Wiley cycling coach trained champion sons
Norm Vertongen was a Manawatu cycling identity, whether as a rider, masseur, coach or wily tactician with his international offspring.
He died last week aged 85. A well-known butcher-delicatessen, for 22 years after he retired he was the sign man and odd-job man for son Max's Professionals real estate firm. Originally from Shannon, he lived in Palmerston North most of his life, played senior rugby for College Old Boys and was a prominent track and road rider for Palmerston North and West Coast North Island.
Norm was Max's listening block all his life, coached other cyclists, as well as national champions Max and Lee.
■ There will be a glut of trophies at stake when the Feilding High School and Rathkeale College first XV rugby teams clash at Feilding next Saturday.
The two schools annually play for the Robert Hickland Memorial Cup, dedicated to the memory of the Feilding player who died after playing at Rathkeale in 2008. They play in the Central North Island competition, with the winner taking the Taine Randell Cup.
■ The Massey Rams rugby team got in on the party for the Eketahuna Rugby Club's 125th anniversary at the weekend.
Wairarapa-Bush club matches were suspended for the weekend, so the Eketahuna senior team invited the Rams over for a friendly to mark the occasion.The 125th jubilee had more than 300 people attend. Eketahuna colts played Linton Army and the women, who also play in the Manawatu competition, played Wellington's Old Boys-University.
■ Manawatu Jets basketball compere Chris Burn found a new way to psych out opponents on Friday night.
With the Jets hosting the Super City Rangers at Arena Manawatu, instead of booing and making a racket, Burnzee got the crowd to be silent while Duane Bailey was taking his free throws. The odd silence put him off, and he missed both of them.
■ Having two Tongan players in the Feilding High School first XV rugby side is proving valuable.
They encountered three Tongans in the Gisborne Boys' High School first XV on Saturday and not only knew what they were saying, but were yapping back at them when necessary. Feilding beat Gisborne for the first time.
■ Palmerston North's Mike McRedmond can officially claim to be the best cycling coach in the country.
At last week's Bike NZ annual meeting, McRedmond was named coach of the year for road and track. He is coach of Olympic medallists Jesse Sergent and Simon van Velthooven and puts huge effort into Manawatu top juniors, including Kate and Campbell Stewart, Michaela Drummond, Chris Denholm, Carne Groube and Libby Arbuckle.