Green light for WAFL game

CENTENNIAL Stadium passed with flying colours when it came under the microscope last week ahead of the West Australian Football League’s clash between Claremont and South Fremantle on April 28.

WAFL Governance and Compliance Manager Luke Sanders spent last Thursday morning inspecting the stadium and its facilities with City of Albany staff and club representatives and said the match would go ahead as scheduled.

He said they spent a lot of time inspecting the turf to check it met WAFL standards.

“We check the hardness of the turf with a Clegg tester to make sure it’s all uniform in firmness,” he said.

“The turf can’t be too hard or too soft since we need to protect the players from injury.

“Albany doesn’t have an issue with the turf being too hard due to its high annual rainfall.

“I’m still waiting for the official test report, but the game will continue regardless.

Mr Sanders said he was impressed with the standard of the facilities.

“The playing surfaces, change rooms, coach boxes, spectator areas and bar facilities are all of a high standard,” he said.

He confirmed the City of Albany had dipped into its own pocket to host the match without WAFL grants for assistance.

“For them to host and cover costs is great for regional football and for the community,” he said.

The April 28 encounter between the Tigers and Bulldogs will only feature the league sides, but Claremont club members will be in Albany in the days leading up to the match to conduct a football masterclass.

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Railways semi-favourites

RAILWAYS will head into Saturday’s Albany Cricket Association A-grade semi-final clash with Manypeaks as clear favourites following a dominating display with the ball on the weekend that saw them roll North County for just 83 runs.

The Tigers’ win brought a premature end to North County’s season, as the Bulldogs’ hopes of progressing into the finals hinged on defeating Railways and Denmark beating Collingwood Park.

In Saturday’s match, North County needed the recent form of veteran Craig Tonkin to continue if they were to pose a threat, but when he was dismissed for two runs and Michael Ferreira for six from the bowling of Mitchell Thomson, County’s heads were in their hands.

Fortunately, there were two more Ferreiras to offer resistance, with Matthew combining with his father Neil to rebuild the innings.

The pair took the total to 2-64, before Railways skipper Zane Marwick took control with the ball and started a collapse that saw County lose eight wickets for 18 runs.

Marwick claimed three wickets to get his eye in before the finals, but fell short with the bat when he was bowled for just seven as the Tigers began their brief chase of County’s 83-run total.

The Tigers are persisting with Tim Edmunds at the top of the order with his ability to slowly wear the shine off the new ball.

He fell just short of double figures, contributing nine runs before Nathan Crudeli and Matt Walters got the job done.

The pair each played patiently to see out the run chase, but punished anything that was off target from North County’s bowlers.

Crudeli brought up the winning runs on his way to 39 not out, while Walters looked solid, notching up 21 not out.

Manypeaks will no doubt be quick to shrug off their last-ball loss to Mount Barker on the weekend and refocus on a plan to conquer Railways’ batting depth and bowling attack.

They would have fancied their chances after dismissing the Bulls for 157 in Saturday’s match, with a four-wicket effort from Harry Broomhall the highlight from the spread of bowlers.

In their response to Mt Barker’s total, the loss of cheap wickets was offset by several key partnerships which kept Manypeaks in the game.

A 36-run stand from evergreen veteran Jeremy Stewart got them within striking distance of the Bulls’ total, but a calamitous fall of wickets, including one from the final delivery of the day, left them one run short at 9-156.

Despite underdog status in Saturday’s semi-final with Railways, Manypeaks at least got a preview of the pressure they need to absorb if they are to threaten Railways.

In the remaining A-grade match, Nathan Dovey and his bat blasted Collingwood Park into fourth place on the ladder and an unlikely finals berth, considering their slow start to the season.

Dovey made 67 as Park chased down Denmark’s respectable 212-run total, that was could have fallen short had it not been for 69 runs from Michael Pratt, batting at number seven.

Park will play Mt Barker in their semi-final and will need to get on top of the Bulls batting line-up early.

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Bruton brings magic

ALBANY’S young and aspiring basketball players will have the opportunity to participate in a potentially life-changing clinic next month, with National Basketball League Hall of Famer and former Perth Wildcats coach Cal Bruton making the trip to Albany.

PCYC’s Ice Breakers facilitator Craig Golding said he met the ‘Black Pearl’ when he was playing against the Joondalup City Wolves years ago. “I played against him a few years ago and he absolutely killed me,” he said jokingly.

“He’s a great bloke though. He wants to reach remote places to spread his message.

