and useful batsman, he was recognised as one of the best cricketers in the Wellington province.

Rugby and tennis is also a popular combination, with Sir Brian Lochore the most obvious.

The All Blacks great played rugby for Wairarapa from 1959 to 1970 and was a highly competitive tennis player – he was in the Wairarapa team who upset Manawatu in 1982 to win the Christie Cup, the central region’s most prized tennis trophy.

Ally O’Neill, Bruce Patrick, Phil Rutene, Steve Hurley, and Kevin Inder are others who swapped the rugby field for the tennis court over the summer.

Frazer Mailman had a successful representative career in hockey and tennis.

The hand-eye co-ordination needed to play hockey and cricket had the naturally gifted Kevin Percy enjoy lengthy representative careers in both codes, with selection for the national men’s hockey team at the 1960 Rome Olympics his high point. Percy also represented Wairarapa in basketball.

Liz Perry is a double international in cricket and hockey.

Elizabeth Perry was a double representative in cricket and hockey before furthering her career outside the region, gaining national selection in both sports. She went on to play 17 ODIs and 31 T20s for the White Ferns and three internationals for the Black Sticks.

Tony Short, best known for his deeds in more than 100 cricket games for Wairarapa, also represented the region in hockey.

Brothers Stephen and Mark Elliott, and Brian Campbell [father of professional golfer Ben Campbell] were dual representatives in cricket and golf.

Jimmy Cotter was a double representative in rugby and softball. Cotter played 29 games for Wai-Bush and was a Junior All Black.

However, he reached greater heights in softball where he was picked for the national team.

Nigel Sargent played 58 games as a prop for Wai-Bush from 1976 to 1984. But it was in wrestling where he tasted great success, winning a Brisbane Commonwealth Games bronze medal in the 90kg men’s class.

Last year’s Wai-Bush captain James Goodger’s sporting ability isn’t limited to the rugby field. The 54-game veteran is also a champion wool presser, having won multiple Golden Shears titles with his brother Vinnie.

Nick Mita represented Wairarapa in basketball and rugby.
PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Nick Mita captained Governors Wairarapa to the 1990 national second division basketball championship, before representing Wai-Bush in 1994. Mita was also a talented squash player and now coaches the sport professionally.

Paddy Harding-Rimene is Wai-Bush’s leading points scorer, with 561 points in 70 games between 1999 and 2008.

In recent years, Harding-Rimene has represented New Zealand in waka ama competitions.

Racing drivers Howard Gregory and Tony Price won multiple national sidecar championships and both were also talented athletes, with Price winning the Wairarapa Marathon for 10 consecutive years.

I’m sure there are many more but with many sports not fielding representative teams, the records are scarce.

But one thing is for certain, for a small region, Wairarapa has produced some outstanding athletes.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Jimmy Cotter,Jack Cotter and Tom Hullena all played in Wai-Bush golden area and all three won the NZ secondary school softball title in 1975 for Wairarapa.

  2. Jack Hemi, played for Featherston, Gladstone,Wairarapa in 1934,Maori AllBlacks 1934-35,toured Australia, scored 70points including two tries, delegated the goal kicking ahead of the Great George Nepia.Switched to rugby league and played for the kiwis in Australia and Great Britain, the latter tour cut short due to the outbreak of the WW2.
    Kia Ora

Comments are closed.

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