Cricket future in doubt

JUNIOR cricket in Albany could soon come to an end if replacements for outgoing Albany Junior Cricket Association committee members are not found soon.

None of the attendants at the AJCA annual general meeting early last week put up their hands to fill the roles of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer for the next season.

Current President Jackie Boyce said without a committee to coordinate things like fundraisers and competitions, the sport was unlikely to continue.

“If the people want to play cricket and there’s no opportunity for them, then they’ll just play another sport or they won’t get to fulfil that desire,” she said.

“That has a flow-on effect. If the kids aren’t playing junior cricket then they’re not going to grow up to play senior cricket.”

Ms Boyce served as the AJCA’s secretary for two years before taking on the top spot.

She said like herself, most of the committee were leaving due to “personal reasons”.

“For me, three years on the executive is enough and it’s time for new ideas and new people to get involved,” she explained.

“People are not staying in those executive positions as long, maybe because there is a lot more frameworks that you have to fit in with.

“There’s a lot more paperwork and liability which also makes it more time consuming and people just don’t have as much time.”

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington began his own cricket career as a junior and said it was “a shame” the AJCA was struggling.

“There’s a lot of enjoyment in sport. It’s a big part of our lives,” he said.

“Unfortunately it’s a fact of life these days that you’ve got to have volunteers to run these things.”

He said volunteer organisations often experienced “revolving situations” where parent committee members whose children outgrew a junior sport left as they did.

“I think the solution is basically with the parents of the children that are playing at the time,” he said.

The AJCA’s conundrum comes as the State Government moves to expand cricket in the Great Southern.

Two forums exploring the future direction of junior and senior cricket in the region are set to run in Albany and Katanning at the end of the month.

They will be coordinated by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) alongside the Western Australian Cricket Association and WA Country Cricket.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Mick Murray said the events would provide a “terrific resource” for the AJCA and “clearly comes at a very timely point for the club as it looks to attract new members”.

“I’d encourage anyone who is interested in junior cricket to step up and nominate for one of the vacant AJCA committee positions,” he said.

“Volunteering in such grassroots sports groups can be a rewarding experience, both for the volunteers and the junior players.”

Mr Murray noted the DLGSC’s online resource Every Club Hub could provide guidance on all things related to running local sports clubs.

“Personally, I believe sport is an important, character-building tool for children where they can gain an understanding of the concept of rules and boundaries early on in life,” he said.

The AJCA will host an extraordinary meeting at the cricket pavilion at 6pm on Monday July 1, with the hope of finding the replacements.

The findings from the Albany and Katanning forums are expected to be available for review around the middle of next month.

Continue Reading

Biking event approved

DENMARK time trial mountain biking event Monkey Rock Speed Run was unanimously approved for a second year at a Shire of Denmark council meeting earlier this week.

Last year’s event, hosted by the Denmark Mountain Bike Club and held at Mount Hallowell, was heralded a triumph with 55 competitors ripping down the track.

Club President Nathan Devenport spoke to councillors during public question time and said the event was a huge success.

“There was heaps of support from the surrounding community,” he said.

“Only one quarter of competitors were actually from Denmark with the rest coming from Albany and beyond.

“With how well it went, please just let us shred.”

Last year’s male adult category winners went to Bobby Cooper with a time of 1:12.32, Hayden Kinnear in second at 1:14.84 and Devenport in third at 1:17.56.

For the female adult riders, Dinah Roecker came in first at 1:32.06, Ingrid Fuhrmann in second at 1:36.66, and Corinne Stoner in third at 1:42.68.

Mr Devenport also received praise from councillors for adopting a plastic-free policy for the event prior to the Shire adopting their own Sustainable Events Policy in August last year.

He said as a club they had always made sure that every event since they started in 2017 was as plastic free as possible.

“We’re very conscious of our impact,” Mr Devenport said.

“It’s always been a major component of our club and the event to protect the environment.”

Councillor Kingsley Gibson said it was a real buzz to watch riders come down the trail.

“I’d be way too scared to go down Monkey Rock,” he joked.

“I’m glad it [the event] didn’t hurt the environment and I’m excited to watch the next one.”

Councillors voted unanimously to allow the Denmark Mountain Bike Club to hold their second Monkey Rock Speed Run on August 4.

Continue Reading

Program success

A FREE roller-skating and mental wellbeing program for teenage girls will likely continue into next year after the Albany group behind it became one of only two around the world selected to receive a grant worth thousands.

