Home and hosed in a high-pressure game

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 12:00 03/01/2014
Himatangi Beach Fireman's Football tournament 2014
GOOD FUN: Dan Hancock from Happy Campers 2 team goes for the ball.

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Mud and guts featured heavily as the rising Ronaldos of Manawatu firefighting competed in one of the region's quirkiest summer events.

The annual Himatangi Beach Fireman's Football tournament drew a crowd of close to 100 people for what turned out to be a good old-fashioned hose-down in Himatangi Beach Park yesterday.

The tournament, which raises funds for the town's fire station, has been running for close to 25 years, but it had come into its own over the past few years, said organiser and deputy chief fire officer Titus Salter.

Fireman's football is a simple game. The object of the teams of four is to get the inflatable rubber ball into the opposing goal, using only the pressure from heavy duty fire hoses. When the ball goes out of play it is thrown in by the linesman, meaning the ball rarely stays on the ground.

Over the years, the firefighters, holiday park regulars and Himatangi Beach surf lifesavers who have taken part in it have become experts, Mr Salter said.

"It requires a bit of perseverance but teams over the years have picked up technique.

"It's a bit more complicated than it looks because it's a round soft ball, so as soon as you put a hose on it you have no idea where it's going to go.

"Often the key is keeping kinks out of the hose as you move."

A kids and teens competition preceding the main event was extremely popular - "they just love playing with a firefighter's hose".

Water came from the creek next to the park via a pump so there was no chance it would run out.

As the day went on the pitch became a tad waterlogged, much to the joy of the visibly-soaked linesmen for the day, Hayden Dear and Brydon Broadley.

"It's a pretty tough job out there but I love it," Mr Broadley said.

The final was played between the Bacon Boys and Himatangi Beach Holiday Park Happy Campers 2, who this year brought in a manager to exhalt the referee. It didn't work, though, with the Bacon Boys taking out the title.

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- Manawatu Standard

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