“A lot of A-grade Albany Basketball Association coaches all got behind the idea to bring him down; we’ve already had a fair few people sign up too.”

One of the NBL’s first imports to play in the Brisbane Bullets in 1979, Bruton played and coached prolifically across five teams as well as representing Australia at the 1986 FIBA World Champion- ship in Spain.

The clinics won’t just be about the “Five fundamentals” basketballers should learn though; players will learn the many lessons in life Bruton learnt through basketball.

“Most kids are looking for some- thing to hang their hat on and learn skills to get them through life,” Bruton said, in a highly antici- pated exclusive interview with The Weekender.

“It’s really important to me to have a great work ethic, and to back that up with a great skill set.

“So when you can pass on a posi- tive message to the youth, inspire them to do better and make a difference, you can only imagine what the world will be like.”

While learning the fundamentals of basketball such as passing and how to handle the ball Bruton-style, he said he will also use acronyms to give youth the tools to be better people.

“I use B.R.U.T.O.N. a lot, which means be kind to others, respect your elders, use your manners, trust in God, own your mistakes and never give up,” he said.

Bruton spends his time taking his “travelling salesman” routine to disadvantaged kids in country Australia.

“I had a bit of a rough childhood, so for me sport was a way to be successful and to make myself a better person,” he said.

“When my mum passed away she left me a letter telling me to continue putting sunshine into other people’s lives, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

For more information on the Bruton Fundamental Clinic this is open to 8-16 year olds, contact Craig Golding on icebreakers.albany@

Photo: Courtesy Cal Bruton

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Second shot at gold

SEVENTEEN-year-old Sophie McDonald will make the trip to Launceston, Tasmania for a second tilt at the Under 18s Australian Hockey Championships next month.

Sophie was part of the Under 18s team last year that won bronze, but repeating the same performance isn’t on the cards.

“This year we’re striving for the gold,” she said.

“There are seven girls from last year’s team that have made it for the 2018 championships, so we know how to play off each other better than before.”

In preparation of the big competition in just over five weeks’ time, Sophie makes the trip to Perth twice a week to train with her team.

“Mum and Dad take turns driving me up to Perth for training,” she said.

“During the week I train with the team, then on weekends we do fitness training to get us to peak performance.

“I only miss out on half a day of school a week, which is really good in comparison to last year.”

Katanning’s Lewis Barritt will also make the trip to Launceston to play in the U18 men’s team.

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Roller derby on track

IT HAS taken more than two months, but Albany Roller Derby League’s The Track will officially open its doors to its new home on Saturday.

League President Natalie Jarvis said the opening of The Track and introducing Albany to roller derby has had its challenges.

“We started with the idea to find our own venue after it was getting increasingly harder to find a place for us to practice and have matches,” she said.

“We aren’t a sport that has been around for years and has heaps of supporters. It’s been tough.”

Ms Jarvis said The Track will be available for community and sport groups to hire out for games and functions.

“Since we’re in an industrial area there’s not really sound issues, so we’re more than happy to hire out The Track for people to use,” she said.

“People can run classes here, start gym groups and hire it out for bands and corporate functions. It’s open for use.”

With the help of a Gofundme page, Ms Jarvis and the league have been able to raise more than $4,000 to put towards the finishing touches of their skating venue.

“We’d still love some more funding. Every cent helps us get The Track up and running,” she said.

“Our Gofundme page will be open for a few more days if people want to donate money.

“We’ll be accepting donations on the Open Day, and people will be able to buy our merchandise as well.”

Celebrations at the brand new track on Roundhay Road in Gledhow will start with an official ribbon cutting ceremony at 4pm.

“We’ll have a roller disco, roller hockey games and heaps of food and drinks to buy,” Ms Jarvis said.

“Then at 7pm we’ll have our first rec league game for people to watch between the Storm Fronts and Cold Snaps.”

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Helping hand for Wittenoom Cup winner

WITTENOOM Cup winner Noel Sewell has dedicated his unexpected win in the weekend’s golf tournament to his wife of 56 years, Gwen.

The 79-year-old said he had no expectation to win the cup when he entered.

“I thought I would maybe get the best gross; I’ve done that before at previous events,” he said.

“But I never thought for a second that I’d actually win the thing. I pulled it out of the bag.”

With more than 50 years spent on the golf course, Sewell said there was one underlying factor in his many championship wins.

“My wife Gwen has been my biggest supporter. We’ve been married for 56 years and she always supports me playing,” he said.

“I have to dedicate my win to her. I wouldn’t have done it without her never-ending support.”

