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Sport nut hallucinates about a real Saturday

There’s been no premier rugby at Jeans Street for two years. PHOTOS/FILE

COGGIE’S CALL

Saturdays for this sports nut are rather weird, or empty may be more apt, at the moment.

Typically my winter sports Saturday will start at 6.30am, with a cup of tea and a couple of slices of toast on the way, to be at More FM by about 7am to prepare for the 8am start to the Totally Serious Sports Show.

It’s the first Saturday in May, the opening day of duck shooting season, so the first thing is to check the score of the traditional Friday night rugby game between Gladstone and Eketahuna for the prized ‘Duck Shooting Cup’, and then some final prep.

The hour-long sports show goes without a hitch.

Rugby, hockey, football, netball [it’s their first day of the season], indoor bowls, a bit of motorsport and racing are all covered.

Plus there’s the traditional opening day call from “Sparrow” McKay and Todd Brooks from a mai mai trying to win Grant Nisbett’s $25 worth of sports bets.

Next it’s across the road to the Kuripuni Tavern to top up the TAB account. Bump into a friend “Poss”, who tells me Awapuni Race 6 number 4 – “I was talking to my mate and it can’t be beaten. Get into it.”

Then it’s off home followed by a run or walk with the dog around Henley Lake.

Park Sports Ground is usually teeming with hundreds of young footballers on a Saturday morning.

The first sign of sport are the Douglas Villa football teams warming up on the old Lansdowne School grounds opposite the hospital.

But it’s not until I get along the stopbank that magnet of kids’ sport becomes obvious.

What seems like hundreds of kids swarm around the Colombo Rd rugby grounds like bees to a honey pot.

Regardless of the weather, gumboots are the fashion footwear of choice for mum and dad supporters.

Rugby-wise grandad stands at the end of the field hands in pockets and ready with a word of advice, “in my day son, we tackled around the legs”.

On the other side of the river the Park Sports Ground is teeming with young footballers and a couple of games of rugby on the Pioneer grounds.

The extent of Saturday morning sport becomes obvious when I hit Colombo Rd, where there are cars parked in both directions as far as I can see.

As I make my way along the path towards the wetlands, the shrill of whistles fill the air. That signals the netball season is under way. Is there any other sport where the whistle is blown so much?

It’s their first round of grading games, so there’s a busy day ahead at the Trust House Wairarapa Netball Centre. A bit further on, there’s more junior football on McJorrow Park.

Once home, there’s time for some preparation for what I’m going to cover that afternoon.

Remember Awapuni Race 6 Number 4; I look it up it’s called ‘No Show’, but it can’t be beaten so let’s put a few bucks on it.

Premier club rugby is the priority, and with only two games on and Pioneer in Martinborough, it will have to be Marist v Carterton at Memorial Park.

That’s a shame, a game at Jeans Street has its own unique atmosphere.

Being a neutral, I relish getting right in the crowd and listening to the advice they dish out. It takes a good referee to handle that.

Instead I will have great pleasure in listening to the Marist faithful rue their team’s ability to turn certain victory into defeat once again.

If Wairarapa United have an evening Central League home game at Trust House Memorial Park, that’s next on the agenda.

No junior rugby at Colombo Rd.

There I’m sure to cop friendly abuse, between bites of his pie, from former coach Phil Keinzley that I omitted his daughter Michelle from my list of Wairarapa’s multiple sports stars.

Of course, Michelle represented New Zealand in football and athletics and also represented Wairarapa in cricket and rugby. Clearly she inherited her mum Fay’s sporting ability.

If there’s no game, I’ll get a lift to the park. That way I can wander over to the Kuripuni Tavern for a quiet ale afterwards to catch up on other results.

How did the Dalefield hockey teams get on over the hill, and what about the battle of the cuzzies – Martinborough v Pioneer in Marty?

Oh, and I better check on how No Show went, and sure enough he lived up to his name.

There’s just a bit more time to rub the salt into the wound of a few Marist diehards who sulk in, before I head home for another dose of rugby – this time the Super kind on the TV.

Oh how I miss my Saturday sports fix. It might be a job but it’s a bloody good one.

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