Editorial: Unsung sports prosper
Super Rugby has kicked off, barely days after international cricket has pulled stumps, but it's two other unsung sports that deserve local attention.
The Nelson Marlborough Falcons football team has won the southern conference of the national youth league with two games to spare after beating Wellington in the capital at the weekend.
They will likely play Auckland, hopefully in Nelson, for a shot at being national champions in only their second year.
It's a tremendous effort from a talented group of footballers, coach Davor Tavich and the supporters and backers who convinced New Zealand Football to accept the team into the league last year.
Without the population and the resources of bigger centres, the Falcons have won the southern title without being beaten.
Meanwhile, Nelson rowers have returned with a haul of eight medals, including four gold, from the national rowing championships at Lake Karapiro. That completes a remarkable resurgence for the Nelson Rowing Club that did not get any national medals last year.
Top-quality rowing requires superb technique and a tremendous commitment.
The sport has also surged in the wake of New Zealand's Olympic and world championship successes, so to compete and beat some of the country's top athletes is a testament to the club's talent and coaching.