Ben’s on the up

Queenstown tennis ace Ben McLachlan and fellow Kiwi Barrett Franks were doubles runners-up at a world junior event in Fiji.

The pair lost to Australians Luke Saville and Jack Schipanski 6-7 2-6 in the Oceania Closed final last month.

Top seed Ben, 17, dipped out in the singles semis but his junior world ranking improved to 70.

Ben’s older brother Riki – starting a tennis scholarship in California – lost in the final round of qualifying for the US Open juniors. Riki, 18, went down 5-7 6-1 6-3 to Korean Suk-Young Jeong.

New head pro

The vice-president of the New Zealand Professional Golfers’ Association is the Queenstown Golf Club’s new head pro.

Jamie McIsaac, latterly Masterton Golf Club’s head pro, takes over from Allan McKay, who’s taking the same role at Millbrook Resort, near Arrowtown.

McIsaac heads up the coaching teams at both the Kelvin Heights course and at the Frankton Golf Centre, where he’ll be involved in setting up a golf academy in conjunction with the Invercargill-based Southern Institute of Technology.

Motatapu’s new mountain run

A 15KM mountain run with 680m of vertical ascent will be tacked on to the annual Motatapu 50km mountain bike/marathon from Wanaka to Arrowtown on March 13 next year.

Following a loop from Arrowtown, the Motatapu Miners Trail takes in Tobins Track, the base of Mt Beetham and Brackens Saddle, finishing with a stretch of the Macetown Road, including multiple river crossings, also shared by other competitors.

The next Motatapu event also includes a new extreme adventure run. Entries are open for all races.

Budding Silver Ferns

Wakatipu High’s top netball team stepped up at the recent South Island Secondary School Championships.

WHS A – ranked third in Queenstown’s premier grade competition this season – moved from 11th to third place during the champs in Timaru.

The new ranking means the team’s moved from B- to A-grade netball – believed to be the first time in more than 20 years, co-coach Corina Ngatuere says.

“We are unsure of this fact but mothers of the girls who also played for WHS seemed to think that it was at least 20 years ago.”

Miranda Hayes and Sophie Pinto-Raetz were also named in the B-grade tournament team.

Bloodied but unbowed

Simon Glass, captain of the Queenstown-dominated Southern Stampede ice hockey team, says his players can reflect on a hugely improved performance this season – despite feeling “pretty gutted” at losing 5-4 against the Canterbury Red Devils in the national league final in Christchurch last Sunday.

“We played a bloody good game of hockey. We all think we’re a better team or as good [as the Devils] but they just capitalised on their opportunities.

That’s ice hockey and unfortunately it was a one-game final.”