At fever pitch
Tournament off to great start Sport heroes get together for annual Cromwell Invitational rugby clash
The Central Otago Composite Soccer Team, which is made up of top talent from the Wakatipu, Central Otago and Wanaka regions took to the pitch with gusto in the Grade 13 South Island Football Tournament, held from Sunday to Tuesday. The team got off to a great start by drawing 1-1 with Canterbury Black, a firm pick to make the finals, but lost 2-0 to Otago, also a team picked to go through to the finals. Eleven teams were battling it out in the tournament, and coach Stu Former All Blacks, New Zealand Warriors league players, Highlanders rugby players and even an Olympic rower will join forces with local rugby players to compete in the annual Cromwell Invitational rugby game on Saturday. The event, organised by the Cromwell Rugby Club, is in its Cordell said the Central Otago boys had not failed to turn heads. ‘‘They’re showing some great skill and teamwork, and that’s really impressive because we come from such a small catchment area, which has traditionally been such a rugby stronghold.’’ Matthew Cordell has already made the Southern Federation Team. Other strong performers Rian Norton and Merlin Clarke look to be knocking on the same door to earn the right to represent the South Island. The tournament was still underway as the Mirror went to print. third year and continues to grow in popularity with both the players and the public. This year, the Cromwell Community Board granted $2000 to go towards the marketing of the event. Spokesman Glen Christiansen said this year’s players included former All Black Paul Miller, former Warriors Brian Henare, Talite Liavaa and Whetu Taewa, former Blues rugby player Adrian Cashmore and former Highlanders rugby player Romi Ropati. Former Olympic rower Carl Meyer and New Zealand actor Grant Roa, who has appeared in Once Were Warriors and Whale Rider, and Central Otago District Mayor Tony Lepper, will also take to the field. The two teams have been called the Bonsors and the Cockies in tribute to the Cromwell and Upper Clutha rugby teams of the early 1900s which had those names and played each other in the annual town (Cromwell) versus country (Upper Clutha) match, Mr Christiansen said. The day of rugby begins with a ladies match at noon, made up of local women rugby players, which will be followed by a kapa haka from local children ahead of the main game. The game will be followed by a ‘‘Couch Evening’’ at the Golden Gate Lodge, where Queenstown MC Ferg will talk to many of the players and share stories with them. Mr Christiansen said the celebrations would be a fantastic family fun day and urged everyone to support the event.
Getting their goof on: Strong performers in this week’s Grade 13 South Island Football Tournament – the Central Otago Composite Soccer Team. Along the back row, from left are Jack Jessop, Tom Happs, Joel Malcolm-Smith and Callum Pye. Middle Row, from left, Hugo Wallace, Rian Norton from Cromwell , Louis Tatum-Cross, Sam Ciro, Merlin Clarke and Alex Smith from Alexandra. Front row, from left, Quinn McDonald, Sam O’Brien from Alexandra, Coach Stu Cordell, Matthew Cordell, Alex Plimmer from Wanaka and Jamie Shaw. All players are Queenstown-based except where noted.
Photo: GRANT BRYANT 628495316