Home' Greymouth Star : January 8th 2014 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
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e sky is the limit for seemingly
ageless and unstoppable Serena
Williams, tennis great Martina
Navratilova expects Williams to
equal her total of 18 grand slam
singles titles at the Australian Open
this month, and then eclipse Steffi
Graf s all-time record of 22 slams.
"If she can stay healthy there is no
doubt she can go into the 20s, the
sky is the limit," Navratilova said
Navratilova said she was in awe
of the consistent excellence of
32-year-old Williams, who lost just
four of 82 singles matches last year.
"I know how hard it is once
you get to 30, all those little
niggling injuries get worse and it s
much easier to have an off day,"
"Yet she seems to be playing her
best tennis right now."
Navratilova, a headline attraction
of the exhibition World Tennis
Challenge starting tonight in
Adelaide, said Williams showed no
sign of decline.
"At age 30,
she had played
about half the
I had played at 30,
so she is fresh in
tennis terms," she
"But still, she is
in her 30s ... she is
eager and winning
is very contagious
--- once you get
really used to it,
you don t want to
let go of it."
No 1 Tracy Austin,
also in Adelaide
for the World
appeared motivated by surpassing
Graf s mark.
"I love the fact that she s 32 years
old and still seems to be as hungry,
if not hungrier, than she has ever
been," Austin said.
"At 32, and realising that she
is towards possibly the end of
her career, she is now playing for
history. Serena likes to be the best
at everything and I think she wants
to be the greatest player of all time
on the women s side." --- AAP
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
e Buller-West Coast
Christmas harness racing circuit
marked a 50-year milestone
for members of a Christchurch
Bernie, Michael and Marilyn
Stratford have attended the
Westport and Reefton trots for
the past four decades, and even
have a permanent booking each
year at the Reefton Motor Camp.
What started off as a one-off
holiday for the trio has continued
as an annual event, to the extent
they now class themselves as part
of the Reefton community .
Marilyn Stratford said her father
(Bernie) also helped out at the
Reefton Trotting Club meeting
and they had all made lifelong
friends in the township.
"Dad was the official timekeeper
for the Reefton Trotting Club for
many years. Albert Topp, Greg
Topp s father, introduced dad to
timekeeping. e first meeting he
went to was in 1961, and he was
timekeeping up to 2007, but all
three of us have never missed a
meeting over the past 50 years."
Mr Stratford said they always
stayed at the same camping
ground and would not have it any
"We came here all those years
ago in our campervan, and
Reefton was somewhere that
suited us for Christmas. We love
the Coast, love the bush, the races
and the goldpanning, but above
all we love the people of the West
Coast. Everyone knows us here
(in Reefton) and over the years as
a Canterbury carpet layer I picked
up a lot of work around Reefton,
just from word of mouth."
PICTURE: Paul McBride
A family affair --- Michael, left, Marilyn and Bernie Stratford, 50 years on the trot relaxing at the
Reefton harness meeting on December 30.
50 years of Reefton races
of the New Zealand Herald
Fifth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber
needed to draw on all his 10 years of
experience playing in Auckland s unique
Stanley Street venue to get past his
first round Heineken Open opponent
e German sur vived a tough three-set
battle against impressive young Spaniard
Pablo Carreno Busta to set up a second-
round match-up against Argentine
Horacio Zeballos today.
Kohlschreiber made his first
appearance in Auckland in 2004,
reaching the quarter-finals or better
in eight of his nine previous visits, and
has come to learn the quirks of the
venue over that time. It was that inside
knowledge that helped him through
a tight third set against the Carreno
Busta, who was a big mover in the ATP
rankings last year.
"I think maybe I m a little more
experienced, I had the slice that I pulled
out a lot. With the wind the slice is not
that fast but it s changing it s direction
quite a lot because of the wind,"
e value of a well-executed slice was
a lesson the world No 22 said he learnt
the hard way, when he was beaten in
the 2012 semi-finals by Belgian Olivier
Rochus, who employed the shot to good
effect in windy conditions.
"I guess that s where 10 years in
Auckland helps you," he said.
Kohlschreiber took advantage of a
ner vous start from his young opponent
to quickly wrap up the first set 6-2. But
Carreno Busta, who was voted the most
improved player on the ATP tour last
year, having climbed 650 positions from
715 to 65 in 2013, fought back strongly
in the second, playing some impressive
forehand volleys to take it to a decider.
After Kohlschreiber s tough centre
court battle, sixth seeded Frenchman
Benoit Paire by contrast had a more
straight forward first-up encounter,
blitzing Poland s Michal Przysiezny 6-4,
6-2 in 49 minutes.
e only seed to fall in the opening
round was Robin Haase of the
Netherlands, who went down to Spain s
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in a thrilling
match that went to a third set tiebreak.
Rubin Statham s appearance in the
main draw of the singles lasted just over
an hour, with the New Zealand No 1
easily accounted for by Slovakian Lukas
Lacko 6-3, 6-1.
e world No 93, playing in Auckland
for the second time, played patient
tennis working Statham around the
court waiting for his opponent to make
errors, which invariably came.
