Seems like I should not be trying to offload my Ashes tickets just yet amid news that Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association are drawing closer to a resolution to the ongoing pay dispute.
I guess, the fact the past week has seen both parties behind closed doors and at least talking to each other gives us all hope. Makes you shake your head and wonder if that would not have been the most sensible path to follow earlier in the negotiations. I did, of course, use the word sensible, and there does not appear to have been much of that until now.
It appears the tour of Bangladesh and subsequent tour to India before the Ashes will now go ahead leaving a whole lot of people very relieved.
The pay dispute however might not be the biggest problem for the Aussies in November December when they face the Poms. England has played some outstanding cricket in their recent series against South Africa. The Proteas are smarting after England gave them a hiding.
We will have an advantage on our home pitches and in front of a home crowd, but this series is not going to be any cake walk. At least our players should be well rested and hopefully fully fit after their period of unemployment. Doubt, however, that they have been in the Centrelink queue.
Let’s hope by this time next week common sense and common ground has prevailed for the good of the game. Can’t wait to get some perspective on the matter from Ian Healy and John Buchanan on the upcoming Wanderers Tour.
BUSINESS END UPSETS
It is generally an indication that the NRL season is getting to the really serious stage when you see the bottom two teams in the competition notching up unexpected wins over opponents who have outperformed them all season. Such was the case in Round 21, and it definitely was the undoing of many tipsters.
The Knights have been promising their long suffering fans a win for weeks and last week they caused an almighty upset putting the Dragons to the sword. Yes there were some dodgy decisions, but surely the Knights fans deserve that win. Paul ‘Mary’ McGregor not so enamoured and after letting his feelings be known on refereeing, officialdom and a few other topics finds himself a little lighter in the pocket. The NRL boffins clearly not impressed.
The Tigers then upped the ante in the race for the wooden spoon with a comprehensive win over the Titans leaving their supporters asking where that form has been for the past 20 something weeks and tipsters reeling.
The Eels were electric against the Broncos last week, and they will only need to repeat a fraction of that performance to notch another win here. Look for a surge from the Eels as the run towards the finals continues.
On Friday night, the Dragons will be breathing fire after their loss to Newcastle and should account for the Bunnies. Michael Maguire will be hoping for a far better performance from the Rabbitohs, and he too was not happy with last week’s refereeing. Might be that some in the Bunnies’ board room are not happy with his performance also.
Melbourne Storm led by the mercurial Cameron Smith put on a master class against the Sea Eagles last week. Smith played at his very best in game 350 earning another Man of Match award and maybe on his way to the 2017 Dally M Medal. This week Melbourne take on the Cowboys at 1300 Smiles in a Friday night game and welcome back Billy Slater after “that incident”.
The Cowboys looked to be cruising against the Raiders last week before losing their way and the game. Coach Green will be looking for more from them against the premiership favourites. Leaning towards the Storm despite being on Cowboys home territory.
The Warriors could not match it with the 2016 premiers at Mt Smart last week, and this week travel to Newcastle to try and bring down the Knights Saturday afternoon, and Newcastle at home after a win last weekend – you must give them some chance. Hope they can go back to back.
The Queensland Derby sees the Broncos travel down the M1 to CBUS for their clash with the Titans. The Titans didn’t do enough for me last week. They will lift here, but the Broncos need this win and should get the chocolates.
Tough game on Sunday at Shark Park as the defending premiers take on the Raiders. The Raiders do not have a bad record against the Sharks at home, and have been a thorn in their side in recent years, but this is the serious end of the season, and I think the Sharks will aim up here.
The Sea Eagles were pummelled by the Storm last Sunday. Is it a form slump to be concerned about or was last weekend purely the occasion of Smith’s 350th. Supporters will be hoping for the latter – I think it might be the former and expect they will get another bath this weekend from the Roosters.
It is off to Pepper stadium for the final game of the round – the battle of the Clearys. Panthers coach Ivan Cleary busy this week plotting the downfall of his son’s side the Tigers. Should make for an interesting aside to the game. The Tigers looked good against the Titans while the Panthers were not as impressive against the hapless Doggies. With the home ground advantage, I’m sticking with the Panthers and Senior Cleary to out-wit junior Cleary.
GETTING SERIOUS IN TANNY
Round five of the Tanny Classic was played last Saturday and following an afternoon of great bowls and plenty of good-natured heckling and banter, it is Matty Shepherd who heads into the final round at the top of the leader board.
Shepherd who is taking the role at the top of the leader board far too seriously this week was on Saturday’s overall winning team. Levi Rabbitt, Joe Farmer, Matty Shepherd and Pete Gynther proved too good for their opponents on Saturday defeating Deb Islin, Geoff Farmer, Allen Buse and Darren Rabbitt 21-12.
