North Shore Times : January 23rd 2014
www.northshoretimes.co.nz SPORT Breakers back in game Welcome back everyone, on behalf of everyone at the SkyCity Breakers can I wish you all a happy New Year and trust that you have enjoyed a good holiday season. Ours has been spent largely on the road, with four games during the holiday season all away from home. We managed to split these games and come away with a two and two record, with good wins over Sydney and Melbourne having to be balanced against losses to Perth and Adelaide. While not much has changed in regards our position on the league ladder, we still believe we have our destiny in our own hands when it comes to making the post season. We have some important matchups in the final part of Perth and Adelaide looking assured of their spots in the post season. If anyone of the other teams in the mix can go on a four or five game winning run, it has the potential to totally change the whole equation. We have missed our big man in the recent run with Alex Pledger sitting out the entire holiday programme with an ankle sprain. Casey Frank has come in the season against fellow playoff contenders Sydney, Cairns and Melbourne. These games essentially become worth double the points – we win and they lose if you get what I mean. The race for the playoffs is certainly looking to be a close one, with only really and done a good job for us and brought some energy to the group but when you have one of the premier centres in the league sitting on the sideline, it is bound to hurt you. We look forward to his return and the rebounding presence he brings to the team. This week is a beach theme game to celebrate a return home for 2014 and to create a fun family atmosphere at the NSEC. So dust off your favourite beach shorts, bright shirts and hats and bring the family along tonight. Wollongong are one of the many teams who have their eyes on a top four spot, it is critical for us that we start looking after home court advantage and climb that ladder, one step at a time. Trust me when I tell you the spirit in this team is still strong and the belief is genuine. We know we are good enough to put together a sequence of wins to propel us into the playoffs, with your support we will continue the fight, starting at the North Shore Events Centre on Thursday. NORTH SHORE TIMES, JANUARY 23, 2014 27 Missed man: Alex Pledger has been missed by the Breakers while he has been out of action with an ankle injury. Photo:HANNAHJOHNSTON/GETTY IMAGES Sissons back for tri’s party atmosphere Back-to-back Takapuna Tri Series winner, Ryan Sissons, wants to make it three in a row. World no 13 Sissons has confirmed he will be back to defend his super sprint (500 metre swim, 16 kilometre bike, 4.6km run) title in the Takapuna round of the .kiwi Tri Series tomorrow night. The race is the third round in the series and will be Sissons’ first event of 2014. ‘‘I will be going into it off a big block of training in Wanaka so it’s going to be interesting to see how the body feels hitting it with a race,’’ Sissons says. ‘‘I have won at Takapuna the last two years and would love the three-peat, so the goal is to win.’’ The tight, fast and fully road closed course around the Takapuna CBD is popular with participants of all ages and abilities. Events this year include ➤SCHOOLFUNDRAISER Takapuna Primary School will be offering parking on their school grounds as a fundraiser. Parking will be available from 5pm on Friday and from 6.30am on Saturday at a cost of $5 (cash or eftpos) for the day. Entrance to the grounds is left off The Terrance and onto Collins St. Road closures for the event are : The Strand and The Strand carpark, Hurstmere Rd (from The Strand/Lake Rd to Killarney St), Channel View Rd and Gibbons Rd. the children’s 1:2:1, the beginners 3:9:3 and super sprint races. ‘‘I love racing in Taka- puna, the crowded streets and party atmosphere sure does make it a fun race for athletes and spectators,’’ Sissons says. Racing is for the first time split across two days, with the elites racing in the twilight of Friday night and all other events following on the Saturday morning, finishing with prize giving at noon on Saturday. The elite women, including world no 14 Nicky Samuels, will get under way at 7pm tomorrow night with racing expected to take just under an hour before the men conclude the evening programme with their race starting at 8pm. All other races are on Saturday morning, starting with the 3:9:3 from 7am and ending with prize giving at midday. Entries are still open for all events, from children to beginners to age groupers. ❚ Go to triseries.co.nz for event information and entry forms. Winner: Will Ryan Sissons continue to dominate the Takapuna Tri Series course? Photo: MIKE HEYDON. Pre-season play gives beach volleyball winners crucial edge Top ranked New Zealand beach volleyball teams took the titles at the North Harbour Open. Mike Watson and Sam O’Dea in the men’s field, and Julia Tilley and Shauna Polley in the women’s section, posted wins in the first leg of the 2014 Volleyball New Zealand International Beach Tour at the Mairangi Bay Beach Volleyball Centre. Watson and O’Dea showed the benefits of pre-season training and playing in Queensland, Australia with a powerful performance in the men’s final over Ben O’Dea and Thomas Hartles. The first set was dominated from the outset by Watson and Sam O’Dea as they spiked powerfully, and made a series of plays to gain the early momentum. A small fight back by Ben O’Dea and Hartles saw them gain a little momentum, but Go to northshoretimes.co.nz and click on Latest Edition to see more photos from the North Harbour Open. not enough to get back into the set. Sam O’Dea finished with some big blocking at the net to take the first set 21-15. The second set saw roles reversed. Hartles made some spectacular defensive plays, and Ben O’Dea transitioned with power spiking to jump out to a 12-9 lead. Watson then left his impact on the game with some dynamic defence and cross court spiking, to bring them back into the set at 18-18. The remaining points were furious and intense, with both sides having In form: Sam O’Dea and Mike Watson, winners of the North Harbour Open beach volleyball competition. massive blocking at the net by Botes saw them lead the first set from the outset. They won the set 21-11. The second set saw Tilley and Polley fighting their way back into the match with some fantastic scrambling defence, and subtle ‘‘knuckle’’ shots over and past the large block of Botes. Tilley and Polley won the set 21-10. The third set was a lot closer as the teams became desperate to win each point. The scores were level at opportunities to gain the advantage. Hartles and O’Dea got the key point to win the second set 22-20. The third set became a blow out as Sam O’Dea again took control of the net with several keys blocks. Ben O’Dea and Hartles could not recover from falling behind early, and Watson continued to make plays in the back court. Watson and O’Dea com- pleted the third set 15-10, and the match 2-1. The women’s final was a seesaw battle between Julia Tilley and Shauna Polley, the no 1 ranked New Zea- land team and third seeded New Zealand team Sonia Dunne and Carli Botes. Dunne was in sublime form throughout the tournament, showing a range of deft cut and roll shots, and many athletic saves in the back court. This combined with some 6-6 and 9-9. Then the break happened as both Botes and Dunne made a mistake to fall behind by two. Tilley and Polley then made some great defensive plays to complete the victory taking the set 15-11, and the match 2-1. The 2014 International Beach Volleyball tour now heads to Karapiro.
January 21st 2014
January 24th 2014