McGraths master martial arts

FOR Albany martial arts instructor Daniel McGrath, taking the top spot at the recent National All Star Championships in Melbourne was an achievement decades in the making.

The 35-year-old beat out more than a dozen fighters from around Australia in the comp’s continuous male black belt division and credited much of his success to a near lifelong commitment to the sport.

“I’ve been doing martial arts since my dad got me into it at the age of eight and haven’t stopped since,” McGrath said.

“I train a good five to six days a week so to pull off first place was really great.”

This year marks the first time McGrath has taken gold at the multi-day tournament, which saw him defeat six out of the nine opponents he went up against.

His success is not the only talking point for the McGrath family, with 11-year-old Angel claiming third place in her division and 5-year-old Thai competing for the first time.

“The man who runs the whole thing said Angel had the best kicks he had seen in 20 years and that just blew us away,” McGrath said of his daughter.

“She’s been training real hard for it and while I was hoping she’d pull of first place as well, to be told that just made everything worth it.”

McGrath said he intended to have another go at the Nationals next year.

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Pony club turns 55

A CLUB as old as Nicolas Cage and Keanu Reeves celebrated its birthday on the weekend with a dress-up day and parade.

The West Plantagenet Pony Club turned 55 on Sunday, marking it as one of the oldest clubs in Pony Club Australia’s 80-year history.

There are 40,000 members in the national group and 24 of them hail from Tenterden, Frankland, Mt Barker, Ongerup and Cranbrook to form the West Plantagenet Pony Club.

In honour of the occasion, the group’s final rally of the year featured a day of pony-related games, including barrel races and bends.

After the end-of-year award ceremony, members showed off their cowboy and Indian-themed costumes in a parade.

Those who attended said although it was a bit hot, the day was full of fun and laughter.

In its early days, the West Plantagenet Pony Club won 13 out of 20 Prince Phillip Mounted Games at the Perth Royal Show.

Recent successes include four members placing in all areas of the State Tetrathalon, a combination of horse riding, swimming, running and shooting.

The Club has also won the Brigid Woss Equitation Turnout Show jumping event twice.

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Fergie’s 92 a royal display

MT BARKER took out their frustrations of consecutive last-ball losses in the previous two weeks over a hapless Denmark on Saturday, posting a massive 148-run victory.

Cars and spectators were in danger as the top-order batsmen went riot, clocking up the largest score of the season.

Things started ominously for Denmark as Mt Barker won the toss and openers Alexander Fergie and Tim Shephard put on an 84-run partnership before the latter was caught off the bowling of Paul Alexander.

This only brought out the explosive and in-form Jeremy Wood with the captain leading by example, smashing a quick-fire 70 off only 47 balls including a couple of towering sixes.

Fergie meanwhile was in the nineties and looking set to record a ton but Wood’s dismissal may have upset his concentration as he went two runs later for 92.

Some late hitting including Nathan Crosby, 31 off only 15 balls including two four and two sixes, and Clayton Wood, 31 off 18 balls, had Mt Barker finishing on an imposing 5/293.

Denmark’s bowling attack battled bravely against the powerful batting line-up with some expensive figures and Alexander was the only multiple wicket-taker with 2/57.

Denmark started brightly with Daniel Robson and Matthew Burton putting on a 97-run stand before Robson was caught for a well-compiled 52.

Then the floodgates opened as Denmark collapsed, the last four batsmen going for ducks as Denmark lost 10-48 to be all out for 145 in the 43rd over.

The Barker bowlers were ruthless with Patrick Butler, Kobi Williams, Todd Hammond and Jeremy Wood all taking two wickets.

On Turf B, Manypeaks won the toss and batted first against Royals with opener Regan Poett continuing his solid form in scoring 28.

Royals were bowling a tight line, restricting the cavalier Manypeaks batsmen but Declan McNamara hit out late belting 44 off 41 balls, well supported by Sebastian Stanton with 32.

Jack Hastie led the bowlers with 2/25 with Bodhi Stubber chiming in with 2/35.

Royals again lost early wickets being 2/15, but Matt Wolfe steadied the ship and put on a valuable partnership with Jack Steel (24) and they looked like victory was in sight.

Enter veterans Ryan Kinnear and Jeremy Stewart who quickly changed the course of the game.

