In­juries see her called on to play

Coastal News - - News - By DON MACKAY

Michelle Tup­per was at the right place and the right time as she de­buted as goal shooter for the New Zealand Over 30s women side as well as man­aged the over 30 mixed side at the Tri Na­tions net­ball tour­na­ment in Jo­han­nes­burg.

The Whanga­mata Area School teacher’s health and phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion head of depart­ment’s ini­tial role was to just man­age — but she quickly got the call up as in­juries hit the over 30 women, a call that came as Michelle was out shop­ping.

“I needed to rush back to the sta­dium to pull on the GS bib. There was no time for nerves,” Michelle says.

The Whanga­mata Area School teacher quickly fit­ted into the side in her de­but game against Aus­tralia. She was ec­static that her net­ball ex­pe­ri­ence en­abled her to slot eas­ily into the team pat­tern.

“I gave my­self per­mis­sion to do what I’m good at,” she says.

Her pre­cise shoot­ing form saw her play four tests for NZ at this tour­na­ment. Also Michelle man­aged the over 30s mixed side that reached the fi­nal against Aus­tralia, which won by two points.

South African born Michelle be­came the un­of­fi­cial tour guide with her lo­cal knowl­edge and flu­ent Afrikaans, which also came in handy when she in­ter­cepted any South African tac­ti­cal changes at court­side.

She says emo­tions over­flowed at the tour­na­ment open­ing cer­e­mony when the na­tional an­thems were sung in an ex­pe­ri­ence that was “hard to ex­plain”.

A sim­i­lar highly charged mo­ment came as the NZ squads com­pleted the haka.

The NZ team spirit was in­clu­sive and in­cluded the whakatauki, or say­ing, kaore te ku¯ mara e ko­rero ana mo tona ake reka, the ku¯ mara does not brag about its own sweet­ness. This can be trans­lated as a re­minder to be hum­ble and prac­tise hu­mil­ity.

All NZ teams un­der 19 women, un­der 19 mixed, un­der 23 mixed, over 30 women and over 30 mixed reached the six aside fi­nals.

Michelle ac­knowl­edges and thanks Whanga­mata Lions for their great fi­nan­cial sup­port to­wards this trip.

PHO­TOS /SUP­PLIED

Michelle Tup­per played and man­aged the New Zealand Over 30s women side at the over 30 mixed side at the Tri Na­tions net­ball tour­na­ment in Jo­han­nes­burg.

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