Thurlow family takes a swing at success
Batter up... another Thurlow steps up to the plate.
Softball is in the blood for 13-year-old Jackie Thurlow. She competed in the four-day-long South Island Under 15 Championships this week, along with more than 150 youngsters at Surrey Park in Invercargill.
Jackie is one of 10 children in her family who plays or has played softball, as well as her mum Maria who plays and is a manager of the Under 17 Girls team.
Her older brother Sam also currently plays for the NZ Army softball team.
Maria said the family got involved following in the footsteps of another family they were friends with, and then the sport just stuck.
‘‘They like it, it’s enjoyable and it doesn’t take as long as cricket.’’
The children have all represented Southland and played in various national competitions.
Southland Softball Association board chairwoman Rata Hopa said it was the first time Invercargill had hosted the competition since 2014.
There were eight boys’ teams and five girls’ teams competing from areas including Southland, Otago, Canterbury, Timaru and Marlborough.
‘‘It’s always good to get a tournament to Invercargill. We don’t get a lot and it’s a lot of work.’’
Hosting the competition in Southland again was good exposure for the sport, which had been growing in the region especially among younger chil- dren, aged 3 and 4 to 16 years.
‘‘We do well for being at the bottom of New Zealand. For us we are very proud of it,’’ Hopa said.
‘‘We do what we can and always try to support our children.’’
For the 2017/2018 season there are 415 senior and 553 juniors who are playing, coaching umpiring in Southland.
Earlier in the month the U19 Boys’ Championships were held in Christchurch, and the Girls’ Championships in North Harbour. This weekend the U17 Boys’ Championships will be held in Palmerston North and the Girls’ and Championships in Dunedin.
Girls’ Under 15 - first - Canterbury, second - Canterbury Development, third - Southland.
Boys’ Under 15 - first - Canterbury, second - Canterbury Development, third - Aorangi from Timaru.
Maria Thurlow with some of her children: Alex, Scott, Isaac, Terry, Haley and Jackie. All have either played or play softball.