North Shore Times : January 30th 2014
www.northshoretimes.co.nz SPORT NORTH SHORE TIMES, JANUARY 30, 2014 23 Freeskier keeps calm for the Olympics By FELICITY REID Proud Kiwi freeskier Anna Willcox will make Winter Olympic Games history in Russia but she wants her biggest supporters to stay away. The Sochi games is the first time freeski slopestyle has been part of the Olympic programme and Willcox is the only New Zealand woman who will be dropping tricks in the crowd-pleasing event. Despite the gravity of the occasion, Willcox wants to treat the Olympics like any other event. ‘‘My family and friends have been an amazing support,’’ Willcox says. ‘‘Though I have decided I do not want anyone in Sochi at the Games. I want to keep things as normal as possible and I haven’t had my parents at any contests in the past.’’ However mum Ulrika Silfverberg will be stationed close by as she stays with family in her home town in Sweden throughout the Games. Willcox, 21, is ranked No 9 in world and is still coming to terms with her rapid rise. ‘‘A year ago I would of never thought this dream would come true so fast,’’ she says of her Olympic selection. ‘‘Let alone a few years ago when I skied my first pair of freestyle skis, I would never have guessed.’’ The former Rangitoto Col- lege student took up freestyle skiing in 2011 during a six month stint working and skiing in Banff, Canada, and hasn’t stopped since. Lots of ways to be a leader Leadership takes all manner of forms in sport. It can be from a coach inspiring his team with the right choice of words or tactical approach to a game. It can be a veteran player making a big play. It can be a rookie playing with high energy. It can be a role player coming off the bench to make a quiet yet vital contribution at a critical time in a game. Leadership is continu- ing to do the difficult things when times are easy, it is doing the little things that make a difference when times are hard. Teams on a great run can become complacent, bad habits can creep into your game and lifestyle and when the results stop coming you have nothing to fall back on. Some players are natu- ral leaders, for others it is something they have to improve upon each day. And leadership is some- thing that can be learned and improved upon. I am nearing the end of a long career and I am learning new things about this game and people every day. If you aren’t open to those learnings you are not growing as a player or a person. Always in the natural hierarchy of teams there will be players who are content to take a back seat, the quieter characters who prefer to leave the talking or the ‘‘leading’’ to others in the roster. This chemistry is important too, recognising who are the leaders, the big personalities and who are the role players in a team culture. The SkyCity Breakers right now are looking to She joined the New Zea- land freeski team in 2013 and travelled to three different continents competing in six slopestyle ski world cups in order to satisfy Olympic selection criteria. Her best finish was at the world cup finals in Sierra Nevada, Spain, where she picked up the bronze medal. Many of the women Willcox will compete against in Russia are familiar foes. ‘‘The qualification process has been successful at insuring that the best riders from all nations will be competing at the Olympic Games and I am honoured to compete against many of these skiers who I have looked up to and inspired me to freeski,’’ she says. As much as Willcox wants to keep to her tried and true routine, she isn’t immune to the excitement around the Olympic experience. ‘‘I’m really excited to watch the figure skating. I‘ve always watched this as a child and been intrigued by it. As well as the ice hockey,’’ she says. She will also be keeping a close eye on how her boyfriend James Woods, a freeski slopestyle competitor representing Great Britain, goes too. The New Zealand team have spent this week in Switzerland and will arrive in Russia on February 1. Twelve of the 15 members of the New Zealand team are first time Olympians like Willcox. ‘‘I am so proud to come from a beautiful place like New Zealand and to rep the black colours of our nation,’’ she says. Newcompetition: Freeskier Anna Willcox is gearing up for her first Oympics. Shore sides book spots in the playoffs CLUBCRICKET Wins for Shore sides have propelled them into the quarterfinals of the one-day club cricket competition. Former Jeff Crowe Cup champions Takapuna secured their sixth victory in seven matches this season with a five wicket win over Birkenhead City at Onewa Domain on Auckland Anniversary Day. Despite the difference in each player to bring their own form of leadership to our group. From the coaches to the players to the support staff and the great team in the front office of the club, everyone has their part to play in what looms as an exciting few weeks in the season and in our careers. Yes we are on edge. Yes we are playing for our lives this season but we will still maintain focus on the next game and the next game only. Tonight at Vector