Trio push hard for Northern

By Cameron Leslie

Relentless competition is what they wanted and relentless competition is what they got.

However, the Surf Life Saving Northern Region team struggled to find the fight of their Australian counterparts at Waipu Cove yesterday, despite having three Northlanders in their team.

The Northern Region team included Cole Drinnan, Hannah Williams and Dylan French, all of whom now compete for Auckland-based clubs, and who helped Northern start the day strongly in perfect racing conditions yesterday.

Northern Region coach Simone Spencer said Northern started strongly in the beach events but stumbled a few hours later with the water-based events to end up third, behind New South Wales and Central Coast in first and second respectively.

Spencer said it was hard to pinpoint if the talented trio had risen above the rest but admitted they put in the hard yards.

"They all competed really well," said Spencer. "Because it's accumulated points, it's hard to identify in the events how individuals went because it's often a combined effort. They all competed well and gave it their all, as expected, though.

"There were some really strong performances from some of the athletes, [but] there are some areas we need to improve on. The Australians always come over here wanting to give it heaps and they're really tough competitors. For our guys, it's often a really good learning experience because they don't get that relentless experience all the time, which is common in Australia."

Spencer applauded the turnout of supporters, estimating about 100 people lined Waipu Cove to watch the tri-series. She said all of the Northern team would be wanting to improve and she hopes to see athletes learning new tricks and applying them competition.

The tri-series resumes in Omaha on Monday, when the Northern team will have a chance to turn yesterday's form around.

Spencer said French, who is from Whangarei and first competed for Ruakaka but now is with Red Beach, had been involved with Auckland and Northern Region for a number of years and was part of the team which went to Australia last year to compete in the same tri-series.

Northern Region representative team: Open men: Dylan French (Red Beach), Jared Pouwhare (Red Beach), Andrew Saunders (Orewa). Open women: Rachel Clarke (Orewa), Kirsty Wannan (Piha), Danielle McKenzie (Mairangi Bay). Under-19 men: Sean Newcombe (Piha), Adam Parker (Orewa), Matt Thetford (Red Beach). Under-19 women: Nicole Rosewarne (Orewa), Emily Hodges (Piha), Lauren Bailey (Red Beach). Under-16 men: Jake Hurley (Red Beach), Ben Parker (Orewa), Cole Drinnan (Red Beach). Under-16 women: Hannah Williams (Red Beach), Kelsi Boocock (Red Beach), Kelsey Lewis (Orewa). Manager: Steve Vaughan (Mairangi Bay). Assistant manager: Dave Shanks (Orewa). Coach: Simone Spencer (Mairangi Bay). Assistant coach: David Butt (Muriwai).

- Northern Advocate

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