Sunhawks competing 40 years on
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.