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Feeling relaxed in the New
Zealand environment is starting
to reap rewards for wicketkeeper-
batsman Luke Ronchi.
e adopted Wellingtonian has
smashed two match-winning
knocks in as many games as New
Zealand beat the West Indies 2-0
in their Twenty20 series.
Playing at the Cake Tin last
night, Ronchi s unbeaten 51 from
only 28 balls proved the difference
in game two as New Zealand
claimed a four-wicket win as they
chased down the West Indies total
159-5 with an over to spare.
Ronchi was not a one man band
though as Ross Taylor s patient 39
was important, while a rapid 23
from Jesse Ryder set the tone at the
top before a couple of lusty blows
at the end from Jimmy Neesham
helped the home side along the
After a convincing 81-run win
in the first 20-over encounter in
Auckland on Saturday --- where
Ronchi made 48 not out --- New
Zealand were desperate to close out
the series and the result will have
given them huge confidence with
India on the horizon.
One man who is full of
confidence is the 32-year-old
Ronchi, who has started to deliver
on the hype that surrounded
his well-documented move to
Wellington from Perth in 2012.
Having previously represented
Australia in a handful of one-dayers
and Twenty20s, he qualified to play
for New Zealand given he was born
in Dannevirke and after serving a
four-year stand-down he made his
debut for the Black Caps last year.
e early results were mixed but
given Brendon McCullum no
longer keeps wicket at international
level, the chance for Ronchi to
be New Zealand s first-choice
gloveman in the coloured clothing
is there for the taking.
He said he felt pressure when he
first made the national side, given
the nature of his arrival to New
"It was just me thinking too
much about stuff and that s where I
always get myself in trouble, pretty
much," he said after last night s
But his past two innings have
been exceptional as he transferred
his dynamic domestic form to the
"I m thinking less about stuff I
don t need to worry about and just
being nice and relaxed. For me,
being relaxed is a massive key."
As New Zealand eye a five-match
one-day series against the incoming
Indians, Black Caps skipper
Brendon McCullum will be hoping
Ronchi can continue not to be
overwhelmed when he plays for his
country of birth.
Earlier last night, New Zealand
looked like they may roll over the
West Indies in quick fashion when
they had the tourists on the ropes
at 67-4 in the 11th over after they
had won the toss and chose to bat
first, but Denesh Ramdin made a
vital 55 not out as the West Indies
pushed towards a respectable total.
Nathan McCullum was the best
of the New Zealand bowlers as he
took 1-17 from four overs with his
off-spin, while tearaway fast bowler
Adam Milne notched career-best
numbers of 2-22 as he got through
his work at a rapid clip.
Despite setting New Zealand a
target requiring them to score at
eight runs an over, the home side
always looked in control, despite
a few bumps in the middle of
their chase. en when Ronchi
combined with Taylor the runs
began to flow and eventually it
was the relaxed Ronchi who was at
the crease when Neesham struck
the winning runs as the New
Zealanders claimed victory.
ursday, January 16, 2014
Our Alchemist completed a
successful campaign on the West
Coast New Year racing circuit with
a strong win yesterday in the West
Coast Scrap and Steel Miss Scenicland
Stakes, feature race on the card at the
Westland Racing Club meeting at
e Kevin Myers-trained six-year-
old took out the Greymouth Cup on
the first day of the circuit, finished
a close second in the Kumara Gold
Nuggets on Saturday, and justified the
favourites tag yesterday.
Regular rider David Walsh had Our
Alchemist close to the pace, sitting
one out from Davone Code with rider
Chris Johnson setting terms in front.
Walsh says it was destiny that he
ended up being so handy in the
running as Our Alchemist normally
settles back in her races.
"It was just how the race was run
really, no pace on early and we jumped
pretty good. I started putting the
pressure on at the 600m and she kept
up a nice strong gallop. She was strong
at the finish and won well --- a much
improved mare from last year."
Locally-owned Davone Code fought
hard for second place, while Ishimine
raced handy throughout and battled
well for third.
Our Alchemist is raced by the
Coombe Road Racing syndicate of 18
members and spokesman Tom Trotter
was delighted with the mare s win.
"Very pleased with the win today, and
what a great time we have had down
on the Coast, wonderful people down
" e syndicate is made up of doctors,
accountants, lawyers, farmers, a real
mix and we have had a lot of fun with
the horse as it has taken us all over the
"Kevin (Myers) sent her for the three
races on the circuit, and it doesn t get
much better than two wins and a
close second in the Nuggets," Trotter
Hardy northern galloper Noble
Warrior, aided by a tradesman ride by
senior jockey Chris Johnson, scored
a close win in the middle distance
feature of the afternoon, the Hokitika
With Noble Warrior giving 9kg away
in weight to the tearaway Edenbrae,
Johnson did not spend a penny while
trailing on the Grant Shaw-trained
"Grant (Shaw) didn t say anything,
just left it to me," Johnson said.
