Fitzherbert seeks return to first-class status

PETER LAMPP AND GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:00 16/12/2013

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Fitzherbert Park surely has to get its status back as a first-class cricket ground for next summer or there will be much wailing and gnashing in Manawatu circles.

The Palmerston North ground stood up to two Central Districts A games during the week, as well as the club semifinal yesterday, and by all accounts, the field, pitch and facilities are more than up to scratch.

It was getting to the stage that Palmerston North, like Whanganui and other small cities, was becoming estranged from Central Districts despite having consistently the strongest representative side based here.

■ Golfer Josh Munn will have generous local backing as his amateur career counts down towards his professional life.

Up to 29 Manawatu Golf Club members have pledged $2000 each to allow arguably NZ's best amateur to extend his international experience. Some say that in the first year as a pro it soaks up $60,000.

■ Former professional polo player Angus McKelvie is off to China in three weeks to represent New Zealand at snow polo.

Yes, they play in the snow on a smaller field than usual, at Tianjin.

McKelvie, son of Rangitikei MP Ian, has returned to the family farm fulltime after playing as a pro for many English summers.

■ It was an expensive day for one motorbike rider at Manfeild yesterday after his transponder wasn't correctly affixed to his bike.

The transponders, which transmit lap times when the bikes run over tapes on the track, are understood to cost up to $830 and if damaged, teams or riders have to pay for them.

There were about 70 of them in use yesterday.

■ With the restructure to the New Zealand netball zones, Manawatu is no longer known as plain old Manawatu.

After the Netball Central Zone New Zealand talent development programme (what a mouthful) was named last week, Manawatu is the lead centre in what is now called Horizons.

Much like the Horizons Regional Council, it incorporates the Manawatu, Whanganui, Taihape, Rangitikei and Dannevirke centres.

■ Central Districts cricketer Tarun Nethula should be back soon ready to rip into it after being absent from the team for the past month.

The now Palmerston North-domiciled leg-spinner was coming back from an ankle injury, but last week he had the more serious matter of welcoming his first child into the world.

■ Cycling bods from the 1970s and early 1980s will remember the name of Leo Montgomery with affection. He died aged 85 last week, but back then as a hotelier he was the big backer of the Family Tavern Tour. At the time it was one of the big three tours in New Zealand and all the top riders flocked to it, including Jack Swart who won it many times; the others were the Dulux Six-Day Cycle Race of the North Island and the Tour of Southland.

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Another loss to Manawatu last week was Maureen Ryan who died aged 86. She had been Palmerston North Golf Club president from 1999 and was renowned for her singing at St Mary's Church.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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