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The upsets and unpredictability (ask Murray Collie?) just keep on happening. This comp is harder to pick than an 18-horse maiden field in the mud at Riverton midweek! The Speight's Challenge Shield stays at the Toolbox after Harbour gave up a 10-point lead with only seven minutes to go, and the GI boys squeaked home with a draw to stay at the top of the table. Varsity comfortably got the five points over Zingers to maintain third spot. Southern put its first win on the board as Taieri crashed to a second consecutive loss — what’s going on at the Elver Pit? The Sharks also finally put a “W” in the column with a bonus point win over AU to divest themselves of the dreaded spoon.
The Ainge Shield
I promised I’d deliver you the history of this revered trophy, so strap yourselves in and thanks to Patearoa’s finest Jim Sullivan. Bert (John Albert) Ainge was the son of Joseph Ainge who owned the Grand Hotel (now the Southern Cross) for many years.
Bert was a medical student but left to take over the hotel when his father died. He was later a wine and spirit merchant and a great supporter of numerous sports. He donated the Charity Cap for club rugby in 1923 which led to an annual game with proceeds going to a charity. He was a great racing man (good work!) and his horse Pink Note won the Dunedin Cup in 1928. Ill health and business worries led him to take his own life in St Clair in 1932. He was described as “the kindest heartiest man it was possible to meet”. Thus it’s fitting the Ainge Shield is still with us.
It is now presented annually to the best performing premier club in Dunedin. The CRC relaxed the rules on it this week. All Premier clubs who have four teams or more are now eligible to receive it; it was previously five. I’ll keep you apprised of how the clubs are faring and when the trophy is presented.
The Movers and Shakers
The Town’s elite Master Builder Sneds who supports most clubs in town, Jimmy Columb Junior, Dunedin’s best real estate agent and part-time AU supporter, Mike (Elon) Kerr, part-time Eels supporter, and Joey Wheeler, entertainer to the stars, arrived back from a Highlanders junket last Saturday morning and decided to go to duck shooting up the Maniototo. With no obvious means of transport “well-heeled” Sneds bought a helicopter, amazingly which came with a pilot, and they proceeded to Manitoto. What they failed to understand as they perused mai mais looking for the best one to join the action at was that they scared all the ducks out to sea. Needless to say when they arrived at the Waipiata pub for the after-match they were as popular as Spannerhead supporters at the Elver Pit! Luckily “Sneds” the munificent made a speech reminiscent of the “Gettysburgh Address” and saved the day, and he’s picked 8 or 10 house builds up that way.
Down on the Farm
The big games this weekend are both in the South, with the two unbeaten teams going at it at the Market Garden in West Taieri and Centenarians Clutha Valley. The heart says this is Clutha Valley PTA’s year but I’ve picked the Pigs to go unbeaten, so the Pigs it is. In a clash of the Titans at the other end of the table, grappling for the wooden spoon and with both yet to win, Roxburgh and Clinton is nearly too close to call — a draw would be a fair result and half the spoon each.
Down the Grades
In junior colts Upper Clutha are destroying all before them and are bolting away with the comp. Surely they can’t win, what are you town clubs doing? In Prem Colts the Makos’ dreams are being shattered. The two-time defending champs are a mile off the pace. It is the Mountain Aqua Golds to lose. The Prem 2 grade is looking a sad imitation of what it once was, with some teams struggling for numbers and nary a scrum in sight, but let’s hope it improves. No obvious winner at this stage.
Destroyed Murray Collie last weekend who didn’t trouble the scorers (mate I know the feeling!) and on to Hedge Bezett from GI so the streak stays alive. GI (12-) head to the high veldt to take on the Mountain Aqua Golds and just need to get it done to make the final of the “Jug”. The Magpies (13+) too big, too strong for Zingers at home. Varsity (13+) should have too much firepower for an ailing AU outfit. Harbour should be too strong across the Sandpit for the Sharks (12-) but with God on their side they may get it done.
Thrashed in the Country last week by Lindsay Pratt but will bounce back against Brian Thompson from West Taieri. The Pigs (12-) just over Clutha Valley but nearly too close to call. Heriot (13+) far too strong for Toko. Roxburgh (12-) at home the upset of the round over Clinton — go the orchardists. The Coalminers (13+) crush Owaka like coal dust.
P.S congrats to Tim Medder on getting to 50 last weekend for Harbour — an actual homegrown!