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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Double diamond delight for Giants

Giants overcame a tortuous draw and sweltering heat to complete the double for winning the Intercity Premier Three Championship and their fourth consecutive Kuripuni Tavern Classic title.

The club’s annual Wellington Anniversary Weekend presidents grade tournament featured seven visiting teams, with each team playing two games on Saturday and another on Sunday morning before the Sunday afternoon final.

On top of that, most of the Giants team had to front up again on Saturday for Giants Red in their premier three final against Paremata-Plimmerton, which had been postponed from December because of wet weather.

Giants were untroubled in their opening two matches in the Kuripuni Tavern Classic, cruising to comfortable wins over Tōtara Park [12–21]
and Manawatu side Brawlers [11–0].

The Reds then took to the diamond confident of victory over a Paremata-Plimmerton side they had beaten 11–5 in their only previous encounter.

The home side took control from the start and were on the verge of a mercy victory when they shot out to a 10–2 lead in the fourth inning, only for the visitors to come back, scoring six runs.

The Reds batters stepped up and added three further runs in the sixth and seventh innings, while pitcher Tony Nixon shut down the Paremata-Plimmerton batters to secure a 14–8 victory.

Power hitters Matt Kawana and Gordon Wilmshurst hit automatic home runs, and Terry Waitere, who batted 1000, hit a grand slam – an automatic home run with the bases loaded.

Two of the Reds’ younger players, Julian Elmers and Thomas Kawana, also excelled in the decider, with some intelligent batting and good work in the field.

The championship capped a frustrating Intercity campaign punctuated by wet weather and some confusing decisions by Intercity Softball.

“For the mucking around that we’ve had during the Intercity season and then to have to play two games in our tournament and then a final, it was pretty satisfying that we won it,” said Reds team member Chris Feary.

“Congratulations to Paremata too; they had a two-hour ride to come all the way over here for a 4 pm game, and they pushed us all the way – and boy, was it hot.”

Giants were back on the diamond on Sunday morning and booked their place in the Classic final with a 3–0 defeat over Steelers. That set up a final against bitter rivals Dodgers in which Giants proved too strong, coming away with a 6–2 victory.

Feary said it was an all-round team effort with powerful batting, and demanding pitching from Justin ‘Chunky’ Karaitiana and Tony Nixon, backed up by strong defensive work in the field.

“There was some clutch batting from the guys, and when we needed it, the boys defensively in the field were really strong.”

Giants will now play in the Hutt Valley competitions for the rest of the season. The Blues will play in a six-team premier two championship, and the Reds will take the diamond in a five-team premier three grade.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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