Wolfe was still making runs at will but was rapidly losing partners as Kinnear bamboozled the middle-order and Stewart cleaned up the tail.

Wolfe was left stranded on 93 not out as Royals were all out for 172 in the 47th over.

Kinnear must surely be in discussions amongst the test selectors as he took consecutive five-wicket hauls, finishing with 5/38 off his 10 overs and Stewart claimed 4/34.

The final game saw Collingwood Park all out for 154 that Railways easily accounted for with the loss of six wickets in the 39th over.

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Tester’s victory creates history

GUN Formula 125 driver Jacinta Tester became the first female winner of the prestigious 31st Noel Pearson Memorial on Saturday at Attwell Park, tying with Jamie Langdon in the Limited Sprintcars.

The Memorial is awarded to the club member who has the highest points for the night with Tester and Langdon both having four wins from four starts.

The also acknowledged the contribution of two of its current members, Karla and Wayne Watson, who were awarded Life Membership.

Productions began the night with a solid nine-car field. Unfortunately this was reduced very early in the opening heat when Finlay Mills got caught out on the slick track spinning in front of the field to be collected by Paul Colmer and damaging her car.

After the resulting restart, former state champions Darren Blight and Ron Belfield gave the crowd a teaser of what was to come later, had it not been to a damaged diff in the second heat to Belfield and forcing him out.

Blight would go on to claim the three heats and the feature. The battle for second went down to the last couple of laps between Shane Devonshire and former Street Stock driver Paul Colmer who had returned driving the Jason Batchelor-owned Production.

Devonshire and Colmer ran the highline door-to-door for much of the 12-lap journey until the latter made a pass with just two laps to go, taking second away from Devonshire.

With cars coming from across the state, the Modified Sedans made a welcom return to a club meeting; they race hard, clean and often went three wide to put on a great show.

Debuting his newly-built VZ Commodore Kalgoorlie’s Brendan Selleck started off the back in the first heat to run up against the wall to draw first blood and take the win. Unfortunately during this heat the night went up in a bellow of white smoke for Bill Penn, whose engine let go in a big way.

The following two heats were just as fiercely fought as the first with Matt Kata and Sean Theyer being victorious.

In the final, Theyer started from pole position and during the opening stages raced side-by-side with a number of drivers until breaking free. Kata fell from a podium finish while running second when he almost spun in turn three and four and a number of cars narrowly avoided collecting him.

Paul Stevens, who had travelled from Narrogin, finished in second with Calon Ball, who missed a heat due to work rounded out the podium.

In the remaining divisions last year’s Noel Pearson winner Jason Batchelor (Street Stocks) plus Tyler Fulcher (Production Division 2) and Jasmin Kennedy (Juniors) all took out feature wins.

The club next event is on January 4 when it kicks off a big month with the USA vs WA Speedweek finale before hosting the final two nights of the USA Late Model Invasion Tour on January 18-19.

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Panthers ruthless in crushing Blues

PANTHERS smashed Crystal Blues by 45 points on Tuesday night in the Albany Basketball Association’s Women’s A-Grade competition to join Kinjarling Storm at the top of the ladder.

Despite the lobsided score, the game was played at a physically-frenetic pace with many bruising clashes and even blood being spilt.

Ella Scamozzi continued her outstanding year finishing with 17 points and she was one of five Panthers players to reach double figures in a consistent team effort.

Kayla Thomas with 12 points, Darcy Kerr and Madison Dallimore with 11, the latter shooting the lights out with three monster three-pointers, and Sheridan Kowald with 10 all played well.

The league’s outright leading scorer Valerie Corbett is an offensive juggernaut putting up James Harden-like numbers as she again led her team in scoring with 15 points but had little help from teammates.

The match between Valkyries and Raiders U18 Girls was cancelled while Kinjarling Storm had the bye.

In the Men’s A-Grade, Knights showed while they are two games clear on top as they accounted for Tigers by 30 points.

Henry Alforque led all scorers with 23 points whilst the league’s leading scorer Kye Griffiths still finished with 15 points but was down after consecutive 30+ point games.

For Tigers, Bodhi Holmes stood out with 21 points including a couple from downtown.

There were euphoric scenes as Blazers finally overcame their drought, winning their first game beating Railways Tigers by four points.

