Former Black Sox Namana set to make Giants return

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Former Black Sox Namana set to make Giants return

By Gary Caffell

[Masterson, Wellington, New Zealand] – Former Black Sox Malcolm Namana will be returning to his old stamping grounds when he plays for Giants in their double header men’s softball matches with Cardinals at South Park, Masterton tomorrow.

Namana was a member of the Giants club back in the late 1980s before moving over the hill where he has played for such clubs as Totara Park, Cardinals and Poneke-Kilbirnie.

He had a season off last year but with longtime friend Tony Nixon being coach of Giants he expressed an interest in joining up with them in 2008-09, and Giants were only too happy to oblige.

Nixon and Namana actually played at club level together for both Giants and Totara Park and in 2000 they were both part of the US-based winning side at the National Softball Association world series in South Carolina.

Nixon pitched for that successful side and Namana was catcher and also made a huge impact with the bat, enough to have him named player of the tournament.

For Nixon the elevation of Namana to the Black Sox in 2006 was no surprise as he considers him to even now be one of the most powerful strikers of a ball in the game.

“I guess the reactions might be a little slower than they once were but he’s still going to be a handful for any pitcher & he’s got enormous strength in that area of the game,” he said.

Even with Namana in their line-up however Nixon is expecting two close tussles with a Cardinals team which has impressive solidity in both their pitching and batting departments.

“We have a history of having some real battles with them and tomorrow should be no different,” he said.

“Both games will probably go right down to the wire, that’s how even things look.”

The first of the matches gets underway at 1pm and will count towards the Hutt Valley premier league, which Giants won last year, with the second starting at 3pm and counting towards the Inter-City series, a competition which Giants have never won but currently lead.

Meanwhile, Giants duo Kawana Gaunt and Sean Robinson played a leading role in the crushing 13-3 win secured by the Hutt Valley under-15 boys softball team over their touring Australian Capital Territory counterparts at Fraser Park, Avalon on Wednesday evening.

They both batted at the top of the order with Gaunt fielding in centre field and Robinson starting off at short stop and then moving to catcher.

A third Giants player chosen in the Hutt Valley side was Kyle Morris but he was unavailable for this particular match.

Gaunt, Robinson and Morris are all part of the Giants under-15 team which have won two of three games in their Hutt Valley competition under the tutorship of Ritchie Clarke, a key player in the club’s premier men’s side.

Not surprisingly Clarke rates all three highly, saying each of them have the potential to go all the way in the sport

Tomorrow sees the Giants under-15s taking on Cardinals at South Park in a match starting at 10.30am and Clarke is anticipating an “absolute humdinger” of a game against what should be formidable opposition.

“They (Cardinals) have a lot of talented players too, it should be a beauty,” he said.

The under-15s game will kick off a busy programme at South Park with Giants and Cardinals actually clashing at four levels there.

Aside from the games already mentioned the President grade sides will meet at 1pm, and the premier two sides at 3pm

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