1 Mar 2017

Netball remembers 'cheeky and unconventional' Dalton

4:51 pm on 1 March 2017

Tributes are flowing for former Silver Fern Tania Dalton who will be remembered as both cheeky and unconventional says former teamate Irene van Dyk.

Dalton, 45, died this morning after collapsing almost a week ago while playing touch rugby.

Dalton suffered a ruptured anuryism and had been on life support since Thursday but but that was switched off yesterday afternoon.

Dalton was a member of the New Zealand side which won the 2003 netball world champs in Jamaica 16 years after New Zealand's previous success in 1987.

She played 37 tests for the Silver Ferns in an international career which spanned eleven years, between 1996 and 2007.

Tania Dalton in action for the Silver Ferns.

Tania Dalton in action for the Silver Ferns. Photo: Photosport

The former Silver Fern Irene van Dyk played both with and against Dalton at both international and provincial level.

She says Dalton was a fierce competitor who never gave up but could also be unconventional on court.

"She was like a sneaky cat. You think you have pinned her down and then she comes up skidding along the base line or stepping in taking another shot so she was definitely a crafty player and if things weren't happening she would make them happen," said van Dyk.

Irene van Dyk

Irene van Dyk Photo: Photosport

Off the court Dalton was the life and soul of a party, van Dyk particularly remembers the celebrations after the 2003 world champs win in Jamaica.

"When you say the name 'Tania Dalton' the thing that jumps to mind is Teabag dancing on the table to 'Sweet Caroline' and singing at the top of her lungs."

Van Dyk said Dalton was called Teabag because she always had a cup of tea in her hand.

"She loved drinking tea...'it was always are you ready for a cup of tea?' as soon as you got into her room if you were rooming with her."

The chief executive of Netball New Zealand Jennie Wyllie said they learnt Dalton had collapsed during the national body's AGM in Queenstown last week.

Netball NZ chief executive Jennie Wyllie

Netball NZ chief executive Jennie Wyllie Photo: Photosport

"She was one of those people that was always vibrant and little bit cheeky and lived life to the full.

"She obviously had her time as a player but she was also a mum and an ambassador for women within the sport, which was as equally as important as to what she delivered on court," said Wyllie.

Many in the netball fraternity got to say goodbye to Dalton over the past few days which will help in the greiving process, said Wyllie.

"Tania was one of those people who always gave to others and the fact that she was able to put up a fight for a number of days and let her closest friends and family have that time with her ...is a testament to someone who always gave back."

Dalton is survived by her husband Duane and three children.