Manawatu get services of unwanted Cruden

It will be of scant consolation to Aaron Cruden but now he's not required to wear the black jersey, he will be able to play for Manawatu in the championship games starting next Saturday.

In the space of eight months he has twice had his All Blacks hopes built up and then dashed, this time despite a fine second half of the Hurricanes season.

Manawatu hadn't expected to see Cruden this year. Now for parochial reasons they will be glad to see him in the No 10 jersey again for their 125th anniversary game against Hawke's Bay. With first-five Isaac Thompson injured and young Aussie Dan Kelly yet to find his goal-kicking boots, the Turbos will need every quality player they can get their hands on.

Sheep and grass clearly don't mix, not if the grass is in the middle of Palmerston North.

We hear sheep-shearing in The Square was to be part of a Rugby World Cup roadshow thing in conjunction with an appearance on TV One's morning show next Friday. But after being pooh-poohed by local government edict, the sheep people decided to forget it.

The sheep were told they couldn't be on the grass because they leave deposits. No, they would have to be put on a tarpaulin or on tarseal. Never mind the flocks of birds and ducks which use the inner city as their daily latrines.

Bay Hawks basketball coach Paul Henare was a new addition to the Arena Manawatu press box to watch the Jets beat the Southland Sharks on Saturday night. The former New Zealand Breakers guard was busy scouting his potential playoff opponent for tomorrow night.

But Southland's loss meant the Sharks will meet the Bay tomorrow, with the winner heading to next weekend's final four in Wellington.

When asked if Henare would pick a winner out of the Jets and Nelson Giants in tomorrow's other playoff game, he sat on the fence.

"I'm not going to pick a winner but it's going to be a helluva game."

When Betty Steffensen asks for something to be done in Manawatu Netball, people should listen.

The legend of the game told us she is sick of nobody doing the score updates in all of the premier games on Tuesday nights and she has been asking people to sort it out for the past three seasons.

It is the teams' responsibility to arrange people to do it, but at least one game a week usually goes without someone on the job. Not only does it make it hard for spectators to follow the game, it must be confusing for the players in a tight clash.

One benefit of sitting inside writing up club rugby on Saturday night was being treated to a free and magnificent flashing pyrotechnic display outside, through the newsroom window.

Manawatu was reportedly hit by 1300 lightning strikes, but just how do they count them? The Palmerston North Marist football team played in Lower Hutt on Saturday surrounded by thunder and lightning which seemed a trifle risky.

The naming of our teams just gets worse. An email from Swimming New Zealand tells us that the State AquaBlacks leave next week for the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in Shanghai. We assume the AquaBlacks are the New Zealand team.

Manawatu Standard