At fever pitch

Tour­na­ment off to great start Sport he­roes get to­gether for an­nual Cromwell In­vi­ta­tional rugby clash

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By GRANT BRYANT By EMMA DAWE

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

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