Clancy putting energy into Volts

Otago strength and conditioning coach Blaine Clancy and his dog Maley have teamed up to help get...
Otago strength and conditioning coach Blaine Clancy and his dog Maley have teamed up to help get the Volts into top shape. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Blaine Clancy’s job is to get the Volts into the best shape he can and he has drafted in some help from a different species.

The Otago strength and conditioning coach recently adopted a pet. Maley is a gorgeous Labrador Shar-Pei cross who spent a good part of Wednesday lounging on the couch in the players’ area watching the Volts record a comfortable 62-run win against Canterbury.

She has quickly become the unofficial mascot at home games and is pretty handy at chasing balls down — but there is no talk of slotting her in the slips just yet.

Actually, the Volts do not need any help in that department this season. One of the team’s strengths has been its fielding.

The catching behind the wicket has been outstanding and the work in the outfield cannot be faulted as well.

That is where Clancy comes in. The Northern Irishman has got the team in good shape since taking over the role in August last year. And that conditioning is paying off in the field.But there have been challenges. He is used to working with players who are contracted for 12 months of the year.

"The challenge is during the winter period to get the players to buy into the training processes while they have work or study commitments," he said.

"That is where your people skills come in," the affable 31-year-old said.

If you look closely, he is well matched with Maley, who appears to have the same easy smile which she produced on cue for the Otago Daily Times photographer.

Clancy hails from Limavady, a market town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. He has a master’s degree in sports and exercise biomechanics and various other qualifications.

But his real education started at Yorkshire County Cricket Club. He worked as an intern at the club and ended up securing a fulltime role and was there four years.

But he was working in Hong Kong when he spotted the Volts’ job advertised online and thought ‘why not?’.

"It was something I fancied doing and somewhere I fancied living, so I put my name in the hat and it came through," he said.

Clancy was pleased with the overall fitness of the squad.

"They are going well. I think you’ve seen from our last few fielding performances that they are ready to go.

"We’ve performed quite well in the field and I think that is the measure of a truly fit team.

"We’ve been quite fast to the ball and we’ve been competing for the whole 50 overs. I think there is more to come on that front."

Hot tip: all-rounder Nathan Smith is the quickest of the bunch over a short distance. Seamer Christi Viljoen would win a 5km race, while Neil Broom can bench more than anyone else in the team.

But each athlete is working on something different.

"They are all different heights, different sizes, different playing positions and have different previous injury histories.

"And they all have different strengths and weaknesses, so all the programmes are moulded differently to the guys."

Otago has an important game against competition leader Wellington at the University of Otago Oval today. Co-captain and off-spinner Mark Craig has been ruled out with a back complaint. Veteran top order batsman Brad Wilson joins the 13, while Wellington has stuck with the same side which overpowered Auckland by 120 runs earlier this week.

Former international Hamish Bennett shapes as the main threat with the ball for the visitor, while Devon Conway and Andrew Fletcher have been in fine form with the bat.

Keep an eye out for former Otago players Michael Bracewell and Jimmy Neesham as well. They have both been hitting the ball well this season.


Ford Trophy
Dunedin, today, 11am

Otago: Hamish Rutherford (co-captain), Mitch Renwick, Neil Broom, Shawn Hicks, Anaru Kitchen, Josh Finnie, Michael Rippon, Nathan Smith, Mark Craig, Jacob Duffy (co-captain), Matthew Bacon, Warren Barnes, Brad Wilson.

Wellington: Andrew Fletcher, Malcolm Nofal, Devon Conway, Michael Bracewell, Jimmy Neesham, Jakob Bhula, Peter Younghusband, Lauchie Johns, Ollie Newton, Iain McPeake, Hamish Bennett (captain), Ben Sears.

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