Sun­hawks com­pet­ing 40 years on

Napier Courier - - News - BY BRENDA VOWDEN [email protected]

The Napier Sun­hawks are masters at their game — well they’ve had plenty of prac­tice.

The women’s masters bas­ket­ball team is cel­e­brat­ing 40 years of play­ing to­gether and to mark the mile­stone, they’ve just com­peted in the Pan Pa­cific Games on the Gold Coast.

Mem­bers Donette Daly, Kathie Di­mock, Wendy Timu, Lynne Pugh, Jo Richards, Raewyn Thoma­son, Chris O’Dwyer, Jenny Mather and cap­tain Di Robert­son were joined by ‘new­comer’ Jo­hanna Wil­son, who played bas­ket­ball with a few of the girls at Colenso High School in the 70s, bring­ing home a hand­ful of well de­served medals.

From ath­letic teenagers to man­ag­ing ca­reers, fam­i­lies and gru­elling hours of prac­tices, fundrais­ing, miles of trav­el­ling through­out the coun­try and in­ter­na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion, they have hung in there to­gether, as life­long friends, says cap­tain Di. When asked why they still play, the re­ply is, “be­cause we can”.

“Although we may be a bit slower up and down the court — and need a good sup­ply of strap­ping tape and sup­port for knees — we still have the court smarts and love of the game.”

Di says they have made many friends over the years and as a team they are a fam­ily, with five of the cur­rent team — Di, Kathie, Lynne, Jo and Jenny — hav­ing rep­re­sented New Zea­land cap­tained by Di and Jenny. “We are there for each other through all the tri­als and tribu­la­tions life throws our way.”

Although there is plenty of fun to be had, the team — rang­ing in age up to 71 — has clocked up a raft of ti­tles over the past four decades. Achieve­ments have in­cluded five New Zea­land club cham­pi­onship ti­tles be­tween 1977 and 1983 and two New Zea­land pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship ti­tles in 1977 and 1979. The team was also a fi­nal­ist in the Hawke’s Bay Sports­man of the Year Awards in 1981 and 1983.

“The com­pe­ti­tion for­mat changed in 1984 with the in­tro­duc­tion of the Hertz New Zea­land Women’s Na­tional League and we con­tin­ued to com­pete,” Di says.

Although bring­ing home the gold medal would have been the ic­ing on the cake, be­ing part of the team is more im­por­tant to the Sun­hawks. “We do love win­ning but giv­ing 100 per cent ef­fort is what it’s all about.”

Napier Sun­hawks re­cently re­turned from play­ing a masters tour­na­ment in Aus­tralia — Jo Richards (far left) and cap­tain Di Robert­son (cen­tre).

Sun­hawks giv­ing it their all.

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