Keeping Manawatu's quiet achievers to the fore

GREEN AS GREEN: Bessie Sanson when visited on her 100th birthday by Turbos players David Te Moana, Reece Robinson and Sean O’Connor.
GREEN AS GREEN: Bessie Sanson when visited on her 100th birthday by Turbos players David Te Moana, Reece Robinson and Sean O’Connor.

Oh well, another Olympic bronze medal and another two All Blacks named from Manawatu.

We tend to become almost blase about it with Jesse Sergeant collecting his second Olympics bronze at London on Saturday.

And Aaron Smith, that veteran of three tests and Aaron Cruden, a veteran of 11, have become certain All Blacks selections.

Cruden has helped Dave Rennie at the previously unfashionable Chiefs to a remarkable Super Rugby title in his first year as coach. Rennie could now name his price. All that went bung in the win over the worn-out Sharks were those chip kicks, which have always been low percentage with the Manawatu Turbos.

■ Palmerston North's Black Sticks hockey striker Nick Wilson hasn't spent all his time at the London Olympics slogging it out on the turf.

Before the Games got under way, the Black Sticks went to Bath to freshen up, had a round of golf with former All Black Stephen Donald and a trip to the Roman baths. Wilson also held the Olympic torch before the opening ceremony. The size of the athletes' village impressed him, including the huge dining hall, which could fit 880 buses - as in vehicles, not shot putters.

■ Manawatu folk heading to the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka next month have discovered they won't need to start saving just yet.

It seems inflation hasn't hit Sri Lanka, with tickets for pool games going for only $1. Super 8 games are $11 and the semifinals are going for a grand total of $7. Ripoff!

■ Old Boys' Cricket Club legend Robbie Laird, a veteran of 25 years of senior club cricket, has surpassed himself again. Also a football player when not opening the batting, he was named the Red Sox club's Singing Idol after much practice at karaoke.

We hear his winning numbers were Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline, Elton's Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues and the theme from Greatest American Hero. Book this man up for your gigs.

■ One of the Manawatu Turbos' greatest fans, Bessie Sanson, has died.

She was 103 and a resident of the Aroha Home, one of many fans who can't get to games. Manawatu Turbos players visited her three years ago and she was an honorary member of the Manawatu Rugby Supporters Club at the time when its premier future was under threat.

■ Former Manawatu rugby team trainer Wayne Taylor was caught up in the maelstrom at the Lions rugby franchise in Johannesburg where he and Carlos Spencer have been sacked and John Mitchell probably will be.

Taylor was an army physical trainer for 14 years at Linton Camp before joining Manawatu from 2002 to 2005, the Black Ferns, NZ Colts, Iranz for six years, the Tasman Makos.

Now he is in partnership with former All Black No 8 Arran Pene in the Speight's Ale House in Hamilton after they met at Iranz at Massey University.

Manawatu Standard