Nelson Leader : February 7th 2013
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SPORTS BRIEFS Orienteering starts at Stoke The Nelson Orienteering Club's summer series starts this week with the first race at Isel Park in Stoke on Thursday. Competitors can start from 5.30pm until 6.30pm. Race two in the series will be held at Founders Park in Nelson next Monday, start 5.30pm to 6.30pm. Entry is $5. Swim at Ironman distance Race three of the Clements Endurance Sea Swim series will be held over the Ironman distance of 3.8 kilometres this Sunday starting at Tahunanui Beach 10.15am. Competitors in the short-course option will swim 1300m from the Richardson St steps straight back to Tahunanui Beach, starting 30 minutes after the 3.8km race. Entry is $15. Team triathlon Entries are open for the Nelson Mail Team Triathlon Challenge to be held around Port Nelson's marina on Akersten St on March 2. The three-person teams event will be run in mates, business, school and walkers categories. Entries are limited to 120 teams. For more information see teamtri.co.nz Travelling the world with a croquet mallet Nice work if you can get it: Manager of the New Zealand croquet team Jarrod Coutts at the Nelson Hinemoa Croquet Club, where the trans-Tasman test is being held. Photo: MARION VAN DIJK By PHIL BARNES While most university students spend the summer struggling to find casual jobs to help pay their way through next year's courses, 21-year-old New Zealand junior represen- tative croquet player Jarrod Coutts has spent the last three months travelling around New Zealand and even going overseas to coach, manage or compete in tournaments. In November he was invited to South Africa to manage the eight-nation Golf Croquet Teams World Championships in Johannesburg. This week he is managing the New Zealand team in their test against Aust- ralia at the Nelson-Hinemoa croquet courts. Jarrod, who is originally from Stoke and who plays for the Richmond Croquet Club, started playing croquet when he was just 12. I was introduced to it by Neil Seagar, who was a teacher when I was at Broadgreen Intermediate.'' Jarrod said it wasn't long before he was hooked on the game. By the time he was 15 he was part of the New Zealand under-23 squad. He eventually had to choose whether to take up softball or croquet as his main sport. The fact the New Zealand junior squad played a test against international oppo- sition each year and he had the chance to play in overseas tournaments made him choose croquet. I got to play in the under-21 world championships in Egypt [where he won the plate competition] when I was 17, and then in England when I was 19 [where he made the last 16]. But to do that it meant I had to pretty much prac- tise fulltime.'' However, this winter Jarrod decided to take up rugby league in the croquet off season. I usually play half back or stand off but like to play anywhere in the backs.'' Playing such a physical sport was hardly helpful for his croquet career, as he finished the season with a dislocated knee. He said it was quite a novelty for his clubmates to have a croquet-playing league player'' in their team. But the boys came down to the croquet court, had a hit and enjoyed it.'' Jarrod is in his final year at the Uni- versity of Canterbury, where he is training to be a physical education teacher. In a strange twist of fate, New Zealand and world No 1 croquet player Jenny Clarke, who is playing for New Zea- land in this week's test, is one of his lecturers at university. So this week I'm in charge of her instead of her being in charge of me,'' he laughed. Jarrod got involved with coa- ching two years ago when he volunteered to coach around the South Island as a way of helping to pay for an upcoming overseas tournament. Last year he was employed by Croquet New Zealand and coached around the country and this summer he has been working with former Nelsonian and Croquet NZ sports devel- opment officer Greg Bryant and again been coaching all around New Zealand. In between his coaching com- mitments he has either been competing himself or manag- ing tournaments. Jarrod is currently the No 3 ranked under-23 player in the country but said his ambition was eventually to represent New Zealand at senior level. I play about 10 hours a week, although that increases to 15 to 20 hours before an international tournament.'' But next year he plans to play back-to-back seasons in the southern and northern hemispheres. I'll head to the United Kingdom and play the English season and then I could do some relief teaching as backup work.'' This week's test continues until Saturday and spectators are welcome. Australia are the current holders of the shield and we are keen to steal it back.''
February 14th 2013