Mata­mata mum is off to Glas­gow

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By ABBY BROWN

Sil­ver Fern Casey Kopua’s big­gest lo­cal fan, her mum Joanne Wil­liams, will get to cheer her on in Glas­gow with a bit of help from ANZ Bank.

Wil­liams said she was ex­cited to be able to see all the pool games as well as the fi­nal. Net­ball New Zealand had only been able to se­cure her tick­ets to a pool game. ‘‘It’s a long way to go if you were only go­ing to see one pool game.’’

The Mata­mata woman was get­ting ex­cited about her de­par­ture day of July 23 even though she would be tak­ing the 26-hour flight to Glas­gow alone.

‘‘ Un­for­tu­nately it is a busy time on the farm. We had our first calf on the weekend and it will be fast and fre­netic at this time of year so my hus­band will have to stay home.’’

Wil­liams and hus­band Mur­ray have cheered on their daugh­ter at the Com­mon­wealth Games in Mel­bourne in 2006, and the Net­ball World Cup in Sin­ga­pore in 2011.

They were al­ready try­ing to or­gan­ise tick­ets to the 2015 Net­ball World Cup in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia.

Kopua, who is cap­tain of the Sil­ver Ferns, started play­ing net­ball as a sixyear-old at Hin­uera School. Be­cause of her height, Kopua of­ten played with older girls.

‘‘She was so tall that she didn’t look that dif­fer­ent from the 11 and 12-yearolds she was play­ing with.’’

Wil­liams said her daugh­ter ben­e­fited from at­tend­ing Mata­mata Col­lege where she was for­tu­nate to have Anne Tay­lor, a for­mer Sil­ver Fern, as her coach.

‘‘She is some­one she looks up to even now, she val­ues her com­ments,’’ the proud mum said.

Wil­liams was asked to trial for the Ferns her­self when she was younger, but this didn’t even­tu­ate be­cause she was preg­nant with her first child.

The Mata­mata lo­cal said she and her hus­band Mur­ray act as a sound­board for Kopua.

Kopua vis­its her par­ents’ Mata­mata dairy farm once a week when she isn’t away play­ing.

Wil­liams said the home vis­its helped re­lieve her daugh­ter of the pres­sure that comes with be­ing cap­tain of the Sil­ver Ferns.

‘‘People don’t think there is much to be­ing a net­baller, that you just play a few games, but there is a lot of pres­sure in be­ing the cap­tain and a lot of time spent train­ing and trav­el­ling.’’

Spend­ing time with her three other sport­ing sib­lings – the old­est, JanMarie, her brother, Rhys, who played for the Cru­saders be­fore go­ing to Scot­land, and youngest sis­ter Ly­naire who gave up rep­re­sent­ing Waikato in net­ball to play rugby sev­ens – also helped.

Wil­liams said they don’t see her as the cap­tain of the Sil­ver Ferns. In fact, they of­ten give her a hard time.

Wil­liams said Rhys had told his sis­ter the Ferns wouldn’t win the Com­mon­wealth Games in Aus­tralia in 2006. Kopua re­sponded that if she won he had to give her a two-armed hug.

‘‘When she came back she said ‘Tell Rhys I’m com­ing for my cud­dle’.’’

Ath­letes and their fam­i­lies don’t get ac­cess to tick­ets for ma­jor events like the Olympics or Com­mon­wealth Games – they have to en­ter a bal­lot like any­one else and there’s no guar­an­tee the tick­ets they do get are for their cho­sen sport.

That’s why ANZ started their Sup­port the Sup­port­ers cam­paign and gave away more than 1000 tick­ets to ath­letes’ fam­i­lies.

Photo: ABBY BROWN

STOKED SUP­PORTER: Sil­ver Fern Casey Kopua’s mum Joanne Wil­liams with her tick­ets to the Com­mon­wealth Games pool and fi­nal net­ball games.

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