The 2017 sporting year has been hugely successful for Western Bay athletes and teams.

PETER WHITE highlights some of the best achievements.

Cricket: Kane Williamson and Trent Boult
For the first time in New Zealand cricket history the best batsman and best bowler are homegrown Tauranga boys. It has been another stellar year for batsman Williamson and left arm quick Boult who are both ranked in the top five in the world.
Their former team Bay of Plenty retained the minor association Hawke Cup for another season.

Yachting: Peter Burling
Remarkably at just 26 there is very little left for Burling to conquer on the waves. World champion, Olympic champion, International Sailor of the Year and this year helmsman of Team New Zealand that won back the America's Cup.


Golf: Josh Geary
The 33-year-old never gave up on his dream of getting a European Tour card. In November Geary realised that goal with a scintillating six-round performance at Q School in Spain. No one deserves success on the tour more than he does.

Rugby: Bay of Plenty Steamers and Volcanix
The late run all the way to the Mitre 10 Cup Championship final by the Steamers captivated the Bay of Plenty sporting public. Although they lost the final in a game to remember in Wellington, this season was a watershed for the Bay of Plenty union. Consistency is now the key.

In 2016 the Volcanix did not win a game but this year they were a revelation, beating Otago in the Farah Palmer Cup Championship final. A great team effort and credit to Brendon Webby and his coaching team.

Rugby: Sam Cane, Nathan Harris and Black Ferns
There are no stauncher Bay boys than Cane and Harris. Reporoa-born Cane and Te Puke's Harris have many years ahead in the All Blacks jersey. Cane is now firmly established as the number one openside flanker.

The Black Ferns were crowned world champions with Bay of Plenty's Kelly Brazier and Les Ketu playing key roles in the success. Just awesome.

Luuka Jones continues to set the standards for Kiwi paddlers. PHOTO/FILE
Luuka Jones continues to set the standards for Kiwi paddlers. PHOTO/FILE

Canoe slalom

Tauranga's Luuka Jones and Mike Dawson continue to set the standards for New Zealand's international paddlers. A highly talented young group chasing after them are nearly all based in Bay of Plenty.

Jones and Dawson starred in France in New Zealand's best ever canoe slalom world championship campaign. Jones was fourth in the K1 final before Dawson won a bronze medal in the extreme slalom final.


Surf lifesaving: Mount Maunganui siblings
Omanu and Mount Maunganui surf clubs dominated the national awards in 2017. Two sets of siblings from Mount Maunganui in Libby and Tessa Bradley and Hamish and Jessica Miller showcased the local athletes in Black Fins senior and junior teams. Another great year for our surf clubs.

Athletics: Joseph Millar
In February Millar broke both long-standing 100m and 200m sprint records at the New Zealand Track and Field championships held at Hamilton's Porritt Stadium. The 24-year-old from Papamoa became the fastest Kiwi on home turf, taking out the men's 100m in 10.18s and the 200m in 20.37s.

Athletics: Julian Oakley
US-based Oakley became the second fastest New Zealander over 3000m indoors when he ran 7:44.34 in Boston this month. His time is second only to Zane Robertson's 7:44.16 and pushes Dick Quax into third place. Oakley should make the NZ team for the World Indoor Championships in March.

Football: Ryan Thomas
Te Puke's attacking midfielder Thomas was a key member of the All Whites World Cup journey that ended at the final qualifying stage in Chile. He continues to shine in the tough Dutch league with PEC Zwolle and won International Sportsperson of the Year at the BOP Sports Awards.

Hockey: Black Sticks women
Tauranga hockey produced four players in the Black Sticks with the two 21-year-olds Amy Robinson and Frances Davies joining established internationals Rose Keddell and Sam Charlton in the squad. A huge boost for local hockey grades.

Amy Robinson in action for the Black Sticks women v Japan. PHOTO/FILE
Amy Robinson in action for the Black Sticks women v Japan. PHOTO/FILE

Sevens: NZ Women

New Zealand Sevens moved their base to the High Performance Centre at Blake Park. The women's team won the HSBC World Series in style coached by BOP Coach of the Year Allan Bunting. Flying Bay of Plenty winger Michaela Blyde won the Women's Sevens Player of the Year award at the world rugby awards.

Papamoa-based Scott Curry led the New Zealand men's team with pride in a rebuilding year.

Basketball: Booming in the Bay
This year was a huge success with Tauranga City qualifying teams for the National Under-15 and Under-17 boys' and girls' events. It was the first time Tauranga City has secured a number-one seed spot from qualifiers. Makayla Daysh, Shalom Broughton and Briarley Rogers led the New Zealand age group reps.