Jeffery Fitzpatrick with 13 points and Zac Pearson with 12 helped carry their team to the narrow victory.

For Railways, Kyle Smith with 11 and Cyrus Upson on 10 points threatened to chase down the total.

In the final match, Ambassadors went on a scoring spree against Barking Owls winning 80-54.

Caleb Carman got off the leash totaling a game-high 24 points, Todd Knuiman had his best game of the year with 19 while three-point king David Arthur hit three from long-range in his 15 points.

For the Owls, Xavier Brenton-Reed tallied 15 points supported by Tristan Mckenzie with 13.

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Coach scores role in West Indies

FORMER Albany cricketer Chris Brabazon will be living the dream when he jets out in 11 days to Antigua to commence his new job with Cricket West Indies (CWI).

He is currently the Coach Development Manager for the Western Australian Cricket Association but takes on the role as National Coach Education Manager with CWI, formerly the West Indies Cricket Board.

Brabazon commenced his A-grade career with local team Collingwood Park when he was 15 and played for six seasons, winning a premiership.

A talented sportsman, he played colts football for Royals before crossing to play league for North Albany.

His younger brother Ryan played for the Sydney Swans in the AFL.

Brabazon said he first went over to the West Indies in 2016 with Cricket Australia to coordinate coaching courses.

Eighteen months later, CWI made contact through former 54-test cricket star Jimmy Adams who raised the role with Brabazon.

But the job was put on ice until Ricky Skerrit took over the CWI presidency earlier this year and one of his main priorities was developing West Indian coaches.

Brabazon was contacted again, and this time he signed on for a three-year deal.

“My priority is to develop a national framework looking after the coaches development, and focusing on level two to level three accreditations,” he said.

“The West Indies comprises 15 countries and territories and they are all fiercely independent so it can be a tricky situation.

“So I’ll find out what their philosophy is and then try and implement it.

“Previously it’s been a scattergun approach as the islands drive themselves but now they want their own national system.

“It’s taken them a while to get to this point but to be fair, Australian cricket weren’t that far advanced to them.

“For example, seven years ago my job didn’t exist.”

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Grommets 20 years young

THE Granny Grommets, Albany’s most beloved community and sporting group, celebrates 20 years this Saturday.

The group formed from an over-50 recreational group in 1999 and continues to go from strength-to-strength now boasting about 80 members.

It’s oldest member, 85-year-old Margaret White, only took up body-boarding 10 years ago.

There are currently four octogenarians in the group.

Since the group formed, it has clocked up some impressive publicity featuring on popular cooking and lifestyle series Surfing the Menu presented by renowned chefs Curtis Stone and Ben O’Donoghue.

They have also featured in numerous newspapers including The Australian, were interviewed by media personality George Negus, had a book written about them by local author Diane Wolfer as well as launching their own cookbook.

The Granny Grommets also raise funds for major charities.

The members have been coached by Albany surfing legend Tony Harrison who also schools them on how to handle rips, study the tides and water safety.

In appreciation of his services and dedication, the group nominated him for Australia Day honours where he was successful in being named a Western Australian Premier’s Active Award winner.

A highlight for members is the annual surf trip where the group camp out at Bremer Bay to surf all day, then swap stories around the campfire drinking mulled wine.

Lyn Brady summed up the group’s philosophy saying is was “all about ageing with attitude”.

The groups meets for a surf every Friday morning, rain, hail or shine, at Surfers carpark, east of Middleton Beach.

The celebrations commence at 11am at the Stirling Club on Saturday.

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Peaks climb to the top

MANYPEAKS remain unbeaten and a game clear on top of the ladder after they defeated Mt Barker by 84 points on Saturday in the Albany Cricket Association A-Grade competition.

Inspirational captain Aran Tilbury finally found some form top scoring with a scintillating 42.

Plenty of others got starts including Jack Dawson (35), Declan McNamara (34) and Kieren Howie (30 not out).

Manypeaks finished on 8/205 after their 45 overs with an astonishing 29 wides boosting their total.

Noah Middleton with 2/35 off nine overs and Jeremy Wood, 2/38, were the pick of the bowlers.

Mt Barker’s chase started horribly, losing three quick wickets before Wood steadied the ship, bringing up a well-compiled half-century.

But he was run out soon after on 53, and then McNamara came on to clean up the tail, finishing with the impressive figures of 4/26.

