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From remarkable … to farcical

Marcus Daniell returns a shot during the Olympic bronze medal match as Michael Venus watches. PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES

The good, the bad – the farcical

It’s that time once again to dish out some awards for some of our outstanding sporting achievements and for those moments you just want to dig a hole and hide from.

Class Act Award

Ross Taylor with the World Test Championship Mace.

It’s unfair to separate Olympic bronze medallist Marcus Daniell and Test Cricket World Champion Ross Taylor. The joy on their faces as they sealed famous firsts for New Zealand will last forever.

The pride of the Lansdowne Cricket Club, Taylor hit the winning runs in Southampton as the Black Caps upset the favourites India to win the inaugural World Test Championship, followed a few weeks later by Daniell and Michael Venus winning New Zealand’s first Olympic tennis medal.

Daniell underlined his class further last week, being honoured with the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award for his philanthropic efforts.

The Where Did That Come From Award

The Wairarapa men’s bowls representative team stunned the national bowling scene with a brilliant bronze medal performance at the

The bronze medal winning Wairarapa men’s bowls team. PHOTOS/FILE

National Intercentre Champs in Wellington. For the first time the tiny centre qualified for the quarterfinals where they upset Manawatu, to set up a semifinal with Auckland. In the end

Wairarapa missed out on a place in the final on the final bowl in an epic battle with the Jafas.

The Big Belly Flop

Farriers Wairarapa-Bush failed to make a splash in the Heartland Championship, starting with an ill-disciplined 42-10 loss to Thames Valley, where they played much of the second half with 13 players. The Green and Reds only saluted the judge twice in a disappointing campaign, finishing 10th of 12 teams.

Total Dominance Award

Greytown completed the club’s first unbeaten season in the premier club championship, beating bitter rivals Carterton 30-25 in a tense Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup final. Their best effort though was the 63-21 annihilation of Eketahuna in the Lane Penn Trophy final.

Dalefield celebrate their second consecutive Wellington Premier Championship.

The Leave It Till Late Award

For the second time in two years the Farriers Dalefield women’s hockey team won a shootout to win back-to-back Wellington premier titles. Dalefield looked to have the title in the bag leading 1-0 going into the final minute, only for Harbour City to equalise and send the decider to a shootout. Dalefield made no race of the shootout with goalkeeper Amy Rossiter-Stead in superb form saving all attempts, while Dalefield scored three of their attempts, to lock away their fourth title in six years.

The High Five Award

Trust House Wairarapa United’s 5-0 demolition of bitter rivals Napier City Rovers at Trust Memorial Park in April would take a lot of beating. Four goals were scored in the first half, in what was arguably United’s best ever performance in their history in the Central League.

Paul Ifill, right, will leave a big hole at Wairarapa United when he departs for Christchurch United.

The ‘He’s Gonna Leave a Big Hole’ Award

Wairarapa United stalwart Paul Ifill found the back of the net in scoring a massive deal to coach the Christchurch United men’s first team and head the club’s new women’s football academy. After seven years as Central League player, and at times coach, and four years as women’s W-League coach, it’s the natural progression for the Wellington Phoenix legend, and he will leave a massive hole to fill.

The ‘I Hate Defaults’ Award

And so do the Giants Softball Club, who already this season have had three defaults affecting their two men’s teams.

The problem has dogged the Masterton-based club for season after season, with some opponents never having travelled over the Remutaka Hill to play. The attitude of some, but not all, Hutt Valley softballers can be best summed up by a Hutt City United player, who emailed a very defensive response to a previous article I had written.

“It is called a Hutt Valley comp and if Giants want to participate then unfortunately, they have to travel.”

Clearly the writer hasn’t worked out that Giants are a legitimate member of Hutt Valley Softball and pay affiliation fees like anyone and are entitled to a 50-50 share of home games, so you, sir also take away the year’s ‘I am Selfish’ Award.

The Tape Measure and Shakespearian Farce Awards

The Post Office Hotel Wairarapa v Manawatu Furlong Cup two-day cricket match was stopped after nearly one hour to redraw the pitch markings, after it was realised the pitch was 2.8m too long. Despite protestations by Wairarapa pace bowler Stefan Hook after his second delivery that there was something wrong, incredibly it took 12 overs for anything to be done about it.

In my 30 years covering sport, I have never seen anything so farcical, and doubt I ever will.

Jamie Blackburn, GK, takes a rebound in Waicol’s stunning win over Celtic in the Premier One final.

The Game of the Year

Wairarapa College’s thrilling one-goal win in the final of the Netball Wairarapa premiership. Waicol came from eight goals down early in the second quarter to take a 38-37 lead into the final quarter. The students held steady at crucial times to edge Celtic 53-52.

Hats Off Award

Goes to all the sports administrators, who had to deal with the effects of covid-19. All dealt with the issues presented with professionalism, patience, and empathy, and well done to Wai-Bush Rugby and Netball Wairarapa for ensuring their big games were livestreamed.

Big Disappointment Award

Me – not getting through this without mentioning that damn pandemic, but I suppose that was inevitable.

Merry Christmas and catch you in the new year.

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