Ram­blers de­fend top ti­tle

Central Leader - - SPORT - By TREVOR ROWSE

Mt Al­bert Ram­blers Soft­ball Club will be aim­ing to de­fend its ti­tle at Auck­land United’s ju­bilee Vic Guth Me­mo­rial Tour­na­ment at Fowlds Park this week­end.

The Ram­blers also have their sights set on the fol­low­ing two in­vi­ta­tion se­ries at Marist and North Har­bour.

Last sea­son’s side took out two se­ries in a row but have strug­gled to stay in con­tention for the mi­nor premier­ship award in the Auck­land Fast­pitch Cham­pi­onship where they sit in third place, be­hind United and North­cote with four games to go.

Ram­blers player-coach Nathan Nukunuku is out to prove that his omis­sion from the New Zealand team that will play in the March world se­ries at North Har­bour was a mis­take.

He can ex­pect great bat­ting sup­port from in­ter­na­tional bat­ting star Donny Hale who has starred in Ja­pan and the United States but has seen lit­tle lo­cal ac­tion.

Young­ster Rhys Evans has been given ev­ery chance to shine this sea­son and his ef­forts were capped by be­ing named as the most valu­able player in last week’s na­tional un­der19 se­ries where Auck­land won, with North Har­bour in sec­ond place.

How­ever United,

as na­tional cham­pion for only the sec­ond time in the club’s 65 year his­tory, are mak­ing a spe­cial ef­fort to win their own se­ries.

Eden Roskill are also keen to show that their re­cent win­ning ways can carry over into the Vic Guth tour­na­ments.

Fifty sea­sons ago the United team mem­bers had to mow the park be­fore the in­au­gu­ral event, cre­ated to hon­our a noted player and coach who died in his late 40s. This time, the or­gan­i­sa­tion is stream­lined and the side has ev­ery chance to cre­ate its own his­tory.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Soft­ball star: In­ter­na­tional bat­ter Donny Hale has played in Ja­pan and the United States.

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