Funding for the Albany Roller Derby League’s (ARDL) Skate like a Girl program, which combines weekly skating sessions with mental health literacy lessons coordinated by headspace, was set to run out at the end of 2019.

ARDL President Natalie Jarvis said United States skating organisation Girls on Track Foundation (GOTF) selected the group to receive the grant because of the work it had already been doing.

“Last year, we saw over 80 girls participate in Skate like a Girl and this year our first two terms have been more than full,” she said.

“We do roller skating and roller hockey and we provide an overall safe space where the girls can fail and fall and learn that mental resilience that comes through a physical sport like roller derby.

“The girls generally come for one term or more and in a few weeks they’re jumping things, skating backwards, learning how to skate fast.

“The Girls on Track Foundation is hopefully going to keep that alive.”

A $13,000 grant provided by Healthway has allowed Skate like a Girl to operate at no cost for participants for the past two years.

According to Ms Jarvis, this meant the program brought together girls from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.

“We’ve had young people from all different walks of life, all different schools, all different experiences … that’s a real testament to the space being inclusive and diverse and welcoming for all,” she said.

GOTF President Carla Smith said many families could not afford the $200 or more it cost to buy the skates, pads and helmets necessary to participate in roller-skating safely.

She said of the more than 40 applications for funding the organisation received, ARDL was one of the strongest and most likely to have a wide impact.

“Their successful Skate like a Girl program and their aspirations to grow it and reach lower income families fit with our organisation’s goals of expanding awareness of and access to roller derby for teenage girls,” she said.

“Participation in roller derby helps girls develop confidence, leadership and organisational skills with lifelong benefits for skaters and their communities.”

Ms Jarvis said she hoped the League would receive around $15,000 to cover operational costs in 2020.

The GOTF grant will be raised through a crowd- funding campaign and anyone interested in donating can visit

Continue Reading

Royals leap to victory

ROYALS cemented their position as kings of the pack last Friday night after winning their Great Southern Football League derby match against Albany by 30 points.

For the first half of the match Royals were able to keep Sharks at bay with a comfortable 12-point lead.

Royals dropped the ball in the third quarter with Sharks kicking a blitzkrieg of points to cement a short-lived lead of seven points.

By the final siren Royals cemented their win 12.13 (85) to Sharks’ 8.7 (55).

Top kickers for Royals went to Hamish McMorran with three goals and Tyreice Brown with two goals with Sharks’ Taj Williams (3), Robert Lee (3) and Kieran Gowdie (2) scoring the highest kickers for the match.

Saturday’s match between Railways and Mount Barker had the Bulls running for the hills after a 65-point defeat.

Bulls’ John Lee (2), Jesse Wynne (2) and Dionne Woods put up an admirable fight but Rail- ways’ consistent goals gave them their sixth win for the season, 17.5 (107) to 5.12 (42).

Sunday’s match between Denmark-Walpole and North Albany was close with the Magpies coming out on top 12.9 (81) to 10.16 (76).

This weekend’s fixtures have Royals playing Railways on Saturday at Centennial Oval and Mount Barker playing Denmark Walpole at Sounness Park.

On Sunday, North Albany will play Albany at Collingwood Park.

Continue Reading

Albany scores hockey nationals

HOCKEY players from across the nation will converge on Albany later next year when the town hosts the Australian Country Hockey Championships for the first time in its history.

The event will see the best players from regional areas of every state compete at multiple matches over an entire week and will coincide with the completed resurfacing of the Lower Great
Southern Hockey Association’s (LGSHA) hockey pitch.

LGSHA President Sam Brown said Albany was the perfect location for such a major tournament, especially with the new pitch.

“Albany is the biggest place down here for hockey,” he said.

“The fact we’re getting a new turf installed for next season, that’s probably one of the major reasons why we got to host the event. It will be of international standard and be great.

“In addition to the facility, I think it’s everything Albany has to offer in terms of a tourist destination … it’s the whole package.”

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said the new turf would be jointly funded by the City and the Federal Government.

“Hockey in Albany attracts an incredible number of participants and some of our players, like Kathryn Slattery, have gone on to represent Australia,” he said.

“[The new turf] will provide a state-of-the-art facility for hockey in our region that will continue to support player development.”

The first Championships were held in 1982 as a men’s only competition.

Hockey Australia Country Convenor Michael Nelson said local players would benefit when Albany hosted next year’s round of the tournament.

“It is an exciting opportunity for the association to highlight our sport in the region,” he said.

“The Championships will provide locals with an opportunity to witness national hockey on their local turf and provide administrators and aspiring players a first-hand experience of such a standard.”

