December 2006

Fiona Timu, Captain Fantastic

December 28, 2006

Wellington, NZ

From Trevor Rowse in Auckland.   28 December 2006

   Back in 1993, the Winfield tobacco company celebrated 30years of sponsorship of the New Zealand Softball Association with aspecial awards' event to commemorate those who feats had taken the gameto world titles for men and women, as well as under 19 men.
   Kevin Herlihy had a special section because of his elevationto the International Softball Hall of Fame, as well as the NZ Sports'Hall of Fame.
   But there were two teams named as top of the pile for the 30years and one of them included Fiona Timu, the now long-serving Aucklandand New Zealand captain.
   Amazingly she had done enough in only her first four seasonsin the New Zealand team to beat out all the other first base players,including Elizabeth Roadley, a former Auckland and NZ captain.
   She is the only one of the two lists still playing, and isstill in top form, as she showed recently for Northcote against WaitakereBears. She and Jackie Smith shed the years, showing the youngsters justhow to cover the diamond and smothering the Bears' attempts to pierce theinfield. Fiona's speed to the bunted ball, covering the area from firstbase to the third base line, was greater than anyone seen in the past twoyears in the north.
   After 12 seasons with Marist, Fiona switched to NorthHarbour this season, causing dismay in local circles.
   Her career has been outstanding since.

Superb Maturity (written in 03-04 for Marist 60 year book)

   Fiona Timu had her finest season (03-04), being the nationalcaptain, club and Auckland captain, leading the local averages in battingand pitching and sweeping the individual awards. These were the Maristclub female player of the year, Auckland player of the year and finallyNew Zealand player of the year, to go with her Bedggood Award fromAuckland for services to the game.
   From the ASA Annual Report, 2003-004. "A specialcongratulation to Fiona Timu, who displays both the exceptional workeffort and humility when called upon to perform on these occasions. Afiner role model could not be picked to display the required temperamentto our future players.
   For over twenty years Fiona has been a stand-out player.Twice in two years she played for two NZ national tournament age-groupteams and did what not many manage, to go on in the game after attendingthe junior world series in 1987.
   She has spent some time playing in Italy but the bulk of hertime has been in New Zealand, just getting on with it and playing hard.The second half of "Timu's" career has been spent at Maristafter she and Jackie Smith arrived in 1993.
   There is no one in the game who has shown such fine personalqualities, for so long, with such a high level of skill, who is stillplaying. She and such Auckland greats as Gina Weber, Sheryl Kemp (now COEof Canterbury softball), Debbie Mygind (now national pitching coach),Leslie King (now head coach of softball at the University of Pennsylvaniain Philadelphia) and Nardi Clark (former Junior White Sox coach andformer Auckland team coach) have made huge contributions to the game inAuckland and New Zealand.
   The player to rival Fiona as top female player of theseventy years of the game would be Rhonda Hira, one of the most explosivetalents in the world. We could do with some clones of Rhonda and Fiona toliven up the women's game.

Fiona Timu’s records:

82-83 NZ U14, NZ U16;
83-84 NI U14, NZ U16, Rest U18;
84-85 U16 NZ;
85-86 NZ U21, NZ U19 v Utah;
86-87 NZ champions/senior tournament team/Girls’ world series inOklahoma/NZ U19;
87-88 NZ champions/NZ U21;
88-89 NZ champions/Tournament team/NZ v Australia/NZ at South PacificClassic/NZ U21 team;
89-90 NZ champions/NZ training squad/NZ v Australia (.400 average);
90-91 USA/Canada tour and world series in USA;
91-92 Tournament team;
92-93 Tournament team, NZ to China, NZ v Australia; named as first basein the Winfield team of the past 30 years of sponsorship;
94-95 World series;
96-97 Captain of Marist/Auckland title/NZ Invitational v Toho Bank/NZ vToho/NZ v Australia;
97-98 Captain of Marist/Auckland title/Top batter at nationals/NZ toNetherlands, USA, NZ to South Pacific classic/Marist second in nationals;
98-99 World series in Japan. Marist won national club series;
99-00 NZ team at US Cup in San Diego/to Australia/v Australia in NZ/captain at Olympics in Sydney/to Australia/ Auckland player of theyear/batted .458;
00-01 Captain of Auckland and NZ/tournament team/NZ v NZ selection andAustralian squad;
01-02 Captain NZ v Aust Development/captain v NZ Selection/captain NZ atSouth Pacific Classic;
02-03 NZ champions/captain of Auckland/ Marist female player of theyear/top pitcher and batter in ASA and Marist;
03-04 Top batter at nationals/Auckland captain/national captain/NZ inCanada for Canada Cup/top pitcher and batter in Auckland andMarist/Marist MVP and female player of the year/Ben Davis Award forachievement from Auckland Association.
04-05 Auckland player of the year. Sportsperson of the year and NZ playerof the year. Top batter in Auckland and in national league (.654).captain of NZ at Canada Cup and v Australia.
05-06 Captain of Auckland. Won NL. MVP of whole National League. Captainof NZ A.
There are probably some honours missed out of this list.
Here are the Winfield teams named as top players of the 30 years since1963.

Men: Herlihy (Wellington and Waikato), Terry Nunns (Hutt), Dave Sorenson(Hutt), Wayne Baldwin (Hutt), Dean Rice (Auckland), Paul Rogers(Auckland), Dennis Cheyne (Wellington), Jimmy Cotter (Wairarapa andHutt), Mike Nichols (Wellington), with Mark Sorenson (Hutt) and the latePeter Priddey (Wellington) as utilities. (Mark Sorenson had not reachedthe peak of his powers at this stage).

Women: Cheryl Kemp (Auckland), Jan Foote (Hawkes Bay), Fiona Timu, RhondaHira (Hawkes Bay and Canterbury), Marilyn Marshall (Hutt and Wellington),Leslie King (USA and Auckland), Marie Ward (Wellington), Robyn Storer(Canterbury), Jane Earnshaw (Canterbury) with Martha Rush (Auckland) andRita Fatialofa (Auckland and Wellington) as utilities.

From the programme: “These teams were selected from the many hundredsof players who participated in the game of softball around New Zealandduring the period of 1963-1993. Selection recognises both the players’personal abilities and their contributions to the game during the thirtyyears of continuous sponsorship by Winfield Limited and theirassociates”.

Cheers Vance
Softball New Zealand web master.