Home' The Wellingtonian : August 25th 2011 Contents 19
THE WELLINGTONIAN, AUGUST 25, 2011
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will stick with them
BAND-AID® Sports Kid of the Week
Nominate someone you know to be the BAND-AID® Sports
Kid of the Week! Just send us their name, address and
daytime phone number, along with a photo and brief outline
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Isiah loves all sports and is really committed
to Rugby League. He trains twice a week
and hardly ever misses a training session.
Isiah has won Sportsperson of the Year for
every year he has played and last year won
his schools Sportsperson of the Year for
being a good all round player.
Opening Match: Somalia vs Street Soccer @12.00pm
UK Kiwi vs Assyria
Fiji Sangam vs Red Sea
Vatican City vs Zimbabwe
South Sudan vs Ranger Myanmar
Cambodia vs Turkey
Wellington Int Stars vs Europe XI
Burma United vs Wellington Fiji
Date: 3rd September, 2011
Venue: Awakairangi Park, Totara Park Upper Hutt.
Upper Hutt Multicultural Council Presents
2011 Soccer World Cup
6th Upper Hutt Ethnic Community Footall Tournament
Cricket Wellington has
appointed Leigh Kelly
as the new coach of the
Kelly is an experi-
enced player and for-
mer captain of the
men's side, and has
been a long-serving
New Zealand indoor
He played two first-
class matches for the
Wellington rep team in
Kelly takes over from
coach Mark Borthwick,
for an initial period of
The curse of seagulls . . .
By JACOB McSWEENY
Wellington Phoenix supporters are often
heard shouting seagull'' as a slapstick
chant during matches.
Now the gulls have returned to Wellin-
gton's soccer fields with a vengeance.
Torrid weather conditions have caused
the closure of entire divisions in Welling-
ton football and rugby, leaving many
players frustrated last weekend.
Seagulls compounded the problem of
saturated playing fields, said Trevor
Jackson, Wellington City Council's sports
Seagulls were usually there to dig up
worms and insects, he said.
Once there is a bit of surface water
they will walk over it and bring the mud
to the surface.''
Some of the parks most affected were
Wakefield, Seatoun, Petone and
He said there were few options for the
council to avoid the seagull damage.
There is a material that can keep
seagulls away, but it's not very effective
and you have to be very careful.
You can try to rope off areas, but it's
a matter of how well you can do
that as well -- we're very limited.''
Capital Football's game development
manager, Cliff Bowden, said it wasn't a
huge issue, but for coastal pitches the
seagulls were pests.
What happens if a pitch is wet is the
worms and bugs rise to the surface,'' he
Once you get all these birds walking
on the waterlogged pitch they turn the
grass into complete and utter mud.''
Capital Football had endeavoured to
ensure everyone got 18 games this win-
ter, but there was only so much they
could do, he said.
Salute to a champion coach
Same wavelength: Coach Ruth Aitken, left, and star goal shoot Irene van Dyk.
Is Ruth Aitken the best coach
the New Zealand netball team
has ever had?
Aitken, who is stepping down
after the forthcoming test series
against Australia, has been at the
helm for 10 years. She has won
one world title and been runner-
up twice, and has won two Com-
monwealth Games gold medals
and been runner-up once.
I take more notice of netball at
the Commonwealth Games than
of most other sports because --
unlike gymnastics, swimming,
boxing, archery and so on -- it is a
virtual world championship.
Only Lois Muir, who guided the
national team from 1974 to 1988,
jostles with Aitken on the top
rung of the New Zealand netball
Muir had one disastrous world
tournament, in 1975, was runner-
up in another, in 1983, shared a
world title, in 1979, and won one
outright, in 1987.
Before Muir, the New Zealand
team played infrequently.
For example, Taini Jamison of
Rotorua coached New Zealand to
the world title in 1967 and to
runner-up in 1971.
She was obviously a coach much
admired by her players, and in
1967, with talent such as Joan
Harnett, Judy Blair, Tilly Vercoe
and Billie Irwin in her ranks, she
built a fine team. But between
world tournaments her team
almost never played.
Muir improved as a coach as
she learned to place more respons-
ibility on her players.
This came to fruition in
Glasgow in 1987, when Leigh
Gibbs, Tracey Fear, Margaret For-
syth and others took over much of
the training and Muir fine-tuned
The result: no team got within
10 goals of New Zealand.
Another tribute to Muir is that
so many of her players, including
Lyn Gunson (Parker), Yvonne
Willering, Gibbs, Wai Taumaunu,
Ruth Fathers (Aitken), Rita
Fatialofa and Marghie Matenga
went on to become influential
coaches at international level.
Aitken has coached during an
era in which netball has gone
semi-professional. The demands
on her have been greater, but she
has never showed signs of stress.
Her predecessors, Gunson,
Gibbs and Willering, had plenty of
netball knowledge, but also obvi-
ous weaknesses. Aitken, by con-
trast, has had most bases covered.
Her willingness to call on others
for help and lack of obvious ego
have been assets.
After a slightly dodgy start,
when her players asked her to
take more command, she has been
in control, but in an understated
manner. She is not someone who
stalks up and down a sideline dur-
ing a game, or allows her players
to see her in moments of despair.
She has not won everything --
who could with Australian netball
so strong? -- and will recall the
double-overtime defeat in the
2002 Commonwealth Games final
and the loss of the world final this
year as big ones that slipped
However, she has ushered in an
era in which the Silver Ferns take
the court genuinely knowing they
can beat major rivals Australia.
After the bleak silver syn-
drome'' days of the 1990s, that's
been a blessed relief.
If her successor, who at this
stage looks likely to be Tau-
maunu, is as successful and
handles her responsibilities
(including the media) as well,
New Zealand netball will indeed
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