Albany Golf Club’s Ian Redmond said the former Tambellup player’s performance was a significant event for both the club and for Sewell.

“Noel finished with 144 after his seven handicap, which is a big achievement,” he said.

“His gross was 75 and there’s not a lot of players around that can say that they won an event by shooting their age.”

Veteran player Kim Sounness came in a close second at 144 after Sewell’s strong performance during Sunday’s competition.

The ladies competition saw Walpole’s Hes Anderson with a 147 to win the cup, while Katanning’s Tracey Keown came a close second with 148 and Denmark’s Maria Amesz with 149 and third.

Redmond said the next big event for Albany Golf Club will be on the March long weekend.

“We’re taking registrations for the Albany Classic on March 3 and 4,” he said.

“It’s always a big event and it will be good to see returning players from other clubs.”

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Top field at tournament

TENNIS players from across the state converged on Emu Point Sporting Club over the weekend to compete in the Albany Community Bank Open Tournament.

With more than 100 competitors from Perth, Merredin and the Great Southern attending the tournament, the weekend proved to be a competitive one in all divisions.

Emu Point Tennis Club captain Richard Piggott said the Open attracted a high calibre of players.

“We had the best field of entries seen in Albany for the past few years,” he said.

“The standard of play was exceptionally high, and was very enjoyable to watch.”

Piggott said the atmosphere at the club during the two-day event was great for the competition.

“Everyone was in the right spirit during the weekend,” he said.

“It was two perfect days of tennis.”

Saturday saw the women battling it out in the doubles, with sisters Alexandra Pugh-Riggall and Clare King reigning victorious in A-grade against Albany’s Abbi Gibson and veteran Jenny Rickerby.

Men’s A-grade saw a four-way battle with first-time team Michael Offerman and Vincent Brochard taking the win from Les Bairstow and Ross Truscott.

Last year’s men’s A-grade runner-ups Aaron Crofts and Nathan Watson were unable to push past their four-times runner-up position.

Gibson wasn’t done with the competition when she teamed up with Offerman on Sunday in the mixed doubles.

Brother-sister combo Maddi and Aaron Crofts weren’t able to overcome the dual effort of Gibson and Offerman.

Next up on the tennis competition calendar for the Great Southern is the Junior Round Robin Singles Tournament in Kendenup on February 18.

Entries are now open for the 16-and-under event, and details are on the Lower Great Southern Tennis Association’s Facebook page.

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Early knock-off for Albany doctor

WHENEVER there is a forecast for a good easterly in Albany, windsurfer Joseph Presti knocks off work and makes the 400km journey south from Perth to what he describes as one of the best stretches of water for his beloved sport.

Presti has been windsurfing for the past 34 years and said the flat water at the south-western end of Albany’s Princess Royal Harbour along Frenchman Bay Road’s “smelly mile” was his first choice.

“It has the most consistent winds and flat water in the state,” he said.

“It’s more than worth driving the 800km round trip when the wind is right.

“I’ve got a friend from Cairns that says it’s his favorite spot. He broke two of his personal records there last year.

“I drive to Shark Bay and the Peel Inlet at Mandurah as well, but Albany is worth taking the time off work to wind surf on.”

On a good day, the windsurfers can nearly keep up with the cars on the road adjacent to the harbour that are clocking 80mkh.

Eleven years ago, Presti came up with the idea to change individual-based sport for Australians into a community-based challenge.

“After chatting with a few friends who were windsurfers, I decided to put it to the community if they were interested in an annual windsurfing competition,” he said.

“It pretty much went from there and is now also an international competition that people enter. Last year’s international winner was a team from Belgium.”

The GPS Team Challenge consists of solo and team competitors wearing a GPS during a wind-surfing session and uploading the data to the team challenge website.

“The GPS records everything we do on the water, from our average speed we track in an hour to the average speed we cover in a nautical mile,” Presti said.

“We upload the data, which gets converted into points that ranks us for the competition.”

While four seasonal trophies are up for grabs as well as a perpetual trophy for the end of the year, Presti said most windsurfers are only after one thing.

“It’s all for the glory and bragging rights,” he said.

“My team ‘Mandurah Mob’ has won each of the seasonal trophies this year, the first time ever as well.

“While it’s great we won them all, and will probably win overall for the year, the fact that we did it and made GPS Team Challenge history is more impressive.”

Presti said it’s not too late for local windsurfers to join the Mandurah Mob for the challenge, or to create their own team.

“We’ve got 28 members in our team. Four are from Albany, in fact,” he said.

