Celebrating sports in Aotea College
Aotea College’s ‘‘ Sportacular’’ event is coming together nicely, with at least one ex-international fronting up.
The day of sport next Wednesday (June 29) begins with golf at Judgeford Golf Course from 9am, with Wellington representative Imogen Donnelly-Lawrence taking on all-comers.
Later, there is basketball (1.30pm), netball (1.30pm), football (2pm) and rugby (2.30pm), with current first teams taking on alumni and ‘‘invitational’’ players.
Money raised through sponsorship and donations will be put towards floodlights and the resurfacing of two courts.
One old boy who will be pulling on his boots to play for the Alumni XV is Brian Woolley, a former first five-eighth for Tonga, who played in the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
Still living in Porirua, he is player-coach for Johnsonville’s second team, and can’t wait to take the field against the best the college has got.
‘‘It’s going to be fantastic. I love coming back and seeing the college, and this day is all for a good cause. I’m not sure about lasting 80 minutes, but I’m looking forward to sharing some of my knowledge and experiences with a few of the boys.’’
Graham Upton, from the college’s first XV, who play Prem- ier 2, says the festival-type game will benefit his team.
‘‘We’ll have our targets, we’ll be up for it,’’ he says, with a grin.
Aotea’s sports co-ordinator Paul Latham, who will play blindside, is keeping mum on other luminaries who will join him and Woolley in the Alumni XV. He says while there might be a target on his back, the first XV boys may get used to seeing it disappear as he races towards the tryline.
Talk of his watering the playing surface in order to slow up the younger players is unsubstantiated.
‘‘Maybe I should nickname our team ‘Stacked’. We will have a weight advantage for the scrums, that’s for sure, but we want to give a good account of ourselves.
‘‘Seriously, this whole day is about celebrating sport at Aotea.
‘‘There’s a rich history here and we want to acknowledge that.’’
He says it is great the school’s old boys and girls have ‘‘come to the party’’, supporting an event he would love to see become an annual occasion.
Contact Paul Latham at sport@ aotea.school.nz or 027 27 87 087.
Facing the future: Ex-rugby international Brian Woolley, left, and first XV player Graham Upton represent the ‘‘old’’ and the ‘‘new’’ faces of Aotea College rugby, who will come up against each other next week.