Mavis Lawardon Sue Butz and TB had a 15-8 win over Ash Coleman, Di Walsh and Koala and picked up the runners-up prize on Saturday.
The team of Don Neale Gazza Penn and Pete Collis had a 17-11 win over Lyn Coleman Thommo and Mick O’Leary.
Pete Collis picked up enough points to be trailing by just one point on the Tanny Classic leader board, but hot on his heels is the young gun Levi Rabbitt who is still in with a chance with 15 points.
Quinton Coleman Brian Walsh and Grumpy had a 13-7 win in their game against Julie Buse, Don Clouten and Geoff Creighton.
It is going to be a big day on Saturday for the final – who knows what Matty Shepherd has in store for his opponents – there is word he is even practising in the dark this week. We do know it is going to be a bid day on Saturday for the final.
BOUNDING AROUND WARWICK
If you are a runner looking for a new opportunity to keep fit, then why not try street orienteering. The Bullecourt Boulder Bounders are extending an open invitation to all runners to join them in a series of street orienteering events being conducted on the Southern Downs over the coming weeks. The first event being held at Federation Park in Warwick this Sunday, 6 August
Publicity officer for the Bullecourt Boulder Bounders, Liz Bourne, says street orienteering provided an interesting new way to exercise as it combined running with a mental challenge.
Ms Bourne said, “It’s like a car rally on foot with only basic navigational skills required “Our series last year proved very popular with keen runners enjoying exercising their brains as well as their body while walkers and family groups also had fun testing their map reading abilities.”
The event this Sunday will be held in Federation Park near the bridge over the Condamine River which starts from 2.30pm – 3.30pm.
Entry fee is $5, and no special gear is required. Compasses will be available and can be borrowed from organisers.
Organisers have planned three street courses – three, five and seven kilometres, be an easy course around the park for juniors.
Anyone interested in giving street orienteering a try is encouraged to come along.
The Bullecourt Bounders will be holding further street events in Killarney on Saturday 12 August and in Leslie Park on 20 August. Anyone looking for further information should contact Liz Bourne on 4683 6374 or visit the website www.oq,asn.au/events-calendar.
OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUNG NETBALLER
It seems the Southern Downs may be well on the way to producing another top notch netballer. Talented Warwick player Caitlin Skaines was surprised to receive an invitation to join a group of emerging netballers at a four-day camp in Caloundra in September.
The Year 9 Assumption College student is believed to have caught the selector’s eye at the inter-district finals and the state age championships.
Skaines who plays goal defence in the senior netball competition for The Heat will join a group of around 70 players from across Queensland at the camp. At the conclusion of the camp, a state training squad is expected to be named. A future netball star on the rise, perhaps.
O’BRIEN AND REEVES WINNING COMBO
Stanthorpe golfers Mick O’Brien and Rob Reeves combined nicely on Saturday to claim a win in the 4BBB stableford end of month medley competition sponsored by club president, Stephen Kay.
It was a very closely contested event. The pair combined well returning scores of 23 on the front nine and 25 on the back. There score of 48 just two points ahead of runners-up Alan Kerr and Bob Watts.
Having recorded 26 points on the outward nine, they were in a strong position, but a one point at the 12th par three was very costly, leaving them with 20 points for the inward nine.
Pin shots went to Angelo Maugeri at three, Len Leigh at 12 and Aaron Simmers at 17.
Tric Fittock picked up the ladies’ pin at three and Kay Webb had best approach at 17.
Wes Smith collected the pro-pins at 5/14 and 9/18 (almost all three for a second time). Mike McAuliffe claimed the other at 1/10. The Birdies Nest at seven went to runner-up, Alan Kerr.
In the run down, it was a ball each to all teams with 45 points and better.
How quickly the months roll around. This week play will be for the August monthly medal and putting competitions. Sponsor of the round is local business house, Ginos Floorcoverings.
Tee off will be from 11.00 am. There is a Time sheet is on the board at the club house and hopefully all players will be back in the warmth of the club house before it gets too cold.
RICHARDSON CELEBRATES MILESTONE WITH WIN
There were celebrations all round last week at association croquet as Val Richardson celebrated a great milestone – her 80th birthday. The well wishes flowed and a cake (thanks to Margaret Dickenson) was cut and shared. How better for Val to top off the celebrations than with a win on the court. Partnered by Grace Howard, the pair nailed a 17-15 win over Val Shephard and Heather Widderick. The winners played very well (must have been Margaret’s cake) – Grace Howard scoring a break of six in the game. Andrea Denkewitz teamed with Sharyn Roser in a game against Margaret Dickenson. In a close game Dickenson proved too strong winning 18-16.
Inglewood Sporting Shooters Assoc put competition on hold last weekend to hold an important working bee on the Bosniak Road range. It turned out to be a very productive day with members travelling from afar to get stuck in with a bit of fun and a barbecue after the hard work.
