After a week of lovely weather and nice swells, the two best surfers in Aotearoa have been crowned National Champions. Piha served up a solid 2 metre swell for the final day in typical Piha fashion and Billy Stairmand celebrated his fourth national title which pulls him level to Maz Quinn, who placed second in the final. Stairmand was one of, if not the favourite heading in to the week after falling short of what fellow kiwi Ricardo Christie was able to achieve and will take the belt back to Raglan.
For the ladies, it was young Gabriela Samson who took the title after opting to target a few smaller waves.
The ASB Premiership saw the battle of Welly take centre stage as Team Wellington and the Wellington Phoenix went to war for the right to be named the coolest cat in the neighbourhood. She was a cracker as well with Team Welly coming away with the bickies thanks to a slick free kick from Alex Feneridis to give them a 4-3 win. Earlier the game had gone back and forth with Team Welly reduced to 10 men after Cole Peverley got his second yellow.
The win sees Team Wellington sit at the top of the table two points ahead of Auckland City who dispatched of Hawkes Bay United 3-0. WaiBOP also had an exciting win over Canterbury United with Fergus Neil slotting a 90th minute winner for WaiBOP to seal a 4-3 win. Waitakere United couldn't stop Wanderers SC either with the Wanderers too good for the Aucklanders 2-0. All that sees the middle of the table pretty damn congested with the Wellington Phoenix in third spot on 12 points and the Wanderers in eighth spot on 10 points. Definitely reason to stay tuned.
We started the weekend with the Warriors targeting Trent Merrin but it's also been reported that they are chasing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. The maths doesn't really add up, but I don't think it has to as this is merely the Warriors making noise during the off season, talking up their chances to snare big names and exciting players. With Merrin, it's been reported that the Warriors made an offer which is cool but with someone like Tuivasa-Sheck, they were more just signalling interest. Expect this to be a rather frequent event as fans and the public apparently need this juicyness to survive.
Maybe the Warriors recruitment plans are made public to distract everyone from the ongoing petty behaviour of two grown ass men, the owners. So dumb, so, so dumb.
What's not dumb is the form of the New Zealand Breakers who continue to reign supreme in the regular season. It doesn't mean much as we can only celebrate when they're performing in the finals, but the Breakers have set up shop at the top of the table and will be keen to remain there. A lot of this has to do with the work of Cedric Jackson, who is simply the man. He notched his second triple-double which is enough to make me weak at the knees. Don't take my word for it, the Wildcard will tell you all about the Breakers win over Melboure right, about, here.
It was kind of weird to see that apparently the Black Caps and emerging kiwi cricketers will now be targets of match fixers. That came thanks to Heath Mills who heads the players associations basically throwing up the exact case of Lou Vincent, targeting the vulnerable etc etc. Cool, I understand why we must be cautious and all, but the more we as kiwis continue to acknowledge the match fixing dramas, the more we become synonymous with match fixing. The only thing about Aotearoa cricket on the BBC was about Mills' comments, which isn't the best thing ya know?
Don't sweep it under the rug and act like it doesn't exist, but we have to know that in no way shape or form was this all common practice. It was a bad apple like Chris Cairns taking advantage of Vincent so let's allow the courts to do their thing with regards to Cairns and move on ... let's allow Vincent to live in peace as well.
It's funny how this has all changed my perception of Cairns though, now I just see a very sleezy, untrustworthy, smug, evil man. Don't you? It must be all the hair product used by a man over 30 years of age.