Masters sports matches across the east
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