As the Silver Ferns made history after winning a fifth Netball World Cup last week, arguably the team’s biggest fan, Mac Crampton, beamed with pride.
Mac is the very proud grandfather of newly-crowned world champion Gina Crampton.
The 84-year-old says it took a while for his heartrate to come down after the pulsating one-point win over Australia.
“It was absolutely incredible,” says Mac.
Mac has been following Gina’s career since she was selected in the Wellington College for Girls A side as a year nine.
“We had no idea then that she’d go on as far as she has.”
He says his granddaughter has been through all the highs and lows of netball en route to her World Cup win.
Mac booked his tickets with partner Carol for the Commonwealth Games in 2018 to watch Gina, well in advance of the Silver Ferns team selection. But, cruelly, Gina was cut from the final squad.
“We went on and watched the tournament and it really was very disappointing to see how they performed.”
Mac has since learned his lesson, and delayed buying flights to England ahead of the World Cup.
“We were looking at going but decided we would wait and see. When she wasn’t selected for the Constellation Cup, we thought that going to England on the off chance she might be in it, we just thought it would be too much.”
However, with less than a month before the games, Gina was named in the team.
“Her parents got their tickets immediately, but we are a bit older and it’s sad to say but we require a bit more planning.”
Despite not being there, Mac followed the Ferns religiously during the tournament.
Mac says, after the disastrous Commonwealth Games campaign, he and many other fans would have been content with a bronze medal in England.
“To see them go through the tournament the way they did, it’s an absolutely remarkable performance.”
Mac says Gina has since made the comment to her father that she felt “like he’d been through hell, but it was all worth it”.
“The level of netball she played in that final was outstanding.”
The Crampton name is well known in Nelson sporting circles with her father, Colin, playing for the Giants in the mid-eighties.
Mac says he has been reaping plaudits of his granddaughter’s performance from neighbours at his home at Somerset in the Sun.
“It was way beyond all of our expectations.”