The Albany tournament will run next year from August 8 to 15.

This year’s Championships are set to take place in Shepparton, Victoria.

Continue Reading

Casey makes state team

FOR MORE than a month, Bethel Christian School student Casey Griffiths has been making the long car trip to and from Perth at least two times a week.

What began as a number of competitive tryouts for the 15s netball WA state team soon became a series of practice sessions for that same team, with Casey having been selected for the state side out of a pool of about 300 girls.

“It’s really exciting and encouraging to have made that team and it makes me question how far I could go with my netball,” she said.

“I just like having a competitive sport, I’ve always been competitive.”

The 15-year-old will compete for WA at this July’s 2019 Interstate Netball 15s event in Caloundra in Queensland, which will see state teams from across Australia battle it out at the State Netball Centre over the course of a week.

While Casey has been playing netball for about five years and recently competed at regional and metro events, she said there’s still a lot to learn before game day.

“When I was younger, I actually played soccer because my brothers both played it, and then they said that soccer wasn’t a girl’s sport so they told me to play netball,” Casey said.

“I think I have to improve a lot more before I can go away and achieve as much as I want but I’m excited to see what I learn.

“I don’t think I would have gone as far without the encouragement of my coaches, family, friends, teachers and just the Albany netball community.”

Casey’s mother Cindy Griffiths said she was very excited about her daughter’s progress and was gathering fans to support her.

“It’s been a pretty long process going back and forth from Perth … it’s a big commitment for a country kid,” Ms Griffiths said.

“I think they’ll do well, I think WA has got a good chance.

Continue Reading

Connor’s goal to play World Cup

AN ALBANY student turned soccer player living with cerebral palsy could soon see himself jet off to Spain to represent Australia at the World Cup for paraplegic soccer.

Bethel Christian School’s Connor Moseley will travel to Sydney this weekend to attend one final training camp with Australia’s national paraplegic soccer team, the Pararoos.

The 15-year-old has been attending a series of these camps at the city’s Valentine Sports Park over the past two years and will soon find out whether he has been selected to play for the team at this July’s International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football World Cup in Seville.

“I was a bit nervous when I started there because I was the youngest player at the time, I still am to be honest,” he said.

“Now I’m probably going off to Spain to play against top teams.

“It means quite a lot to me because it shows I’ve made it on a professional level.

“I’ve probably got a good future ahead of me, something to look forward to, and it shows that all of this hard work is actually going towards a good cause.”

Connor was diagnosed with mild right-sided hemiplegia when he was about two years old and has grown up with some issues in his right hand, right leg and a little in his left leg.

“Sometimes it’s really hard for me because I get really frustrated about how I can’t use my right hand as well as I use my left,” he said.

Despite this, the young athlete has been playing soccer since pre-primary and has competed as part of the WA paraplegic men’s soccer team for nearly three years.

He was named young player of the tournament at last year’s national competition, where the state team placed fourth.

Connor’s father and former teacher at Bethel Justin Moseley said he was delighted to see how far his son had come.

“He certainly is passionate about his soccer and lives the game and the skills,” he said.

“He studies what to do and says ‘I’ll practise that particular move of that particular famous player until I get it right.’

“Disabled people have the decks stacked against them a little bit in terms of career options and this sort of thing is very helpful to help young people get some direction.”

Paraplegic soccer differs slightly from regular soccer.

Rather than having 11 players aside, paraplegic soccer teams have seven players each, play on smaller pitches and shoot into smaller goals.

The Pararoos were pooled into Group C for the 16-nation IFCPF World Cup tournament, alongside top-ranked Ukraine, Argentina and Spain.

Continue Reading

Racewars fate unknown

RACEWARS organisers have revealed the motorsport event’s fate hinges on receiving third party financial support after suffering a loss of more than $70,000 from this year’s meet.

On day two of the event in March this year, Albany-raised Brody Ford, 26, fatally crashed a 2010 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 at the Albany Regional Airport during Racewars (‘Racewars fatality under investigation’, 7 March).

On a Facebook post that has garnered support from petrol heads across the state, a Racewars spokesperson said they had suffered a “record loss” after being forced to close on that Sunday, their biggest day of trade.

“That loss is not insurable, we also do not wish to pursue recovery action to recoup that loss,” they said.

“We’re not that kind of event, we’re firmly community minded and we’ve got a heart.

“This means Racewars has outstanding financial commitments it cannot currently meet in spite of emergency loans from members of the event team.