You know what they say about all work and no play – so this week the club is hosting Single Action and Shotgun competition. Put on your cowboy hat and boots and check it out.
TOUGH WINTER CONDITIONS
Numbers for gateball were down on Friday and four games were decided with three players per team.
In the opening two games, John Draper, Jenny Tunbridge and Andrea Denkewitz played the Red balls against the team of Margaret Dickenson, Sharyn Roser and Grace Howard with White. Game One went the way of the Red Team 12-8 as Denkewitz perfectly executed a good long “bomb” (knocking two balls out at once). Grace Howard hit a nice long shot to prevent Red from gaining an extra turn with a “gate and touch” but it was not enough to prevent them from taking the win.
The White Team hit back in game two, scoring a decisive 16-7 win as Sharyn Roser picked up an extra turn for her team with a “gate and touch”. Margaret Dickenson was also in good form, hitting some good long shots to spark opposition balls out.
Game three was a dour affair with both teams struggling to take control. Red managed some late points to win 12 – 8.
In the final game, White hit back to take a 15-9 win. Andrea Denkewitz starred, scoring two agaris.
Players are definitely finding conditions difficult at present. Recent heavy frosts have made the court quite slippery. It is hard to control a spark shot, one of the most important shots in the game. Conditions are also making it tough to stop the ball from slipping under the foot. Spring will be a welcome visitor.
PURCELL TOO HOT
Members and guests of the Wallangarra Golf Club played a single stableford competition last Saturday.
Jamie Purcell was in red hot form and for the third consecutive week came out on top. Not too far off was runner-up Nick Hurtz. Tony Murphy claimed the captain stakes. Kevin Williams held the approach shot on the second hole. Junior won the Jnr comp and is improving every week. This week’s round for the July Monthly Medal will be sponsored by the Wallangarra Railway Way great supporters of the club. A reminder that guests and novices are always welcome to join the Wallangarra crew.
SULLIVAN A STANDOUT
All players at golf croquet looked in good touch last week, however, Bev Sullivan was the standout performer.
Scores throughout the day were fairly even, but Sullivan managed a total score of 13 hoops over her two games, one full “first to thirteen” game and one short game.
Dianne Wren and Elaine Brown also played well and carded good scores of 11 over their two games. Sharyn Roser included a hoop in one in her 10 hoops for the day. Shirley Page and Justin Liddy both had nine hoops including a hoop in one from Liddy. Results were:
Dianne Wren and Shirley Page had a narrow 13-12 win over Justin Liddy and Sharyn Roser.
Bev Sullivan (playing two balls) did well to take a 13-10 win over Elaine Brown and Liz Ellway.
In later games, Elaine Brown and Justen Liddy partnered to take a 9-7 win over Liz Ellway and Shirley Page. Dianne Wren played two balls in her final game to score an 8-7 win over Bev Sullivan and Sharyn Roser.
There were some very close contests and great play from everyone throughout the day.
MITCHELL GETS A WIN
One of Sunday Sporters stalwarts, Jim Mitchell nailed a win last Sunday edging out another who has been around the sand traps for as long, runner-up Max Hunter. Ian Anderson scored the best gross. The run downs went to Marg Locke and Jamie Mitchell. Mark Lynam grabbed the pin shot on the 12th and also the pro pin. Jim McPherson took the remaining pin shot at 17. John Walsh and Brendon Hill each headed home with a meat tray. Tee off is at the normal time of 8am – 8.30am – plenty of time for that frost to thaw.
TRL RESULTS RAISE QUESTIONS
The results of round 17 of the TRL have left us with as many questions as answers. Eight sides remain in finals contention in what is emerging as an intriguing competition. Wattles burst into favouritism for the main prize following a very convincing win over Highfields on the weekend.
Valleys now sit at the top of the table on 26 points after their win over the Cowboys. Dalby and Pittsworth are each on 24 points. Highfields are now in fourth spot on 20 points followed by Wattles (18), Gatton (16) and the Cowboys and Souths two points back on (14). The line-up for the finals which begin on 13 August depend heavily on results in the last fixture round this weekend.
The Cowboys will be desperate to finish their season with a win over Highfields at Fr Ranger Oval on Saturday night. It is a must win game for the Cowboys who also need other results to fall their way of they are to make it to the finals.
Last week, they took on the competition leaders and although they still have several of their team sidelined with injury, they were bolstered by the return of Dylan Galloway. Three of the under-18 players Mitch Watson, Kai Etherington and Coen Martin-Brown backed up to play in the A Grade side. The Cowboys opened the scoring, but had problems all afternoon containing the Valleys fullback.
