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Multi-sports hub focused on community sport recommended for New Plymouth Raceway

A multi-sports hub has been recommended to be established at New Plymouth Racecourse by independent experts.

Sport Taranaki commissioned Global Leisure Group and 106 Architects, which were responsible for Christchurch’s Ngā Puna Wai Sports Complex, to come up with a master plan for a sports hub in Taranaki.

A response to frustration felt by sports codes over a lack of facilities, the investigation was endorsed by the region’s three district council’s last year.

Sport Taranaki chief executive officer Michael Carr said basketball was an example of a sport that was missing out. The New Plymouth Basketball Association needs 87% more indoor court space than they can access at the three-court TSB Stadium. New Plymouth is one of only 4 regions, the others including West Coast, Gisborne, and Northland, without a six indoor court facility.

Carr, who backed the recommendation for a multi-sports hub, said a second hockey turf and more volleyball courts were also envisaged.

Sport Taranaki has been a vocal critic of the $50 million repair and upgrade of the quakeprone Yarrow Stadium, arguing it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work towards a genuine multi-sports facility.

The Taranaki Regional Council, the stadium’s owner, is forging ahead with its plans for Taranaki and Yarrow residents have already started paying a 25-year targeted rate for the project.

Carr said if the proposed hub catered for the 16 sports groups already involved, at least 15,000 people a week could use it for practices, games, events and tournaments.

That figure didn’t include potential and recreational users, he said.

Taranaki Racing also supported the concept. The consultants will go on to work alongside stakeholders in order to draft concept plans and explore governance models and this should be completed by June 2020.

The intention is to develop a master plan for the next Draft New Plymouth District Council Long Term Plan to be released for public consultation in early 2021.


Plymouth Raiders set up walking basketball sessions for older people

Plymouth Raiders are getting to keep older members of the community in shape and combat loneliness with a replacement initiative.

The British league club have cooperated with students of City College Plymouth to launch Active Aging – walking basketball sessions for older people.

The initiative which is supported by the National Lottery Community Fund allows older members of the community to play walking basketball.

The sport is becoming more fashionable people of all ages and in Plymouth it’ll be Raiders Coach Paul Nicholson leading the sessions.

They will happen at the College’s sports hall on a Tuesday and Thursday.

Phil Hughes, community foundation manager at Plymouth Raiders, said: “Walking basketball may be a good way for older members of the community to take care of their fitness.

“It is a low-impact cardio workout which will spend about 250 calories during a one-hour session, it can help improve your heart and lung function, as well as boost your morale and energy levels.

“In addition to the health benefits, we would like these sessions to be a chance for participants to satisfy new people, enjoy some lively conversation and potentially make new friends.

“It is the maximum amount about the fellowship because it is about the fitness.”

In addition to helping the players on the court, the scholars also will be on-hand for a few post-match fellowship. While the Raiders are holding walking basketball sessions for a couple of years, this is often the primary time students are invited to help with coaching.

The Tuesday sessions will last for about 45 minutes, from 9.45am-11.30am, after which participants will be invited to enjoy conversation over coffee and cake.

Thursday sessions run from 11am-12.15pm and can include a light-weight lunch. The post-game refreshments are going to be served within the College’s PL1 restaurant by hospitality and catering students.

Phil added that these sessions would be completely free, including the coffee and food, and participants would be welcome to return on their own or with their friends.


Graham Westley believes Plymouth is going to be crowned League Two champions

Graham Westley tipped Plymouth to win Sky Bet League Two but was frustrated at seeing his Stevenage side slip to a 2-1 defeat reception to the Pilgrims.

Goals from Byron Moore and Ryan Hardie were enough for Argyle to return away with all three points from their trip to the Lamex Stadium, although a floodlight failure made for a nervy finish.

And Westley believes Boro, who dropped to the foot of the table after defeat, deserved better, singling out a handball within the build-up to the primary goal because of the turning point within the game.

The win puts Argyle into the highest three and therefore the automatic promotion spots, with leaders Swindon six points before them but having played two games more.

In a goalless half, Jake Cassidy had an attempt well-saved by Alex Palmer while Antoni Sarcevic almost added to his six league goals when he charged down a clearance from Paul Farman that trickled just wide.

Argyle hit the front immediately after half-time, Moore finishing well after being played in by George Cooper, although Westley was adamant the striker had handled the ball before finding the rear of internet.

The floodlights then gave up, meaning a disruption just before the hour, and once play resumed, Palmer was again called into action by tipping Carter’s strike onto the crossbar.

Hardie later made it three in three for Argyle when he rounded Farman to double the lead with the remaining quarter of an hour.

Carter pulled one back with eight minutes left but even with 13 minutes of stoppage time, Argyle persisted for the three points, much to the delight of Ryan Lowe.

Westley said that they nullified all their strengths which were the reasons why they had come away with the victory. It was an honest win for them and put them into the highest three. However, they were not getting over excited because there was an extended way to go.


Plymouth Argyle sign former Glasgow Rangers striker Ryan Hardie from Blackpool

Plymouth Argyle have completed the signing of 6ft 2in Blackpool striker Ryan Hardie on loan until the top of the season.

The 22-year-old is about to satisfy up with the Pilgrims’ squad tomorrow, once they will use the training facilities at Wigan Athletic.

Argyle are going to be completing their preparations there before playing away to Carlisle United united Two on Saturday.

Hardie signed for League One outfit Blackpool from Glasgow Rangers for an undisclosed fee last summer.

