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Old Girls playing for fun


A whanau team who play netball for fun and to be competitive is the mantra behind Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Old Girls, the surprise package of the first round of the Wairarapa Premier One Netball Championship.

The Old Girls, made up of experienced players, announced they would be a serious top-four threat with a 44-22 win over Wairarapa College last week. Although the students were missing some key players, including NZ Secondary School defender Sovaia Sabutu and national development camp member shooter Maggie Shields, Old Girls organiser Dani Sargent did not expect to come away with the victory.

“We’ve played college netball together, we played rep netball for Wairarapa together right through the age groups and have played competitive netball in premier one for a long time,” Sargent explained.

“We’re now at the age where we’ve got small kids and families to look after, so we wanted to put together a whanau team where we don’t train; we just turn up. We all know each other really well, and we just want to come and play and have a bit of fun and be competitive, but we certainly weren’t planning to be as competitive as we are.”

The team’s relaxed nature is no more evident than on game day, when “we turn up about 15 minutes before a game, have a bit of a chat, and throw the bibs up in the air, and you play what you get.

“We’re having lots of fun with our defenders who have always wanted to play shooter, being able to switch around. We’re smart minds.; we’re mindful that if we want to be slightly more competitive than what we’re showing out on court then we’ll switch it up and maybe go into our regular positions.”

Sargent said most of the Old Girls, including Katie Alsop, Trisanna Campbell, Ashleigh Karaitiana, Tova Bargh, Antonia Joy Thompson, Mairangi Karaitiana, and Abby Hauraki, have played for the all-conquering Harcourts side over the past two decades, while Abby Scott and Sinead Namana were long-term Carterton players,
making them formidable opponents.

The Old Girls face a club derby against Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Maroon in tomorrow’s 3pm game at the Trust House Wairarapa Netball Centre, and Sargent said that with it being a Saturday game, several of their key players could be unavailable because of kids’ sports commitments.

In tonight’s games, Gladstone Tauweru are looking for their second win of the season against the winless Ōpaki Vixens at 6pm, and at 7.30pm, defending champions Celtic’s unbeaten record goes on the line against Waicol.

In Wednesday night’s catch-up game. Celtic were strong for Carterton Maroon, winning 45–36.

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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