Ex-internationals help strengthen club ranks

October 10, 2013

Auckland, NZ



Three former New Zealand internationals are playing club softball in Canterbury this season after relocating to Christchurch to work in the city's rebuild.

Pitcher Regan Manley has moved from the Manawatu to play permanently for the Parklands Christchurch United Devils after guesting for the club in previous seasons.

Partners Frank Pointon and Megan Tasker will turn out for the Albion Pirates men's team and Halswell women's side, respectively, after leaving Wellington club Miramar.

Manley and Pointon were team-mates in the Black Sox squad in 2012. Tasker represented the White Sox national women's team two years ago in the Gilley's Shield state tournament series in Australia.

Pointon played for Albion as a pickup player at a couple of tournaments last season and moved to Christchurch after a casual chat with Albion head coach Mark Sneddon.

"He asked me what I did for a job and I told him I was a builder, but I wasn't building at the time because there wasn't much work up there [in Wellington]," Pointon said.

"He just said there was a lot of work down here and asked if I wanted to make the move."

Pointon quickly found a job as a builder in Christchurch and Tasker, who worked as an administrator at the Wellington City Council, secured an office manager's position at a construction company based in Rangiora.

Pointon, 29, first played for the Black Sox in 2002 but has yet to make a world championship squad. He is an accomplished power hitter and was an outstanding pitcher early in his career.

He played for the Canterbury Red Sox "about 10 years or so ago when I was 18" as a draft player and hopes to make the Canterbury squad for the national fastpitch championship (NFC) title defence in February.

He said he had not given much thought to higher honours but admitted "the passion's still there" to play for the Black Sox.

Tasker, 26, did not play in Wellington last year and had no intention of dusting off her cleats until she moved to Christchurch. But she is glad she joined Halswell.

"It's been really refreshing, they're a good bunch of girls. I thought I'd play mainly to just meet some people down here, but I'm really enjoying it."

A specialist catcher for most of her top-level career, Tasker is "playing shortstop at the moment".

"I'm not too keen to catch again, I really enjoy the infield. But I'll play wherever Cole-B [Halswell coach Nicole Baxter] needs me."

She also plans to make herself available for the Canterbury Red Hawks NFC squad.

Manley, soon to turn 29, has moved to Christchurch from Feilding to work as a painter for a company owned by PCU clubmates Daniel Milne and Paul deLatour.

He has played for PCU at the last four national interclub tournaments and said his goal was to win a title "after coming close a few times".

"I've found a home with these guys. There's a lot of experience there with [Gareth] Cook and Dan [Milne] and a few others. They're a good team to play for."

Manley wants to "throw on the red and black" Canterbury Red Sox uniform and hopes to win back a Black Sox berth after being considered an unlucky omission from the 2013 world championship squad pitching roster led by his older brother Jeremy.

- © Fairfax NZ News