“Racewars remains in negotiations with its creditors to resolve all outstanding invoices and is seeking support both from the council and commercial partners to stay solvent.”

The Racewars spokesperson said the event’s survival depended on the outcome of negotiations and without assistance “will be wound up”.

“We’ve now laid out our position and put everything out on the table, so now we lay out what the vision is to go forward,” they said.

“Our belief is that we can obtain the support from both State and local government and commercial partners and [that] we cannot just save the event, we can grow the event.

“The only way forward for us is to keep working and keep doing all we can to support the motorsport community and our host community.”

Minister for Sport and Recreation Mick Murray said the State Government had recently signed a financial agreement to commit $5.75 million for the development of a motorsport facility in Albany.

Minister Murray said the State Government would be unlikely to fund a race meet not sanctioned by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) and the Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA), such as Racewars.

“CAMS and ANDRA are two key regulatory bodies in Australia with responsibility for the development, regulation and administration of motorsport,” he said.

“Although it is not compulsory to gain CAMS or ANDRA sanctioning for a race meet to occur, I would encourage organisers of motorsport events to make safety their highest priority.

“It is unlikely the State Government would fund a race meet not sanctioned by the internationally recognised regulatory bodies.”

Minister Murray said the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries nor himself had received a formal request for funding or sponsorship from Racewars this year.

City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said Racewars organisers would not receive assistance from the City until they are able to provide assurances and evidence that they are able to remain financially viable into the future.

“The City of Albany is aware of Racewars’ financial situation and remains open to considering support for future events, but it is not Council’s role to underwrite debt owed to creditors for third-party events,” he said.

“There is a lot of support in the motorsport community for the Racewars event, and we hope they are able to resolve their current financial issues and continue to run successful events in the years ahead.

“We’ve been very supportive of Racewars and provided significant support since it came to Albany to provide a venue of resources, and complete infrastructure upgrades to make it a success.”

Racewars event director Jon Murray said their current financial position had them owing approximately $50,000 to external parties and approximately $20,000 to event staff who had lent money to cover some invoices.

“It’s clear that Racewars is socially sustainable,” he said.

“The response to our posts and your ongoing support indicates that socially the event is viable and has a bright future.

“Put simply, without long term funding arrangements from both commercial and government sources Racewars is not financially viable.”

Mr Murray said they accepted to run Racewars with low cost and high value.

“We knew there was risk with that but the trade off in having a larger audience was deemed worth the risk,” he said.

“What is clear is that this model works for you, and works for the community but does not work for us unless we have significant third party support to supplement the event’s revenues.

“We’re all happy to commit our time, our efforts and our variety of skills to the cause.

“What we’ve unanimously agreed on is we no longer wish to do so and then have to pick up the tab for it afterwards.”

Racewars will table a proposal to the City of Albany at their next council meeting on May 28 for a three-year deal to secure the event’s future.

“All we can ask for is the vote on the 28th to be favourable and then we can get down to work our plan to deliver on our vision for 2020, 2021 and 2022 and hopefully beyond,” Mr Murray said.

Continue Reading

Lions enjoy purrrfect season

ROYALS dominated the 2019 Great Southern Women’s Football League season claiming the premiership against Railways at Centennial Stadium on Friday night and remaining unbeaten throughout the year.

The Lions jumped out of the box with coach Claire Hard booting the first goal of the game.

The game then tightened up in front of a huge crowd and at half-time Royals went in 1.4 (10) whilst keeping the Tigers scoreless.

Kylie Douglas nailed a major after the long break and Royals turned for home 18 points up.

The Tigers had some scoring opportunities in the final term but couldn’t kick straight and Royals took out the game 2.6 (18) to Railways 0.3 (3).

The Lions’ Renae Parsons was awarded best-on-ground honours and she was ably supported by Abby Duncan, Tahlia Scott and Leah Field.

As victorious coach, Hard was ecstatic after guiding last year’s team to the grand final winning every game except the premiership.

“So to go one better this year was absolutely brilliant,” she said.

“We really have an amazing group of players.

“What is special is the range of ages, from 15-year-olds to 39-year-olds, all playing the game they love together.”

Hard said the GSWFL was continuing to grow with both increased numbers, participation and crowds and the skill level had improved dramatically.

She has already signed up to coach in 2020 and hoped the season would be extended to beyond six rounds and finals.

Following the women’s grand final, Albany Sharks hosted North Albany and the first quarter was an enthralling contest with Kangas holding the slimmest of leads 3.2 (20) to 3.1 (19).