“We always welcome new members. We’ve got a great community in our team.

“You don’t need to be competitive to join. We’ve got members that windsurf just for the fun of it.”

For more information on the GPS Team Challenge you can visit their website

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Mum’s a broken record

ALBANY athlete Sophie McDonald has hopped, stepped and jumped her way into the Albany Athletics Club record books by cleanly beating her mother’s 34-year triple jump record on Saturday.

Sophie has reset the women’s under 18s triple jump record to a whopping 10.73m, replacing her mum Tracey Menegola’s record of 10.50m from 1983.

The 17-year-old has proved her skill and stamina as an athlete by setting this record on the weekend, as she is currently in her off-season and is participating on weekends to keep up her fitness before the hockey season commences in January.

She had just three jumps on the weekend to beat her mum’s record.

“I got the record by 4cm on my second jump,” Sophie said.

“I went over to Mum because I wanted to rub it in straight away.”

Menegola knew her daughter could do better.

“I told her, you’ve got one more jump, so go and smash it!” Menegola laughed.

Sophie said she couldn’t afford to be distracted by her cheering mum on the sidelines and told her to go away.

“I said no, don’t come over and watch, I’ll ‘no’ jump!”

Menegola stood away from the jump pit to appease Sophie, but managed to sneak closer as Sophie was making her final jump.

On this jump, the young rising star set the new record of 10.73m.

“Dad was timing another race at the time, but he was really excited when we told him,” Sophie said.

“Everyone was really chuffed for Sophie, especially because of the mother-daughter record,” Menegola added.

Menegola remembers her record triple jump like it was yesterday.

“I remember everything, I remember the day and I remember the pit,” she recalled.

“I had to beat something like 10.4m and I was keen to try the record.

“I’ve never jumped that big again!”

Sophie is no stranger to athletics records, having medalled in triple and long jump in state competitions.

She participated in the WA State All Schools Championships and the WA Little Athletics State Championships in 2015 and continues to challenge herself in the 100m track run, triple and long jump, and javelin.

“I’m going to take on the long jump record, which is 5m,” Sophie revealed.

“I can beat it, I believe in myself.”

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Denmark spoil Royals’ return

DENMARK opened their Albany Cricket Association season with a solid win over a young Royals side in their A grade encounter on Saturday.

Skipper Dan Robson set the innings up for Denmark with a patient half century (56) alongside import Jujhar Johal, who showed glimpses of flare in his 30-run debut.

Peter Ross (19) and Michael Pratt (40) firmed up the start made by the openers and helped guide the visitors to a respectable 189-run total.

Royals bowlers shared the workload and were rewarded with an even spread of five wicket-takers.

Royals got off to a solid start and were 3/93 before the wickets began to tumble in the breezy conditions.

They fell 46 runs short and were all out for 146 after 41.4 overs.

Mount Barker’s A grade debut fell flat with a 61-run defeat at the hands of Manypeaks.

After winning the toss, Manypeaks elected to bat first in the Sounness Park fixture.

Peaks’ captain Ryan Kinnear (7) and fellow opener Aran Tilbury (13) fell cheaply before new recruit Harry Broomhall (44) and Warwick Durack (53 not-out) combined to chalk up the bulk of their side’s 167 runs.

Mt Barker were still in the match at 5/92 in their run chase before Wade Anning and Jeremy Stewart ripped through the middle and lower order, taking the remaining five wickets for 14 runs.

Anning finished the match with a five-wicket haul (5/14 from 6.4 overs), while Stewart also started the season with a nippy three over spell to claim 3/18.

Nathan Crosby top-scored for the Bulls with 41 and was supported in the run chase by skipper Jeremy Wood (17) and Luke Hammond (22) before the batting collapse left the Bulls all out for 106 after 36.4 overs.

Reigning premiers Railways started where they left off last season with a comfortable 47-run victory over Collingwood Park on the new turf at North Road.

Mitchell Green (43) and captain Zane Marwick (65) set the innings up for the Tigers, while Collingwood Park enjoyed an even contribution with five wicket takers.

Chasing 170 for victory, Park’s openers went missing in their first match on a turf wicket in two seasons and were languishing at 3/11 before Leroy Van Den Dool offered some resistance, scoring 30 before being bowled out by Marwick.

Marwick’s younger brother Coen led the way for the bowlers with 4/26 from nine overs.

This weekend will see North County playing their first match for the season against Railways, Denmark playing on their home ground against Mt Barker and Collingwood against Royals.

Manypeaks have the bye.

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