He agreed a two-year contract with the Seasiders, with an option for an extra 12 months, but has had only limited varsity action.

Hardie has made a complete of seven starts and five substitute appearances this season, and scored one goal.

That came during a 5-1 home win against Morecambe during a Trophy group game at the beginning of September.

His last appearance for Blackpool also came therein competition, once they lost 3-1 reception to Scunthorpe United in late November.

Hardie, who has played for Scotland from under-16 to under-21 level, was loaned to Livingston by Rangers last term.

He made a complete of 14 starts and eight substitute appearances, and scored seven goals.

Argyle manager Ryan Lowe may be a good friend of Rangers boss Steven Gerrard so is certain to possess got an honest insight from him about his second signing of the January transfer window.

Hardie was also at Rangers with striker Zak Rudden, who has been on loan to Argyle from the Glasgow giants since August but whose deal is soon set to expire.

The striker had his debut for Rangers during a 3-1 Scottish League Cup away win against Falkirk in September 2014, aged 17.

He went on to form a complete of 5 starts and 15 substitute appearances for the club and scored five goals.

Hardie’s signing by Argyle has come on an equivalent day that another forward, Billy Clarke, left the club and completed a move to Ian Holloway’s Grimsby Town.

Blackpool chief executive Ben Mansford told his club’s official website: “We feel that this is often a perfect opportunity for Ryan to travel out and obtain a uniform run of games under his belt.

He has been an excellent professional and that we will now be monitoring his progress closely before his return to the club within the summer.”


Two errors that Plymouth football have made in 2019

It is hard for every hierarchy working within football to run a football club while trying to keep everybody happy. Home Park, the home of Plymouth Argyle, is not an exception as the Pilgrims have suffered relegation from League One and had to change managers halfway through the year when they attempt to get back up to the third tier.

Although the club is fairly well run off the pitch, questions are still asked by supporters about the mistakes that the club has made over 2019, and here are two errors that Plymouth have made in 2019…

Not backing Adams more in January

Former manager Derek Adams left his role at Plymouth upon relegation in April, but the board didn’t back him enough during the January transfer window to try and get more high-quality players in to prevent relegation.

Adams has proven before that he is a manager that is more than capable of getting the best out of the squad at his disposal, but he would have needed the right backing to help turn Plymouth’s season around and pull them away from a relegation scrap.

During January, Threlkeld signed on a permanent, with Lloyd Jones coming in on a loan from Luton Town and Paul Anderson was signed on a free in February.

If Adams had been given some more budget to play with, then he could have signed one or two more players who could have made more of a difference at Home Park during the second half of the campaign.

None of the trio failed to make any real impact upon the fortunes of Plymouth, and all three departed the club at the end of the season.

Re-signing Oscar Threlkeld

The versatile Threlkeld returned to Plymouth in January from Belgium club Waasland-Beveren for a loan fee on a six-month contract, before being released by his parent club.

He made 12 appearances during his time back at Home Park, scoring one goal, as he started seven times during his few months back in England.

Plymouth may have realized after the season that they could have used their money on another player, including wages, who would have been around long-term to try and keep a continuity effect with the squad at Home Park, with relegation staring them in the face.

Signing Threlkeld may have got the supporters on side, however it also came at a cost of having to spend money on a player who was only going to be sticking around for less than a year.


Lowe praises players as Plymouth down 10-man Morecambe

Ryan Lowe praised his Plymouth side’s defending after Argyle climbed to eighth in League Two following a comprehensive 3-0 home win over basement side Morecambe.

George Cooper, Antoni Sarcevic, and Conor Grant scored as Morecambe had Ritchie Sutton sent off.

 “I am pleased because we did a professional job, the mentality of the players was spot on,” Lowe said.

The turning point of the game came when Sutton was dismissed for a foul on goal-bound Dom Telford and Cooper swept in the 20-yard free-kick.

Sarcevic made it 2-0 from a first-half stoppage time penalty and substitute Grant wrapped up the result with the last kick of the game.

 “Once we got the free-kick and the penalty we were away. Then we got the goal late on as well. They were always going to sit back in. The possession stats show we had 73 percent and it’s hard when there is a man sent off,” Lowe also added.

“For us the way we moved the ball around, with tempo, quick, fast and two wing-backs high up the pitch we knew we were going to cause any team we played a problem.

“Credit to the boys mentally they were at it as well because it’s tough when you are playing bottom of the league and expected to win three-four or five-nil.

“Listen we got three goals and a clean sheet, another win, and I am pleased. With all due respect to Morecambe, we knew we could get at them. The overall play from back to front was very good.”

Morecambe’s former Argyle boss Derek Adams said: “The change in the game was the sending off. We were really in the game at that stage and we didn’t have any trouble.

“They had a lot of corner kicks and shots, but a lot of those were off target and we limited them to very few opportunities on goal.

“They had to score with a well-taken free-kick, and then we gave a penalty away just before half-time.

“They scored (their third) with the last kick of the game when we had played the whole of the second half with 10 men.

“What I will say is that I am very proud of my players, the way they stuck at it. It is not easy to come to Home Park against a team that think they should be higher up the league.

“We limited them to few chances and pressed them high up the pitch and didn’t let them play out from the back.

 “That caused them problems because they gave the ball away. We could have got a goal when the big center-half loses the ball and AJ nearly gets in. And then in the second half, Lewis Alessandra has a really good chance.”