A magical goal, sensational goalkeeping, rapid ascending, another Boxing Day bash, and shoddy admin are all part of this week’s edition of the Good, Bad, and Ugly, plus a bit of the bizarre!
Let’s kick things off with Alejandro Garnacho’s wonder goal from a magical overhead volley against Everton to warm the hearts of many long-suffering Manchester United fans like me.
Staying with the round ball code, fingertips were all Phoenix custodian Alex Paulsen needed to deny Melbourne City an equaliser in their A-League clash in Auckland, and the Phoenix women look the real deal, coming from behind to beat leaders Perth 2–1.
For us cricket tragics, there was the news that New Zealand are to cross the Tasman for a four-test series in 2026–27, with a Boxing Day test locked in. I feel another pilgrimage is on the agenda.
Sarah Tetzlaff and Julian David climbed into this column, becoming the first Kiwi climbers to qualify for the Olympics by winning the Oceania qualifying event in Melbourne. The pair still must climb the small mountain that is the NZ Olympic Committee and satisfy them that they are top–16 contenders.
Locally, former Solway College student Olivia Mancer is making every post a winner on the Christchurch bowling scene, winning the Canterbury Centre Women’s Singles and being selected in the province’s senior representative side for the Southern Quad tournament. Wairarapa’s women’s bowlers also got their rep season off to a winning start, narrowly pipping Kāpiti 14–12.
Brothers Benedict and Daniel van Woerkom returned from Malaysia with bronze medals from the Sultan Nazrin Shah Cup indoor hockey tournament. But they needed a bizarre 35–1 win over Hong Kong to make the third-fourth playoff with our mates from across the ditch and then won a thriller 6–4.
Move over Shane van Gisbergen. Is Matt Payne the next Kiwi Aussie Supercar star after his stunning win in the final race of the championship in Adelaide? The rookie got a flying start and was never headed in a classy, mature drive.
The Giz didn’t finish his stellar Supercar career in style, crashing out of championship contention on the opening lap of the first race in Adelaide and then having a DNF in the last race, and now NASCAR beckons.
Wet weather is the enemy of summer sports. Persistent rain ended the hopes of any play in the Bidwill Cup cricket championship and the last round of the Shirley Corlett Trophy interclub tennis series.
Intercity Softball and their handling of the Giants’ premier two, off and then on again, preliminary final was nothing short of diabolical. Initial opponents Marist defaulted and then protested, and Giants were told 24 hours before their game that they were to play Poneke-Kilbirnie. Fortunately, the Blues won, but the Giants club deserve some answers to the shambles.
The Tall Blacks’ ugly draw for their final Olympic series, with European heavyweights Slovenia and Croatia in their group and Greece, the Dominican Republic and Egypt in the other group at the six-team tournament, with only one to progress to Paris.
Former South African international cricketer Rusty Theron appeared to make a balls-up of a catch in a Legends League match against Ross Taylor’s Southern Superstars in India, only for his groin to come to the rescue and the ball to ricochet into his hands. Ouch!