" e leader made me chase nearing
the turn and kicked but I started to
get the better of the other horse about
the 50m mark. It was a good effort
carrying 62kg and he probably needed
the Reefton run."
PICTURE: Getty Images
Black Cap Luke Ronchi bats with West Indies keeper Denesh
Ramdin looking on in last night s Twenty20 at Westpac Stadium, in
PICTURE: Getty Images
Tomas Berdych wears an ice towel during a break in his second round match
against Kenny De Schepper at the Australian Open yesterday in Melbourne.
Witnessing the Black Caps win
the Twenty20 series will be a bitter-
sweet memory for one cricket fan.
Ollie Newton, who was at
Wellington s Cake Tin for last
night s match, caught a ball with
one hand that had been hit for six
into the stands by batsman Jesse
Unfortunately for Newton,
being clad in a suit, meant he was
ineligible for the Tui breweries
catch a million competition and had
to forgo $100,000 in prizemoney.
Tui is running the competition
over 12 days of cricket, where
$100,000 is given to the first
registered person, wearing an
orange competition shirt as well
as the required lanyard, who takes
a clean one-handed catch for a ball
hit for six at each game.
Last week, a fan in Hamilton
pocketed $100,000 after grabbing a
one-handed catch from a six hit by
Tournament favourites Novak Djokovic
and Serena Williams raced into the third
round of the Australian Open and out
of the heat yesterday as controversy over
play continuing in scorching temperatures
rumbled on for a second day.
Cloud cover and a gusty wind helped
keep temperatures just below the peak of
42.2degC they reached on Tuesday, when
Canadian Frank Dancevic passed out and
accused organisers of forcing players to play
in "inhumane" conditions.
Ivan Dodig became the 10th player to retire
in the first three days of the tournament,
though, when he was unable to complete
his match against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur
on one of the exposed outer courts at
"Today, 30 minutes after the match I could
not walk," Croatian Dodig told reporters.
" ere were 10 people around me. I was
thinking I could maybe even die here. I
think we deserve that somebody listens to
the voice of the players."
Djokovic needed 107 minutes to take the
second step on the path he hopes will take
him to a fourth successive title by thrashing
Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 on
Rod Laver Arena.
Williams also hot-footed it into the third
round with a one-sided 6-1, 6-2 demolition
of Vesna Dolonc before revealing her
own particular visualisation technique for
"I just pretend I m in Hawaii riding a wave,
that s all I can do," she said after setting
up an encounter with Slovakia s Daniela
Hantuchova who survived a gruelling battle
against Karolina Pliskova, winning 12-10 in
the deciding set.
Djokovic retired from a match against
Andy Roddick in another Melbourne
heatwave five years ago but proved against
Mayer that he is an altogether stronger
player than in 2009.
"You don t want to spend too much time
in the heat. You want to try to win as quick
as possible," the second seed, who next faces
Denis Istomin, told reporters.
"I prepared myself mentally for that. It s
not just physically.
"Mentally you need to be tough enough
to not give up and not think about what
conditions can do to you."
World No 1 Williams was her usual mix
of elegance in her dress and brutality in her
play as she dismissed Dolonc in just over an
hour on the same court.
ough no one could ever doubt the
mental strength of a player who has won
17 grand slam titles, Williams admitted to
a sleepless night worrying about the impact
the heat might have on her bid for a sixth
"I kept waking up in the middle of the
night last night, just paranoid," Williams
"I just wanted to stay hydrated. e
last thing I want to do is to cramp in this
weather. It can happen so easy. I was just
drinking a tremendous amount of water."
Williams has seen off at least a couple
of generations of younger women looking
to knock her off the top of the game and
16-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic is tipped
to be in the vanguard of the next wave.
e qualifier, coached by the mother of
Martina Hingis, started poorly in her match
against Chinese fourth seed Li Na but after
losing the first seven games, rallied to force
the second set into a tiebreak before losing
6-0, 7-6 (5).
Two former grand slam champions who
have dropped out of the top 10, Ana Ivanovic
and Samantha Stosur, had straightfor ward
two-set victories to set up a third round
meeting tomorrow, when temperatures
could hit 44degC.
"I think there s got to be some common
sense," Australian Stosur said. "Because
you don t want it to get dangerous and have
somebody getting hurt because of it."
Seventh seeded Czech Tomas Berdych,
dressed in what looked like a blue and
white striped Argentina soccer shirt was
the first man into the third round when he
hammered Frenchman Kenny De Schepper
6-4, 6-1, 6-3.
Berdych said conditions were the hottest
he had played in and suggested that if the
threshold for stopping matches had not
been reached, it was probably set too high.