Mick Bloomfield, Craig Donn and Mitch Watson all scored for the Cowboys while prolific goal kicker Dan Watson added two more conversions to his tally for the season which now sits at 52. Captain Paul Cantwell again led from the front and had a strong game. The final score against the ladder leaders 52-16.
In other games, Valleys had a 42-24 win in Reserve Grade and in a tight game defeated the Warwick under-18s, 30-28. The Cowboys only win came from the second division team who had a 42-18 win.
A GRADE: Valleys 52 (Hnaloan Budden 2, Reggie Munn 2, Dylan Chown, Aaron Sillitoe, Liam Capewell, Emmanuel Cerei, Luke Menhinnitt, Johnson Viane tries Emmanuel Cerei 6 goals) defeated Warwick 16 (Michael Bloomfield. Craig Donn, Mitch Watson tries Dan Watson 2 goals)
WATTLES PLAY THEMSELVES INTO THE MIX
Wattles enhanced their 2017 premiership credentials with what many saw as an upset win over Highfields last week. Playing on Highfields home turf, Wattles set up their win with a blistering first half. The Warriors came with their game day faces on and scored six answered tries as Highfields struggled to get into the game. It was arguably their best half of footy this season.
Matt Duggan was once again instrumental in the win, setting up his back line to score almost at will in the first half as his side went to the break with the score at 30-0. Fullback Jackson Green proved a handful for the Eagles and scored a sensational solo try just before half time, earning himself the Toowoomba Sports Club Player of the Day award. Ryan Duggan who tracked Brother Matt all game scored a double and was named the Hutchies Player of the Round.
Highfields had no answers making uncharacteristic and fundamental mistakes as they were dominated by the Warriors. They did hit back with tries in the second half, but the horse had well and truly bolted and they were well beaten. The final score 46-18
Wattles have played themselves into premiership contention in recent weeks, and on Saturday finish their season with a home game against the front-runners Valleys. Valleys are the only team Wattles have not beaten this season and this is sure to be a great game.
In other games, Highfields won both under-18s (60-12) and Reserve Grade (44-10).
A GRADE: Wattles 46 (Ryan Duggan 2, Josh Henry 2, Matt Duggan, Jackson Green, Braydon Wilson, Brendan Wilson tries Matt Duggan 7 goals) defeated Highfields 18 (Wayne Weribone 2, Cooper Bowyer, Aaron Hooper tries Jarred Lee goal)
EXCITING FINISH TO PATRON’S CUP
On Saturday, the Stanthorpe Gremlins hosted the second of the double header games this season and it was certainly an action-packed afternoon.
The Inglewood Roosters defended the Patron’s Cup in a gutsy effort that saw them score in the dying seconds of the opening game against Tenterfield.
The Tenterfield Tigers raced away to an early 24-nil lead, but poor discipline allowed the Roosters back into the game and the Tigers paid a heavy price. The Tigers lead narrowed to 24-18 at half time after a raft of silly penalties and loss of possession due to turnovers.
Inglewood took full advantage of some sloppy Tigers defence and after the half time break extended their lead to 40-24 before a late surge from the Tigers got them back into the game.
The game looked to be going to extra time, with the scores locked up at 40-all and just a minute on the time clock, but Inglewood seized an opportunity and ran the ball the length of the field as Shane Hooper set up Brent Hearne to score on full time. The final score after the successful conversion 46-40.
The converted try handed the Roosters back-to-back victories in the Patron’s Cup once again denying Tenterfield as they did last season. It is the third year the Tigers have played in the Patron’s Cup only to come up empty-handed on each occasion.
With the Roosters claiming the all-important two points, they now move one point clear on the BRL leader board. It was a costly loss for the Tigers who are now only a remote chance of claiming the minor premiership and a home grand-final. Inglewood would need to be beaten by either Killarney or Stanthorpe and the Tigers win both of their final fixture games.
If the Roosters secure the Minor premiership, the best the Tigers can hope for is a home semifinal.
It makes their clash with Killarney at Charlie Andrew this weekend in round three of the double headers an all-important game.
Captain coach Brendan Minns will be looking for a more disciplined performance from his players when they take on the Cutters who are sure to be strong at home.
The Cutters will be bolstered by their performance in game two of the double header last weekend where they toughed out a gutsy win over the Gremlins. Final score 26-12.
Playing with only 12 players, the side pulled together and really put in for each other. It was one of Killarney’s best performances this season making good metres up the centre of the park.
Hamish Hoffman was named the Cutters Players Player. Another who really stood up in the game was fullback Matt Cole.
In an important home game this weekend, the Cutters are expected to be at full strength for their clash with the Tigers while the Gremlins look to have a tough job ahead of them against the Roosters. But as we saw last weekend anything can happen in a game of rugby league.
Seems like I should not be trying to offload my Ashes tickets just yet amid news that Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association are drawing closer to a resolution to the ongoing pay dispute.