Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dexter Dunn it - first in NZ to drive or ride 200 winners in a season...

Teenager Dexter Dunn became the first New Zealand harness racing driver to achieve 200 wins in a season by winning the fifth race at Addington, Christchurch, on Friday night.

Dunn, 19, was left stranded on 199 wins at Cambridge, Waikato, Thursday night after two second placings, and it took him another four attempts last night before guiding hot favourite Smiling Shard to an easy win in a 1950-metre two-year-old pace.

Dunn became the most successful harness driver or thoroughbred jockey in New Zealand history on Tuesday when he overtook jockey Lisa Cropp's record of 197 wins in the 2004-05 season.

Dunn, in only his second full season of driving, won last year's premiership and on June 1 this year beat champion Maurice McKendry's New Zealand record of 161 wins in a season.

He had six wins on the Forbury, Dunedin, card last Tuesday. He'll be pretty good when he grows up?

Many teens his age are still hooning around the main streets of their towns on a Friday or Saturday night in their hotted up cars - not this young guy!

Acknowledgements: NZPA

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Avalon rugby club in Lower Hutt relegated from premier grade...

After a proud 30-year history, since the amalgamation of Taita and Naenae in late 1979 and the commencement of playing in the 1980 season, Avalon will not be represented in the premier one club rugby competition next year.

Avalon won the Swindale Shield in 1991 and 2001 and were back-to-back semi-finalists in 2003 and 2004.

In the glory years the team fielded two All Blacks - lock Chris Tregaskis and openside flanker Scott Waldrom - while Thomas Waldrom and Mahonri Schwalger played for the Hurricanes, the latter also played for the Highlanders. Other players such as Huia Gordon, were selected for NZ Maori sides.

Club caretaker Gordon Hays has managed Avalon for 19 years and said it is going through its worst period. "It's bitterly disappointing everyone is gutted and frustrated.

"I think the players need to have a good look at themselves. We will be working hard next year with our young guys to regain premier status."

Johnsonville lost to Wainuiomata on Saturday but have done enough in the Hardham Cup to regain premier status for next year.

It is all very well for the club's officials to blame current players, but a lack of promotion of the club, recruitment and development of younger players from the colleges and at age grade level has been a problem for a decade or more.

Even back in the club's so-called heyday, young club players were often cast aside in the club's pursuit of established or up and coming players from outside of the Avalon club. The Avalon club's executive cast aside the "family club" image in pursuit of a grandiose professional status. A classic case of having a beer income but a champagne existence. It actually takes more than image, change of uniform and blazers to create fundamental change.

Many club members were never given real credit for their time and involvement in the club. I personally was involved in both senior and junior administration in the Avalon Rugby Football Club for a decade - I am still the longest serving junior rugby convenor in the club's history.

To get a team back into the premier grade will take a lot of hard work in promotion of the club and development of younger players in coming years.

I wish the Avalon club the best for the future.

Avalon Club information

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

NZ rocked by a major earthquake off the West Coast of South Island l ast night (16-7-2009)...

New Zealand was rocked by a major earthquake off the West Coast of South Island last night.

The quake first struck at 9.22pm measuring 7.8 magnitude while a large aftershock less than 20 minutes later was measured to be 6.1.

The US Geological Survey reported the quake was centred about 150km west of Invercargill, at a depth of about 35km.

Violent aftershocks were felt as far north as Wellington.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii originally issued a "potential tsunami" warning for the Southland area but this was cancelled by 11pm with the centre advising only small waves had been detected from the quake activity.

No casualties or serious damage has yet been reported as the epicentre was considerable distance from any townships, however, residents hundreds of kilometres away reported objects falling off shelves, short power outages and buildings were seen swaying.

Wanaka resident Simon Darby told the New Zealand Herald that he was forced to run outside his house.

"It must have lasted about two and half minutes. I lived in Tokyo for three years so I know what large quakes are like. Even though we are maybe 400km from the epicentre this was easily the longest and biggest I have ever felt.”

People ran from restaurants in Queenstown as buildings shook and lights went out.

In Australia, emergency services were all put on red alert as a tsunami warning was issued for the east coast while potential danger to low-lying and coastal areas was assessed.

Acknowledgements: MSN NZ Staff

Saturday, July 4, 2009

First three NZ Swine flu fatalities recorded...

First three NZ Swine Flu fatalities reported...

The first three fatalities of Swine Flu in New Zealand have been confirmed. They were an eight year old girl from Wellington; a 19 year old young man from Hamilton; and a 42 year old man from Christchurch. A geographical and age spread. Just the tip of the iceberg at this stage.

They all had underlying medical conditions; the young girl having been hospitalised with the virus. To date 945 cases of the H1N1 Influenza had been confirmed in NZ, but the real figure could be ten to twenty times that figure. Many may have had it and had recovered without actually knowing it.

For most New Zealanders this would prove to be a mild illness - about 40 people a year die from the seasonal influenza, which this year has been described as quite nasty.

The World Health Organisation(WHO)estimates there will be 2% severe illnesses or fatalities in cases worldwide.

The Swine Flu could be around for some time and spread throughout the community. Those with underlying illnesses or conditions such as asthma, could be at greater risk; they should seek immediate medical help if they became ill, medical authorities have stated.