Despite the comprehensive defeat ---
his third first round exit at the Heineken
Open in four appearances --- Statham
said he has not lost hope that he has the
ability to compete at this level.
"I have beaten many top 100 players
so it s not a job I haven t done before. I
created opportunities. I think it s more a
mental thing, to be more relentless when
I have those opportunities. I still need to
develop my game to play consistently at
that level throughout the year," he said.
Statham could not make the most
of those opportunities in the doubles
either, with he and partner Michael
Venus falling in the first round to Great
Britain s Jamie Murray and Australian
John Peers later in the day. --- APNZ
of the New Zealand Herald
As clutch games go, today s contest
at Eden Park s outer oval takes some
e HRV Cup has developed into a
cracking race with five teams out of six
in the frame for the final as they turn
for home. e five are covered by four
points with seven games left.
In Dunedin today, leaders Wellington
or second-placed Otago can all but
secure, at the least, a place in the 2nd v
3rd play-off on January 17. At the same
time, one of Auckland or ND could do
themselves serious damage if they lose
at Eden Park today. It is that tight, and
all the better as a competition for that.
Both have three games left ---
including a return clash at Seddon Park
on Friday --- and would need to win
the lot to be a chance to qualify top and
advance directly to the final in Hamilton
on January 18. ey will surely need to
win two to make the play-off.
Auckland welcome back Colin Munro
from the ODI squad. He was clearly the
batting back-up and on that basis far
better off playing cricket than carrying
ND benefit from the return of
Australian batsman Dan Harris. He
made a strong early showing --- 169
runs at 42.25 and a strike rate of 144
from four games --- before returning
to the Big Bash League, where he was
immediately sidelined by injury.
ND began with a roar but missed
out chasing moderate targets against
Canterbury at Wellington at Mt
Maunganui last week, which may yet
Auckland have the best differential of
the five contenders --- 0.587. ey also
have one other potential ace up their
sleeve should the top three come down
to the final match as seems highly likely.
ey are hosting it, against winless
Central Districts next Tuesday.
Canterbury s hopes were hurt
when their game against CD in New
Plymouth yesterday was washed out,
meaning a split of the points. However,
they are still alive. --- APNZ
Ross Hutchins talks about it like it was
an inconvenience rather than something
that could have killed him.
A little over 12 months ago the
28-year-old was diagnosed with
Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer,
and undertook his first chemotherapy
session at about the same time as regular
doubles partner Colin Fleming was
winning the doubles title at the 2013
ere was no doubt in Hutchins mind
he would beat the disease, which is why
he describes 2013 as a "year of different
experiences, of trying to have different
goals in life". What had started as back
pain about 18 months previously, turned
out to be something more sinister but he
wasn t about to let it dictate terms.
He raised 340,000 for Rally Against
Cancer, with the money going to the
Royal Mardsen hospital where he was
treated. e aim had been 100,000 but
best friend and world No 4 Andy Murray
nearly matched that when he donated
his 73,000 prizemoney from the Aegon
Championships to the charity.
Hutchins had other "projects" last year
with a fashion label, media work and
coaching and scouting for British tennis.
Oh, and battling cancer.
" ere were a lot of things that I did
that I really put my heart and soul into,
as well as trying to get healthy," he said.
"It was just different things I had never
experienced before and something I
looked for ward to, to achieve. I didn t
allow myself to think (about my own
mortality). I m not stupid and know
the reality of what cancer can do to you
but I surrounded myself with people
who would be positive and knew my
ambitions to get healthy."
He was given the all-clear in July and
set about getting himself in shape to
return to the tour in 2014. As it turned
out, his first match back was on January
1, meaning he was able to draw a line
Hutchins and Fleming won the first
set of last week s match at the Brisbane
International against Jeremy Chardy and
Grigor Dimitrov 6-0 but were eventually
beaten in a third-set tiebreaker. At times
it felt like they had never been away and
their goal of returning to the top-10 of
the doubles world would happen sooner
rather than later.
"It was very enjoyable," Hutchins said.
"I loved it --- the warm-ups, getting
ready and the feeling of being back
together. e level of tennis we played
was high. We won the first set 6-0 and it
was great fun. I didn t get too high with
emotion and too down when we lost. It
was the first week of the year. I loved
every second of it and can t wait to go
out there again this week."
ey received a wildcard entry to this
week s Heineken Open and today will
take on German combination Andre
Begemann and Martin Emmrich.
Fleming enjoyed one of his best
seasons on tour last year, winning two
tournaments and playing in three other
finals, including the Masters 1000 event
in Canada with Andy Murray, and rose
to No 17 in the doubles rankings.
ere was no question, however, of
reuniting with Hutchins.
When the pair teamed up at the end of
2010, they made a pledge to play the rest
of their careers together if they could.
Like Hutchins, Fleming looks back
on 2013 as an unplanned break from
playing with his regular partner.
"A lot of things happen in life that put
things in perspective," Fleming said.
