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IRB Nationals Held at Warrington Beach 29/30th March 2003




Day 1 - It seems we are fated yet once again.  We arrive in Dunedin to the first rain in weeks.  Although numbers were down this year probably due to distance there were teams from United North Piha, Mairangi Bay, Raglan, Kariotahi, Omanu, Papamoa, New Plymouth Old Boys, Fitzroy, Paekakariki, Opunake, Spencer Park, St. Kilda, St Clair, Sumner, Brighton, Kaka Point and of course Andrew Cronin with his substitute East End team.  There was some very close racing particularly between St Clair Opunake and Mairangi Bay.  The Brighton Ladies team performed excellently.  It was good to see the likes of John Freeman and Tiny Lawrence from Spencer Park still out there competing.  Poor Mark Weatherall was getting ragged by Gums (doing the commentary) about his forthcoming nuptuals. Because of the Highlander/Crusader match being played in Dunedin racing finished at 2.30 which was just as well as it was very cold and particularly hard on the patients.  Opunake were leading from Mairangi Bay and St Clair after day 1.


Day 2 dawned and it was slightly warmer but the surf was somewhat bigger. The patients were given a heater in their pen and it was the most popular place on the beach.



 We were now at the stage of running semi finals in the various divisions and the competition was fierce particular in the premier division. The most entertaining races, if that is a correct terms, were those of the “Masters” amongst whose number were Curly Evans, Vaughan Garret, Graham Blanchard, John Freeman, Tiny Lawrence and a few ring-ins.  Dave Hickey when asked why he wasn’t competing pleaded too many other things to look after. 



One had to feel very sorry for Sumner who in three races had engine problems.  There was great frustration and checks on the motors revealed nothing.  They would go out and test them – fine – race them and they stopped.  The mystery was eventually solved when everything had finished.  A small plastic ball the size of a bead plus a spring had come loose in the bulb pump on the fuel line.



Now who would ever have thought to look there – such a small thing caused them to miss out on at least two gold medals.  There’s the rub.



When racing finished the points leaders were Opunake, Mairangi Bay, St Clair and Spencer Park.


It was a great two days and thanks must go to the Warrington Club for providing lots of hot food and drinks and for hosting the VIP lunch on Sunday.


Prize giving was held at the Cock and Bull Pub which was jammed packed.  A presentation was made to Peter Gibbons who is standing down as Carnival Controller – he feels that he has taken things as far as he can and that it needs some new ideas.  However he does not propose to disappear and will always be there to help and he will continue to run the South Island Champs and hopes to be coach or assistant coach of St Kilda SLC.



The medal presentations over the Arancia Cup went to Opunake



The Arancia South Island Cup and BP Trophy to Spencer Park as the top overall club and best South Island Club.


Other Prize Winners

For full results see Surf Life Saving New Zealand Web Site