Jonathan Milne is a former reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Sideline Champs: Parents and fans report outstanding sportsmanship on Rate my Game

Mums, dads and other fans flocked to file their own match reports on grassroots sports around New Zealand this weekend.

Supporters filed their reports to the new interactive Rate my Game site - and the reports were overwhelmingly positive in a celebration of heartland sport.

Reporting on Saturday's Aorere College versus Mt Roskill Grammar Ist XV game, Stephanie Lewis wrote: "Taking on Mt. Roskill Grammar looked to be a harder task than last week with Mt Roskill stamping their mark with a converted try within the first 2 minutes of the game. The Aorere boys quickly responded to draw the scores level and worked solidly to go to the break up 12-10."

She continued: "Awesome side line support from both sides with plenty of Aorere supporters making the trip across town, all witness to an excellent fast paced game of disciplined rugby.

Aorere Player of the Day this week went to Kisione Moala for another solid performance. Final score 22-10 to Aorere College."

Another Auckland fan reported "a great game between two very evenly matched sides" when St Peters College and Suburbs met on the rugby field.

"The deluge of rain in the morning did not dampen the enthusiasm of the teams as they took to The Cage and proceeded to play with commitment and confidence, in a tight tussle for points. The resulting draw was a fair reflection on the skill level of both teams. Sideline, parents were very supportive of both teams."

Rate my Game is part of a new Herald on Sunday campaign to support good behaviour on the sidelines of sports fields and courts, and to back the work being done in the big winter sports codes - rugby, league, netball, football, hockey and basketball - to combat increasing numbers of "ugly" fans.

The paper has published a Sideline Code, encouraging supporters to cheer loud, cheer fair and cheer proud. You can pledge your support for the code, and to do your bit to help New Zealanders enjoy and excel at their sports.

Ambassadors including injured All Black star Richard Kahui, Silver Fern captain Casey Kopua, league's Manu "The Beast" Vatuvei and World Cup soccer star Ivan Vicelich are all joining the call for sideline supporters to set an example to kids.

And the match reports flooded in yesterday - much like the rain at some parks. At Three Kings football ground, the so-called Torino and Roma teams clashed.
"Rain has cleared just in time for kickoff. Roma dominating the ball, supportive parental involvement," a fan wrote. "Torino fighting back, but Roma score. Cheers from Roma parents, clapping from the Torino sideline. Pattern repeated many times, but Torino keep their heads up. Parents on both sides cheering the goals and encouraging the defenders. Final score: Torino, 0; Roma, stopped counting."

Titirangi Yr 5 Kererus played Kaurilands for netball grading at Te Pai Park, Henderson.
"At an early 8.15am game this morning on the Te Pai Courts, the sun decided to come out and help the Titirangi Kererus convincingly win over Kaurilands 12 - 0," wrote a supporter. "Player of the day went to Tyra, but all players put in 101 per cent, really pulling together as a team."

The news was not so good from Papakura Netball Centre, where one fan reported poor behaviour on court. "The players were about thirteen years old and both teams it seemed were at the top of their section. The winning strategy was to lean on or somehow wriggle or bump the goal post at the crucial moment so that the opposition team's goal bounced off the hoop.

"The first time this happened I thought I had imagined it, and the second time I saw it I was amazed, but by the third time I knew this was the winning strategy taught by the coaches of the opposition, and not noticed by the referees!"

In the Waikato, Cambridge 5th grade football had a busy day yesterday.

"Even though the rain was persistent and the umbrellas were in full force, it didn't stop these avid football fans coming out and giving it their all. Five teams started the day at 9am with some warm up activities; chasing the tail, ghosts and truck and trailers.

There was emotion, both ecstasy and despair, from players and supporters alike as the warm ups got into full flight ... There was drama, competition, and laughs as the footballers showed their skills in game situations. Goals were a scored, dreams were made and the end result was inconsequential.

"Wet and tired, the players gathered for a final pep talk, a word of encouragement and a reminder to return next week for another, hopefully less wet, morning of football goodness. Thank you to the coaches, helpers and coordinators of the Cambridge
Junior Football Club. You do an amazing job."

The Inglewood Jets U9's played Central Superstars on Taranaki's Karo Park, Kaimiro.
"Awesome game with fantastic support on the sidelines," wrote Wayne and Claire Gower. "Player of the day, Dorian, whose goal keeping was superb. The support Inglewood Jets has on the sideline every week is huge. Parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunties, uncles etc."

At Upper Hutt's Trentham Memorial Park, the Upper Hutt U8 Black Sheep Construction played Petone Stevens Motors.

"Great game, well played, well refereed and well supported," wrote a fan.
In Lower Hutt, Hutt Old Boys U10 Red Rockets met Upper Hutt Auto Image. "Today was a great game of rugby by both teams," wrote Steve Owers. "Great to see the boys are working as a team. There were some good tackles by both teams. Congratulations to HOBM with a 45-35 win, 5 in a row boys - keep it up Red Rockets."
At Waitohi Recreational Reserve in Picton, Marlborough, Samuel Swain reported "great sideline support" from Waitohi U6 v Renwick U6 Rippa Rugby

"Coaches, players and supporters all had a part in making this a fun game where the kids were the focus," he wrote.

And down in Christchurch, John Gordon reported on the game between Shirley White and Cathedral Grammar U11 rugby teams. "Both teams wanted to win with good spirts but ... Cathedral Grammar won. 3 tries, 2 conversion, well done."

* Would you like to write your own match report on your kids' Saturday morning sports game? You can - with the new Rate my Game application Rate my Game allows you to quickly and easily file a match report on any game, big or small. You can send it live from the sideline on your smartphone, or when you get home to your computer. Just click on the "Submit a report" button above the map, and then tell us about the game you're watching. Where is it? What code? Which teams are playing? Who's put in a starring performance? How are the mums and dads on the sideline - are they supportive, or are they ugly fans? Most importantly, you can rate the game by giving the sideline behaviour a big thumbs up.

* If you see remarkable behaviour on the sidelines this winter - good or bad - please get in touch by phoning 09-3739340 or emailing here.

- Herald on Sunday

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