BENNETT SNARES TOP AWARD

By MAX GODBEE

YOUNG Yamba lifesavers Alyce Bennett and Jacob Lollback were the leading competitors in the 2005 Far North Coast Branch surf life saving championships at Fingal on Sunday.

In the tricky Fingal surf the pair snagged plenty of championship medals, with Bennett narrowly edging out Lollback for the competitor of the carnival award.

Bennett, 17, won the Opens and Under-19 ironwoman events as well as winning the open ski and open board titles.

She almost made it five championship wins but was beaten narrowly by Byron Bay's Rique Sharman in the women's Under-19 ski race.

Lollback and Kane Douglas finished second to Byron Bay in the Open board relay.

Lollback won the Under-17 ironman crown and added the surf and board race titles in the same age division.

He also lined up in the Open board championship, beating the older competitors in an impressive display.

Backing up his four individual wins, Lollback recorded a fifth success, again teaming with Douglas to capture the Under-17 board rescue championship.

Lollback appeared to have the Open surf race at his mercy too, only to see Byron Bay competitor Kane Battese slide past him on the biggest wave of the day to grab victory.

Kane Battese is the son of former Sydney rugby league first grader and 2001 Byron Bay rugby league coach Brian Battese.

Lollback teamed with Paul Cromack, Martin Dougherty and Douglas for second place behind Byron Bay in the Open surf teams championship.

Both Bennett and Lollback starred on the recent NSW Country tour of New Zealand.

Other Yamba members to go well were Kira Halvorson, who finished second to Cudgen's Hannah Julius in the Under-15 ironwoman championship and was third in the Under-15 board title won by Cudgen's Mariki Watego, while Dougherty was third in the Under-19 board championship.

The Yamba trio of Brody Rheinbrger, Kira Halvorson and Daniel Lollback paddled well to take third placing behind two Cudgen teams in the Under-15 board relay.

Evans Head Club was to the fore in the boat events winning four out of five, taking out the Open division from Yamba and Byron Bay. Evans Head then added the reserve, women's and masters titles to its collection.

Although Yamba provided the two top competitors at the championships, Byron Bay once again proved the best in the overall pointscore, amassing 372 points.

Cudgen came second, 45 points away on 327, and it was a long way back to third-placed Lennox Head on 128. Yamba was fourth of the eight clubs on 126.

Cudgen had the most wins on the day with 23, well ahead of Byron Bay with 16 and then Yamba with 9.



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