Arena against Sydney will be a great night, a great game to be a part of. It is the sort of pressure situation that we have to embrace as players, to welcome into our everyday lives as professional basketballers. The atmosphere will be play-off like in intensity, the game promises to be a thriller and this is the opportunity for the Breakers fans to provide their own contribution from the stands. In that sense you have your own form of leadership, to inspire us to our goals and to let Sydney know they are in our building. We look forward as always to your support and encouragement on Thursday night, see you at Vector Arena for tipoff. records going into the match – City had won only one game – it was the visitors who set the early pace thanks to Terry Crabb (69) and Rob McConnochie (40) who appeared to be priming their side for a big total when they took them to 170/3 with the best part of 15 overs remaining. However, at this point Takapuna’s attack showed their class. Ryan Scivier and Andy Cowell each claimed three victims as Birkenhead suddenly began to collapse and the visitors quickly moved from a position of strength to losing their last seven wickets for just 36 runs as they slumped to 206 all out. The hosts took their time in the run chase, reaching the target in the penultimate over, but not before suffering one or two scares as Abdul Samad claimed three wickets. A half century from Kyle Dunsmore and 43 from Jono Sole helped seal the win. Takapuna will now face East Coast Bays in the quarterfinals next Thursday. In a rerun of last season’s Jeff Crowe Cup final East Coast Bays spun their way to victory over Parnell at Windsor Park to book their playoffs spot. Last season Bays were on course to complete an historic triple crown of trophies until Ian Trott‘s side defeated them at Eden Park in the 50 over final. This time around Bays have again been one of the form teams of the competition and they put on a comprehensive performance. The hosts batted first and reached 209/6 from their 50 overs with English professional Tom Cullen top scoring with 90. Cullen is the second leading run scorer in the Jeff Crowe Cup and he was well supported by skipper Brad Schmulian who struck a half-century. Parnell veteran James Walsh was once again the pick of the bowlers for the visitors, taking three wickets for 39 runs. In reply Parnell had little answer to spin twins Schmulian and Stuart Lipshaw. The pair combined to bowl 20 overs during which they claimed seven wickets for just 32 runs as the visitors stumbled to 105 all out after being 73/1 in the 23rd over. The result confirmed Bays’ position at the top of the Blue Section ladder. A Donovan Grobbelaar inspired Howick Pakuranga comfortably defeated North Shore by 121 runs at Devonport Domain. Grobbelaar combined with New Zealand U19 World Cup squad member Shawn Hicks for a 114-run third wicket partnership when Howick batted first. Hicks struck 10 fours and a six before being dismissed for 91 from just 104 deliveries, while Aces all-rounder Grobbelaar cleared the ropes on five occasions in his innings of 85. While the Shore attack struggled to contain the Howick batsmen there was some success for Carl Brungar who bagged 3/44 from his 10 overs, as the visitors posted an imposing total of 271. Grobbelaar then struck two early blows with the new ball as the hosts struggled in the early stages of the run chase. Skipper Josh Tasman- Jones (77) and Blair Parlane (50) then rebuilt the innings with a 110-run third wicket partnership, however when Grobbelaar returned for a second spell he proved to be almost unplayable, claiming three further scalps to complete a five wicket bag as the hosts lost their final eight wickets for just 21 runs. Shore, who finished third in the Blue Section, will host Cornwall next Thursday as they seek a spot in the semifinals. Before the one-day compe- tition can continue, the players will be back in their whites contesting the sixth round of the two-day competition on Saturday. Cricketers part of title winning team Five Shore schoolboy cricketers are national champions following Auckland’s success at the New Zealand under-17 tournament held in Wellington. Wicketkeeper batsman Cole Briggs from Rangitoto College was the named in the tournament team for his standout performances. Rangitoto pace bowlers Christopher Groenink and Nathan Banks as well as Westlake Boys High School’s batsman William O’Donnell and pace bowler Ross ter Braak were also members of the winning team. Sides from Auckland, Cen- tral Districts, Wellington, Canterbury, Otago, and a Wellington Development XI took part in two-day and one-day matches Auckland beat Wellington Champs: The national title winning Auckland under-17 cricket team. Development XI by 49 runs in their opening two-day game and then drew with Canterbury and Wellington to round out the longer form of the competition. Auckland’s first one-day game against Central Dis- tricts was rained off before Auckland won their final game by three wickets against Otago.
January 28th 2014
January 31st 2014