Collingwood Park won their first game of the year defeating the winless Denmark by 79 runs at McLean Park on Saturday.

Openers Mathew Heberle and Jesse Spaanderman were back in the pavilion in quick time but that only brought out the in-form Nathan Dovey who smashed a quick-fire 90, after a marvelous 81 last week.

Nathan Degraaf made 32 and Adam Ditchburn hit out late in the order making 39 valuable runs.

Bradley Stewart was almost unplayable finishing with 4/19 off his nine overs while Graeme King and Aden Montague both took a couple of scalps.

Demark’s innings started brightly with Daniel Robson taking to the attack and Park’s total of 209 looking in reach as they raced to 2/91.

But once Robson was caught on 57, the wheels collapsed as they lost 7/39 to be all out for 130.

Spaanderman did most of the damage as he mopped up the tail taking 4/15.

The Railways and Royals match was abandoned before a ball was bowled with pitch conditions considered too dangerous.

Next week, matches will be played on Sunday due to the Albany Agricultural Show.

Mt Barker take on Railways, Denmark play Manypeaks and Collingwood Park clash with Royals.

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Team Indigenous roller derby clash

ALBANY Roller Derby League’s final game of the year is set to be a special one.

The club has invited Team Indigenous Dreaming, a group of indigenous athletes from across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Mauritius and Singapore, to play their first ever Western Australia game in Albany.

ARDL President Natalie Jarvis said the highly anticipated event would cap off an already excellent year for the League and celebrate diversity in the sport.

“We have had a great year with a lot of gameplay across WA, a lot of wins and some losses,” she said.

“Having Team Indigenous come together for the first time in WA to play is amazing.”

The November 16 game will officially begin at 7pm following a Welcome to Country by Elder Vernice Gillies.

It will be followed on Sunday by a free skating workshop and barbecue lunch for teens and Aboriginal young people aged seven to 17.

Team Indigenous Dreaming’s Cassandra Edwards said the two roller derby groups would donate match proceeds to the Baldjamaar Foundation, a local Aboriginal service providing programs for at-risk Indigenous youth.

“Our aim is to create visibility for Indigenous skaters in roller derby and to raise awareness about and support issues that affect our people,” Ms Edwards said.

“It’s so important for us to be able to come together and Albany are a wonderful league who are doing a lot of hard work in the roller derby community for various groups with diverse backgrounds.

“For us, it’s never about the points on the scoreboard but about being together and supporting each other and the community we’re in.”

The Albany showdown will mark the second time Team Indigenous Dreaming’s far-flung members have come together to play.

Their first game was in late 2018 for the sport’s Australian National Championships.

“We are hoping for a big crowd to cheer both teams on and showcase women in sports and more specifically indigenous women in sports,” Ms Jarvis said.

“We strongly believe that you can’t be what you can’t see.”

Tickets can be purchased via

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Female football program kicks off

GREAT Southern women hoping to follow in the footsteps of soccer superstars like Sam Kerr have reason to be excited.
A female-only football program launched in Katanning last week has already drawn in more than 20 young women keen on learning the sport and potentially forming a local club.

Football West Great Southern Development Officer Sarthak Mishra, who is coordinating the initiative, said the aim was to build a “sustainable structure” and ongoing league in the town.

“Football West is committed in servicing its regional areas and part of that is to deliver tailored programs in the regions,” he said.

“Ever since we ran a MiniRoos Kick Off program and Street Football in Katanning, we had inquiries about creating an ongoing program.

“This month, the Katanning Leisure Centre reached out to me and mentioned there is a group of girls who want to play.”

According to Football West figures, soccer is one of the fastest growing sports in the nation.

There are currently around 40,000 female players in Western Australia marking a near 40 per cent increase from the 2016 to 2018 period.

“That’s an astonishing growth and justifies a strong need to run more and more female-only programs,” Mr Mishra said.

“Having a female-only program in Katanning will provide participants an opportunity to learn and showcase their skills, reduce travelling and enable them to enjoy the sport in a comfortable social setting.

“We also have interest from Albany players to potentially come up and play friendly games in the near future.”

The program’s participants will meet at the Regional Recreation ground adjacent to the Leisure Centre every Monday at 4:30pm.

Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to show up on the day.

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