France s Richard Gasquet soon joined
Berdych by beating Russian Nikolay
Davydenko 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, 6-4 in match
that featured a candidate for point of the
Davydenko looked to have clinched it
with a no-look underarm shot from behind
the baseline only for ninth seed Gasquet to
hit an outrageous winner over his shoulder
running back into the court away from the
ird seed David Ferrer continued his
progress through a section of the draw
further weakened by the 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6,
6-3 defeat of 14th seed Mikhail Youzhny at
the hands of Florian Mayer yesterday.
Ferrer s unrelenting fighting spirit put him
in good stead in his match over Frenchman
Adrian Mannarino, who won the second set
before wilting in the heat and going down
7-6 (7-2), 5-7, 6-0, 6-3.
World number eight Stan Wawrinka,
playing in the relative cool of the evening
on Margaret Court Arena, also needed four
sets to get past Alejandro Falla 6-3, 6-3, 6-7
(7-4), 6-4. --- Reuters
Junior tennis players
from all over the South
Island will converge on
for the start of the
Top 10 Holiday Park
West Coast Junior Open
About 50 entries have
been received from
and some top play is
expected throughout the
championships, which run
Carol Beirne, for the
organisers, said it was
a great tournament for
players from out of the
district as well as West
Coast players, who gained
plenty of experience from
the different competition.
Greymouth boy Harry
Pugh is expected to
perform well in his grade,
and the three Pearson
sisters from Hokitika
should provide interesting
tennis to watch.
Play starts at 10am
tomorrow at the Grey
United courts, with the
Paroa courts being used as
well over the three days.
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Our Alchemist takes out the $20,000 West Coast Scrap and Steel Miss Scenicland Stakes, from Davone Code and Ishimine.
Our Alchemist completes successful circuit
Fan snares one-handed catch, no prize
Ronchi s relaxed
Searing conditions test tennis stars
Sydney Roosters World
Cup stars, including
Sonny Bill Williams, will
not play in the inaugural
Auckland Nines tourna-
ment next month, coach
Trent Robinson says.
e NRL premiers
fielded more players than
any other club at last
year s World Cup, but,
according to Robinson,
any Tricolours players
who were in the Australia
and New Zealand squads
will not take part in the
Eden Park event.
With the Roosters
priority the World Club
Challenge, a week after
the Nines, Robinson said
his team would not be
able to properly prepare
for the clash with Wigan
if they also played in the
of the New Zealand Herald
e Silver Ferns are finally in a
position where they can consolidate
their midcourt lines in their tests against
Jamaica and England after two years of
uncertainty and experimentation.
Over the past couple of seasons
retirements, pregnancies and injuries
have seen a steady stream of players
rotated in the midcourt, with wing attack
being the most problematic position.
Liana Leota, Grace Rasmussen,
Camilla Lees, Bailey Mes, Anna
ompson, Courtney Tairi, and
Shannon Francois have all been paired
with dynamic centre Laura Langman
since Temepara Bailey retired after the
2011 World Cup. Even Langman has
been used at wing attack, as the selectors
looked to convert athletic defender
Kayla Cullen into a centre.
is month s tour to Britain is the
closest coach Waimarama Taumaunu
has had to a full-strength midcourt line-
up since she took over the reins, with
Lees returning from a foot injury that
ruled her out of the 2013 international
season and her surprise replacement in
the starting side, the Steel s Francois,
snapping the recent midcourt curse by
being available to tour.
With the matches against Jamaica and
England being the Ferns final test hit-
outs before the Commonwealth Games,
Taumaunu is relieved to have some
clarity in the midcourt.
"I m pretty pleased with all the blondies
in the middle, although they re a bit hard
to tell apart when they re on tape now,"
she said. ," ey re all extremely fit and
in great physical condition and we just
need to continue to work on developing
cohesion and understanding in there,
but I m really happy with the mix we ve
After being sidelined since the end of
the 2013 ANZ Championship season,
Lees appreciated the opportunity to
work out a bit of rust and refamiliarise
herself with the different combinations
in this week s two exhibition matches
against Scotland in Glasgow.
e Ferns turned in an untidy
performance against Scotland in their
final warm-up match yesterday as
their attacking rhythm was at times
compromised by the multitude of lineup
changes throughout the match.
After a 54-goal win over Scotland
in their opening exhibition game
on Monday morning, New Zealand
again dominated their hosts but their
performance in the 63-26 victory was
not as polished.
Lees said the goal of the warm-up
games had been to try new things and
push one another and with that came
the risk of making a few more mistakes
than they would like.
"We were probably a bit careless at
times. For me it s been a lot of learning
to get back to where I was in terms of
redeveloping those combinations and
adjusting to the speed of the game," she
"I think I m improving each time I go
to training, but there are still areas where
the execution isn t quite there so that is
something I m hoping will come with a
couple more trainings under my belt."
While the New Zealand side were
uncharacteristically sloppy at times,
Scotland coach Gail Parata did a good
job with her experienced side in the
Ferns chance to test strong midcourt
SBW out of nines
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