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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Good, bad, better late than never

A couple of days late, but it’s better late than never, so without further ado, let’s climb into this week’s edition of the Good, Bad and Ugly of Sport.

GOOD

Why not kick things off with the Wairarapa Times-Age Sports Awards? The quality of nominations across the board was [in typical Aussie rugby league commentators’ parlance] “sensational” and “unbelievable”. Not quite, but it was very, very good, and some exceptional athletes, including internationals, national champions and national squad members, missed the cut. The judges have one hell of a job to suss out the winners, and that has to be a good gauge of sport in Wairarapa.

The Masterton Red Star Rams hadn’t won a Premier [or Senior A] rugby game since 2012, but that changed on Saturday when they rolled up their sleeves and got the job done 32–19 over an experienced Greytown lineup, bringing tears to the eyes of many of their faithful.

Staying with Wai Bush premier rugby, and how good were Marist against Pioneer, with two of their brightest young stars, brothers Charles and Willy Mataitai, running riot and scoring seven of their nine tries in a 57–12 rout, and then on Thursday night Hayden Cooper stepped up and slotted the match-winning penalty with time up in a humdinger with Carterton.

James Preston beating the late Sir Peter Snell’s 62-year-old 800m NZ record has to sneak into the good, although it’s always sad when a legacy record is erased from the books. Also, bear in mind that Sir Peter achieved his feat on the grass at Lancaster Park, Christchurch, adding more credence to the claim he is our greatest athlete of all time.

Scott Dixon’s third in the Indy 500 was as good as a win, so said “the iceman”, given that his Honda-powered car was well off the pace of the Penske cars, and to finish less than a second behind back-to-back winner Josef Newgraden again highlighted the class and racecraft of the flying Kiwi.

I just can’t leave the injury-ravaged NZ Warriors out after their gutsy 24–20 win over the Dolphins and the Canes’ whipping of the Chiefs 20–17 with a last-minute penalty.

And I’ll take the axe to the ‘Good’ with King Country farmer Jack Jordan, now a three-time winner of the Stihl Timbersports World Trophy, after chopping, cutting and sawing his way to victory in Milan, Italy.

BAD

What is it with these sports stars who don’t know when to say enough is enough? That certainly applies to tennis great Rafael Nadal, who looked a shadow of himself with a bad first-round exit at Roland Garros, where he graced the centre court in 14 magnifique victories in his storied career.

The Melbourne Rebels are gone from Super Rugby Pacific after the ARU pulled their support from next month. The big question – what now for Super Rugby? Eleven teams or bye-bye to another team, or does this open the door for Japan to come back?

UGLY

It was a bit of a struggle to find something worthy to slide in here, but the stoush between NZ Rugby, the Players Association, and the provincial unions has the potential to get really ugly, although I admit to knowing little about the politics behind the whole shemozzle.

But then I was rescued by Lydia Ko’s opening round 10-over par 80, the worst major round of her career, and ugly enough to slide into the depths of sporting hideousness.

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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