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Nuggety netballers to tour

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 11:34 26/09/2013
Southland Times photo
Jo McKenzie-McLean/FAIRFAX NZ
World class netballers and fundraisers, from left, rear, Andy Murdoch, Barbara Milard, Linda Chamberlain, Evelyn Bisset, and at front, Dot Cooper, Brenda Crawford and Helen Scoles.

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If a group of Cromwell women are as determined and disciplined on the netball court as they are at fundraising they will make formidable opponents in a world tournament in the United States.

The women, aged between 54 and 76, have spent the past two years fundraising to get to the Golden Oldies World Netball Festival in the United States next month, doing everything from picking up stones off land for developers and packing roof tiles for storage to catering for social functions and picking fruit.

The money raised will help get the Golden Oldies netball team, 'XSNRG', to San Diego where they will compete against 60 teams from New Zealand and the world.

Team manager Brenda Crawford said fundraising was not new for the team which has been attending the festival for 26 years.

Helen Scoles said when the women were ''a bit younger'' a major fundraising drive had been feeding the riders on the Goldfields Cavalcade.

''We would be cooking for over 120 people three times a day with a three-course tea. You would do your day's cooking then pack it all up and drive to the next stop. This went on for nine days. It was a lot of effort but we saw some amazing countryside and saw places we would never had otherwise seen.''

The cavalcade experience saw the women sleeping in killing sheds, falling off horses - and once appearing on television with the Topp Twins.

In 1987, the women started manning the museum - 364 days a year from 10am to 4pm in return for the donations received from visitors.

Four years later, the women decided the town needed an information centre which opened in the adjoining building.

For 15 years the women manned and cleaned the museum and information centre, taking bookings for buses, accommodation and tours, as well as general promotion of the area.

Mrs Crawford said since its inception the team had evolved - new players have arrived and fundraising ventures have changed - but their game plan remained the same: ''have enough people who can play and take the court and not get injured!''

''There is a perception it is a glorified holiday but it's not. We are actually representing the town and playing three days of netball, three games a day - and at our age that's getting up there!''

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- The Mirror

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