Stevenson carries night at sports awards

Sky TV rugby commentator Scotty Stevenson was a witty but expert compere at the Manawatu sports awards at Awapuni on Friday night.

"Sumo" had done his Manawatu homework and had great synchronisation between his witticisms and those rolling eyes.

Sumo's piece de resistance: "Aaron Smith and Aaron Cruden have done more for midgets than all the Hobbits put together."

In the past, this annual soiree has gone way too long and it went into the dark hours again on Friday. The official start was 6pm and it didn't finish until after 11pm, so at least an hour's cut would not go amiss.

■ It took a couple of spells in the national squad but Palmerston North Marist's Adam Milne finally made his one-day international debut for the Black Caps in Sri Lanka at the weekend.

In New Zealand's seven-wicket loss, the Manawatu pace bowler went wicketless for 21 runs from his 4.2 overs but showed the rest of the batting lineup how to do it on the subcontinent, smashing 12 from only three balls as they slumped to their third loss in a row.

■ The panel for the Manawatu sportsperson-of-the-year awards did what cycling couldn't, separate London Olympics bronze medallists Simon van Velthooven and Jesse Sergent.

Palmerston North Marist, an affiliate of Bike Manawatu, named them joint winners in the new Marist sports awards last week. The Manawatu sports awards panel plumped for van Velthooven for their supreme award.

■ We have heard John Fisher is to be made a life member of the Old Boys-Marist Rugby Club at the Vatican on Wednesday, November 21.

He has been unanimously approved by the life members and club committee, so it now only remains for the club members to say "aye" at the annual meeting.

Fisher has been with Marist for 31 years, as a player, captain and had two stints as coach which ended this year.

■ Manawatu hockey umpire Lucy Townend, 23, has been named for the two Black Sticks' tests against India in December.

It will be her international debut after 10 years of umpiring since starting as a third-former at Palmerston North Girls' High School. Townend is a Manawatu Standard reporter. The reserve umpire for the tests will be Manawatu's international official David Tomlinson.

The women joke they are fitting him out with a skirt.

■ Another big year beckons for Palmerston North squash.

On their calendar is the New Zealand doubles championships in March, which they have prised out of their usual home, Auckland. There's a second International Classic in August, the C-grade interclub nationals in September and four junior and development camps at Massey University.

Manawatu Standard