But North kicked eight of the next nine goals to run away convincing winners 11.14 (80) to 4.6 (30).

Denmark-Walpole and Mt Barker clashed at Sounness Park with the home team taking the points in an entertaining game.

Mt Barker finished 14.13 (97), with Dionne Woods booting six goals well supported by Jesse Wynne with four, to the Magpies 11.4 (70).

In the final game on Sunday, Railways bucked the odds to beat Royals who had been ruthless in the opening two rounds.

The Lions lost two players in the warm-up before the game and never recovered with Railways compiling 11.17 (83) to Royals 8.7 (55).

Round four has Royals hosting Denmark-Walpole at Centennial Stadium on Saturday, Mt Barker play North Albany at Sounness Park and Railways play the Sharks on Sunday at Tigerland.

In other football news, the Albany Vikings AFL Masters will hold a Mixed Spectacular at Collingwood Park on Saturday afternoon.

Vikings President Sean Maguire said not since Nordic time have Viking men and women shared the battle ground.

“This coming weekend, lines will again be drawn in the grass,” he said.

“The Albany Vikings have invited the amazing GSFL women (and any budding superstar) to join them for a day and night of good fun and laughs with a mixed game of AFL with Masters rules followed by a dinner in the clubrooms.”

Masters rules include no tackling, no crashing into packs, fun is compulsory and, arguably the most important rule, everyone has to go to work on Monday.

Continue Reading

Tennis hub plans in play

THE City of Albany could house a state of the art regional tennis venue if plans discussed as part of an ongoing feasibility study set to be completed in June come to fruition.

The Lower Great Southern Tennis Association, the Department of Local Government, Sporting and Cultural Industries, Tennis West, four local tennis clubs and the City have been in discussions as part of the study since a consultant was hired to conduct it in October.

City Manager of Recreation Services Samantha Stevens said the study would assess the feasibility of establishing a regional tennis centre in the Great Southern to encourage growth and greater participation in the sport locally.

She said the study would consider “the medium to long-term needs of the sport in the Great Southern and recommendations for infrastructure and suitable sites”.

“Part of this process is to also consider a governance model that would work, and to measure both the economic and social value of pursuing a project like this,” Ms Stevens said.

Currently, there are four tennis clubs in Albany – the Emu Point Sporting Club, Merrifield Park Tennis Club, Lawley Park Tennis Club and the South Coast Tennis Club.

Albany differs from other major regional centres such as Bunbury, Geraldton, Busselton, and Kalgoorlie which have one large tennis facility each.

Vice President of the Lower Great Southern Tennis Association Les Bairstow said the quest to see a single regional tennis venue built in Albany had been underway for about 40 years.

“I can remember my father back in 1980 and a few people were trying to get it off the ground,” Mr Bairstow said.

“It’s been a huge amount of time for something that probably should have been built 30 years ago.”

Mr Bairstow said the study was exploring the idea of building a completely new facility in town and amalgamating existing clubs under one roof.

He said the money that would otherwise be spent renovating the various clubs in Albany could instead be used to build “an ace facility which, once built, would be the best regional venue in Australia”.

President of the Tennis Section of Emu Point Sporting Club Colin Veale said local clubs currently faced a variety of issues.

“The main issue for Lawley Park and Merrifield Park is resurfacing of their court … while this feasibility study is being undertaken, and until there’s some form of result, they have been unable to attract any funding to assist,” he said.

Mr Veale said the prevailing issue at his own club was a lack of younger tennis players.

“We have no involvement with junior tennis or junior coaching at all,” he said.

“[Tennis] is not as popular a sport as other sports … you get younger kids readily play football, soccer and maybe netball but there really hasn’t been a lot of people looking to play tennis.

“Those that do want to play have to travel a lot, particularly up to Perth, if they want to compete or access better training facilities.”

According to Mr Bairstow, a regional tennis venue in Albany could address a number of these concerns.

He said such a venue would allow Albany to host major junior and senior tournaments and events, something currently “impossible” because “you would have to send competitors in three different directions to three different clubs on three different types of surfaces”.

“There’s no floodlit tennis courts in Albany,” Mr Bairstow said.

“All the modern facilities have lights and are available until 9pm or 10pm at night, weekdays, weekends, for coaching purposes [but] we can’t open the courts up to anyone in the public that might want to play in the evenings.”

The only court with floodlights Albany players can access is in Mount Barker.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Mick Murray said while the study and consultation process was ongoing, it would be premature to consider how the construction of a regional venue would be funded.

Continue Reading