Tue, Dec 28, 2021 6:52 AM

Year in sport: Knewstubb wins Silver, Mika bows out.

Andrew Knewstubb won an Olympic silver medal with the All Blacks Sevens team. Photo: Supplied.

Jonty Dine

Another year disrupted by a global pandemic however there was still plenty of sport played in 2021. Sports Reporter Jonty Dine looks back at some of the season highlights.

Olympic glory for Knewstubb
The All Black Sevens fell just short in its bid for Olympic gold, losing to Fiji in the men's sevens final in Tokyo on July 28. Tasman playmaker Andrew Knewstubb was prevalent for New Zealand as he had been throughout the tournament as the All Blacks won a silver medal for the first time in history. Andrew’s role in the side was not limited to on the field. The former Kahurangi utility was also tasked with carving a mere or patu for the team to take to Tokyo. The team would hold the mere aloft in a huddle prior to kick off.

Griffins win Hawke Cup.
Nelson won the coveted trophy for a twelfth time after playing out a draw with Canterbury Country at Mainpower Oval at the end of January. Centuries from Nic Clarke (172) and Joseph O’Connor (120) helped the Griffins post a daunting total of 365 in its first innings. In trouble at 57-4, the pair came together to compile a staggering 271-run partnership, batting for almost 100 overs. It looked as if Nelson would make easy work of Canterbury’s line-up, with the cup holders struggling to 162-8 before the tail well and truly wagged. Zak Foulkes grinded his way to 92 from 255 balls backed up by his number ten Fraser Sheat with 76. Thomas Zhorab eventually made a double breakthrough as he took 4/48 to dismiss the hosts for 325, The Griffins have successfully defended the trophy 71 times but unfortunately lost in its first defence against North Otago.

The Nelson Griffins won the Hawke Cup for a twelfth time in January. Photo: Supplied.
The Nelson Griffins won the Hawke Cup for a twelfth time in January. Photo: Supplied.

Watersports join forces.
The Nelson Yacht Club and Nelson Watersports came together to create Wingfoil Nelson in October, bringing sailing, windsurfing, paddleboarding and wingfoiling under one umbrella. Through Wingfoil Nelson, Nelson Yacht Club aims to be a home for the wingfoiling community in Nelson as it grows. With Tim Fraser-Harris employed as club manager and the same team of passionate water sports coaches and instructors, the club is looking forward to the summer season with some exciting new initiatives, chief among them the growth in popularity of wingfoiling. Tim says this new sailing sport is taking the world by storm and this summer interest is expected to surge.

Mika calls time
One of the greatest to have ever worn the black singlet, Mika Vukona called time on his career after a 16-year stint in the Tall Blacks. Mika retired from international basketball after a typically selfless display of love and commitment to his country.
"I’ve enjoyed my career – loved it. For me this game is something that was a unique situation and I always love playing situations like this, but that’s it. I’ve been blessed to be able to play this long and see some new talent, but it’s time to let the new crew come through.”

Mika Vukona, in action for the Mike Pero Nelson Giants, retired from international basketball in 2021. Photo: Shuttersport
Mika Vukona, in action for the Mike Pero Nelson Giants, retired from international basketball in 2021. Photo: Shuttersport