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Those freakish sporting moments

Soli Malatai on his way to one of his five tries on his 21st birthday. PHOTO/FILE


Sport is littered with freakish moments, like Jonah Lomu’s four-try steamrolling of England in the 1995 Rugby World Cup semifinal to Team New Zealand’s push to win the 2013 America’s Cup stalled by no wind on matchpoint and 90 per cent of the race complete when time ran out.

From those moments that change the course of an event to stunning individual achievements, and those freakishly bad moments where you want to dig a hole and hide, never to emerge again, Wairarapa has had its fair share.

Here are a few that I have managed to dig up.

In 1950, an Australian XI soundly beat Wairarapa in a two-day cricket match played on Queen Elizabeth Park Oval.

Alan Davidson took 10 first innings wickets and scored a century against Wairarapa in 1950. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

No surprise there, but the star of the show was 20-year-old Alan Davidson.

The New South Wales left-arm fast bowler took all 10 wickets in the first innings for 29 runs off 13.3 overs. If that wasn’t enough, Davidson then tortured the Wairarapa bowlers for 319 minutes, scoring 157 not out in Australia’s total of 603-7. Australia won by an innings and 466 runs.

Davidson went on to play 44 tests for the ‘Baggy Greens’ taking 186 wickets at an impressive average of 20.53. He was the guest of honour at Wairarapa Cricket’s centenary in 1994.

In 2018, winger Soli Malatai had an unforgettable 21st birthday. The speedy Wairarapa-Bush winger set Memorial Park alight with a five-try blitz in the home side’s 61-29 thrashing of Buller in a Heartland Championship game.

Malatai also scored a freakish try in that season’s Lochore Cup final against Horowhenua-Kapiti at Levin, when he ripped the ball off the much bigger Timoci Seruwalu and raced 80m to score.

Three pieces of brilliance by Frenchman Hugo Delhommelle earned Wairarapa United a valuable 4-4 draw with Wellington United in a Central League football match at Memorial Park.

First, Delhommelle perfectly placed a free kick into the top of the net leaving the goalkeeper stranded to make it 3-3. He then repeated the effort in the 95th minute only for the goal to be disallowed.

Unflustered, Delhommelle slotted the retake with the final kick of the game, which was probably pivotal to United avoiding relegation.

At a lower level, Masterton Old Boys leg spinner Tim Bird took a hat-trick in a third-grade match against Greytown at Carterton in the mid-1980s.

Nothing unusual in that, except that all three wickets were stumpings, superbly effected by wicketkeeper Gavin Carson.

Then there are those moments one doesn’t want to remember but are continually reminded of.

Such as the opening batsman, who shall remain nameless, scoring one run in 27 overs of painful batting in a senior reserve two-day match for Red Star against Carterton in 1992.

Dean Goodin will never live down “scoring a try” over the 22m line. PHOTO/FILE

Then there’s the story of Dean Goodin, a lock for Pioneer in the late 1980s and early 1990s before he gave the game away and became a referee.

Goodin burst into the clear and trundled off downfield with no opposition player within cooee to score his try of a lifetime – only to be told by referee Bob Francis that he had dotted down at the 22m line.

But none of those is as weird as these two from the 1904 Olympic Games in St Louis, Missouri.

American gymnast George Eyser won three gold medals, two silvers, and a bronze in one day – despite having a wooden leg. They included a gold medal in the vault, which required a jump over a long horse without a springboard.

And there was Len Taunyane, one of the first two black Africans to compete in the Modern Olympics. Taunyane finished ninth in the marathon despite having to run 2km off-course when chased by a pack of wild dogs.

If you have had a freakish sporting moment, or you remember one not so flattering, let me know. I would love to share your story.

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