"In the big picture, it makes it easier to
handle ups and downs but we are still
driven to succeed." --- APNZ
Sydney Roosters superstar Sonny
Bill Williams is set to play in the
NRL Auckland Nines next month,
in a huge boost to the fledgling
Just five days after rugby league
great Brad Fittler announced he
was coming out of retirement to
compete in the inaugural edition
of the two-day event, the former
Kangaroos skipper said he was
anticipating lining up beside dual
e inclusion of Williams in
the Roosters side for the Nines
would dramatically increase the
tournament s profile given the
former Rugby World Cup winner s
In an interview with the Big
Sports Breakfast yesterday Fittler,
41, said he would be looking to
Williams to compensate for his
own defensive frailties.
"He ll be defending on my side,"
Fittler said. "I ve lined up a young
kid Dylan Napa for the other side
... run at me at your own peril."
With Williams eyeing off a spot
in the New Zealand side at the
2016 Olympics in Rio, where rugby
union sevens will make its Games
debut, the nine-a-side rugby league
tournament could provide valuable
experience for the two-time NRL
Williams inclusion would also
indicate the Roosters serious
intention to add the Nines trophy
to their 2013 NRL premiership and
possibly the World Club Challenge
e match against Super League
champions Wigan will be played at
Allianz Stadium the weekend after
the Auckland Nines.
Fittler s return from retirement
has already increased interest in
the tournament to be held at Eden
Park on February 15-16.
e former Roosters skipper is
expecting a tough time upon his
return to rugby league.
"I m expecting to get hurt, it s just
the level of hurt," Fittler said.
Williams will return to Roosters
training on Monday with the
majority of the club s World Cup
stars. --- AAP
Serena Williams ser ves as her coach Patrick
Mouratoglou looks on during a practice session
ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Five sides in race to cup final
PICTURE: Getty Images
Philipp Kohlschreiber plays a forehand in his first round match against Pablo Carreno Busta in day two of the Heineken
Open at the ASB Tennis Centre, in Auckland yesterday.
Sonny Bill set for Auckland Nines
way into next round
Cancer just another project for Hutchins
PICTURE: NZ Herald
Ross Hutchins, left, and Colin Fleming made a pledge in 2010 to play the rest
of their careers together if they could.
Less than a year after Penrith
released Michael Jennings to the
Sydney Roosters, the Panthers have
found someone capable of filling
the superstar centre s shoes ---
In a shock move, Idris joined the
Panthers from the Gold Coast
yesterday for the next three NRL
It is a swap for fellow centre
Brad Tighe, who has moved to the
Titans on a two-year deal.
Idris, who was released by the
Titans on compassionate grounds
to be closer to his sick mother, joins
Jamie Soward, Elijah Taylor, Brent
Kite and Peter Wallace as high-
profile off-season recruits at the
foot of the mountains.
In a statement released by the
Panthers, Gould could hardly
contain his excitement at the
signing of Idris.
"It is a major coup to recruit a
player of such a high profile and
tremendous ability," Gould said.
"Jamal will be a wonderful
acquisition for Penrith, both on and
off the field."
Idris will join New Zealand test
representative Dean Whare in an
impressive centre pairing for the
Panthers this year.
But Idris departure leaves the
Titans depth in the centres in
question and his switch with Tighe
was unlikely a straight swap.
"I m not aware of their
circumstances but they probably
had to make a little bit of room
(in the salary cap) to fit Jamal in,"
Titans coach John Cartwright told
reporters on the Gold Coast.
Idris joined the Titans on a big
money five-year deal in 2012 but
made just 35 appearances in two
years with his 2013 campaign
coming to a premature end after he
broke his leg in round 16.
e 23-year-old had last year
begun to show glimpses of the form
that saw him break into the NSW
and Australia teams in 2010 and
2011, and earned him a recall to
representative football with NSW
Country last season.
Titans chief executive Graham
Annesley denied suggestions Idris
departure was linked to reports
some of the club s players were not
being paid their promised third
Former Panthers premiership
winner Cartwright gave an
indication of what the Titans
will be missing this year, and the
Panthers gaining, when he paid a
farewell tribute to his former player.
"He is a tremendous player and at
his best he is as good as anyone in
the game," Cartwright said.
Idris will join Penrith for pre-
season training next week. --- AAP
Idris joins Penrith Panthers
Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett
says the NRL club has a duty of care
towards Russell Packer and his family
after the new recruit was sentenced to
two years in jail for assault on Monday.
e former Warriors prop moved to
Newcastle ahead of the 2014 season
after signing a three-year deal with the
Knights but his future is now very much
up in the air.
In a statement released last night,
Bennett stressed Newcastle did not
condone Packer s behaviour but that the
club had an obligation to look after the
24-year-old and his family.
"Russell arrived in Newcastle prior to
the official start of pre-season, didn t
attend a formal training session or a
function and hasn t played a game for
our club," Bennett said.
"Russell acted independent of the club,
our players, our staff, on the night of the
"Russell has acted inappropriately, no
one is arguing that fact, however we as a
club still believe we have a duty of care
to Russell and his family.
"Once the legal process is concluded,
we will make a decision and discuss
that with Russell before making it
Packer s legal team have launched
an appeal against his sentence after he
pleaded guilty to assault occasioning
actual bodily harm and failing to leave
e appeal will be heard on
Knights have to look after Packer, says Bennett
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