Mas­ters sports matches across the east

Eastern Courier - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - LIU CHEN

East Auck­land is send­ing out two base­ball teams to play on the di­a­monds in the World Mas­ters Games which opens this Fri­day and runs un­til April 30.

The How­ick Paku­ranga Black Hawks and Grey Hawks, both of the How­ick Paku­ranga Hawks Base­ball Club, play in the com­pet­i­tive and recre­ational games re­spec­tively.

Lloyd Elsmore Park, in Paku­ranga, serves as the sole venue for base­ball games, where the Black Hawks come up against two teams from New Zealand and one from Ja­pan, while the Grey Hawks face up against line-ups from Aus­tralia.

‘‘I guess it’s a step into the un­known as to what to ex­pect from the other teams, so we have to con­stantly work at get­ting our po­si­tion­ing and un­der­stand­ing of plays,’’ club sec­re­tary Dou­glas White says.

‘‘For a num­ber of us this will be our one and only chance to be able to com­pete in an event of this mag­ni­tude.’’

The How­ick Paku­ranga sides are made up of an eclec­tic mix of full-time work pro­fes­sion­als, who have dif­fer­ent lev­els of ex­pe­ri­ence in play­ing base­ball, cul­tural back­grounds, and come from vary­ing fields in­clud­ing ac­count­ing and engi­neer­ing.

Since Oc­to­ber the squads have been hold­ing their re­spec­tive train­ings, and in­di­vid­u­ally the mem­bers have got to the gym, physio, and pitched up for ad­di­tional prac­tise when it suited, White says.

‘‘Ir­re­spec­tive of the re­sults, I’m sure we will all get to­gether af­ter the games and share some sto­ries and laughs,’’ White adds.

‘‘Meet­ing new peo­ple and mak­ing new friends is ev­ery bit as im­por­tant as be­ing com­pet­i­tive.’’

More than 27,000 par­tic­i­pants from about 100 coun­tries are en­tered in the ninth World Mas­ters Games, which dates back to 1985 and comes to New Zealand for the first time, with Auck­land the main venue.

Base­ball games are on all day un­til April 30, with times dif­fer­ing from day to day.

Lloyd Elsmore Park also hosts all of the rugby games at Paku­ranga United, with play daily on April 22-24 and 26-29 from 1-5pm, and 11am-5pm on April 30.

Paku­ranga Golf Club is also hold­ing part of the golf event on April 24, 26 and 27, at 7.30am12.30pm.

En­try is free to view all World Mas­ters Games sports events. For de­tailed sched­ules, go to world­mas­ters­games2017.co.nz

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