Family enjoys sporting life
By MAX GODBEE
FORMER Warialda and North Sydney cricketer and first-grade rugby league player Ashley Lindsay's desire to return to country lifestyle and employment brought him and his family to the Clarence River area in 1999.
In the seven years since, Ashley, wife Christine and their three offspring, Sam, Brooke and Chloe, have become a genuine and highly regarded part of the Clarence and district community.
With loads of experience and an impressive list of qualifications which were mostly gained in university external studies and exams, Ashley is manager financial services with the Clarence Valley Council. His latest degree gained is that of Master of Business Administration (MBA) from The University of New England.
In the sporting arena Ashley has been happy to assist in coaching and take office in aiding a number of junior sporting groups in the area.
Both Ashley and Christine, a former English girl raised in Southend On Sea in the County of Essex, are fitness addicts, each doing plenty of bike riding, running and swimming.
Both gained their surf bronze medallions with the Yamba Surf Life Saving Club in 2002, earning the awards specifically so they could be part of the club's Junior Activities Committee (JAC) which is involved in helping organise the younger members and potential lifesavers in the nipper movement.
Ashley and Christine also did patrol work for two years with the senior club. Their son and two daughters were keen competitors and strong contenders in the nippers' events, particularly in surf swimming.
Ashley and Christine met during the latter 1980s while Ashley was playing rugby league for North Sydney and Christine, an aerobics instructor, was helping prepare the North Sydney teams in fitness.
The two fell in love and were married in 1991.
No longer members of the nippers club Sam, 15, and Brooke who turned 13 a week or so back, are students at Maclean High School and Chloe, 11, attends Yamba Public School.
Sam was captain of Yamba Public back in 2003 and Brooke was dux of her Year 6 at the school last year.
The three are members of the Yamba Amateur Swimming Club, all coached by husband and wife team, Richard and Yvette Beresford.
Besides representing the swimming club the three youngsters are regular representatives in school swimming teams and recently Chloe was a member of the Yamba Public School's 4 X 50m freestyle relay team which finished third in the NSW PSSA swimming championships at the Sydney Aquatic Centre in 2005.
Sam, a keen cricketer, is a member of the North Coast Cricket Council's Emerging Blues development squad.
Ashley John Lindsay was born in 1962 in the NSW mixed farming (wheat, cattle and wool) town of Warialda, the son of Raymond John and Ronda (nee Ward) Lindsay.
Ray had grown up as a farmer before moving into local government administration and becoming works engineer with Yallaroi Council at Warialda.
School for Ashley began at Warialda infants and primary and then on to Warialda High, where in his final year he was school captain.
His principle sports in primary school were cricket, swimming and as a forward in rugby league, he represented the north-west region in rugby league in Under-10 and Under-11 teams as a prop or second-rower packing down beside Lindsay Johnston, who was later to play first-grade football in turn for three Sydney clubs, Easts, North Sydney and South Sydney and also State of Origin for NSW.
Johnston ended his fine football career with three seasons as coach of the South Grafton Rebels.
In the first of the three, 1995, Johnston was captain-coach and took the Rebels to the grand final at Byron Bay.
While at high school Ashley started his rugby league career as prop or second-rower with the weight teams and was 14 when the school coach switched him to hooker.
He made such a success of the change that hooker was his main rugby league position through future years, although when necessary he played at prop or second-row.
He represented Warialda High in age divisions as well as later in the open division.
While at school Ashley also played two seasons, 1979 and 1980, of club football in Under-18s wearing the red and black colours of the Warialda Rugby League Club.
He captained the team both years and in 1980 under the coaching of David Jurd, brother of Sydney and State player Stan Jurd, led the side to the Group Five premiership.
Warialda made it a double that year with the first-grade side, captain-coached by Les Cleal, winning the grand final beating Glen Innes, where former South Grafton winger and later to be Australian representative, John (Chicka) Ferguson was playing centre.
During summer months Ashley was playing cricket in the local competition with Commercial alongside David and Robert Jurd.
And as with his school side Ashley, a fine and quick-scoring strokemaker, opened the batting.
On completing high school his initial employment was in Sydney as an administrative trainee with Warringah Council and in all he served 18 years with that council, the final four as manager of finance.
"Former Manly star Ian Martin who had played rugby league at Warialda took me to meet the officials at North Sydney Rugby League Club and I was thrilled when they signed me up to play President's Cup (Under-21s)," Ashley said.
"I was just 19 and as the President's Cup did not last the whole season I finished the rest of that 1981 term playing for Willoughby A-grade in the North Sydney Saturday competition.
"The following season, 1982, I was graded with North Sydney and played hooker in mainly third grade but also some second-grade games for the Bears.
"I played mainly second grade through the following three years and then in 1986 I was lucky enough to be selected as first-grader hooker with Brian (Chicka) Norton our captain-coach."
Later that season Ashley captained the reserve grade team into the semi-finals and the Bears made it to the preliminary final on the Sydney Cricket Ground but lost out to Easts who the following week won the grand final.
In 1987 and 1988 Ashley as hooker played a mixture of first and second grade and 1988 was to be his final season in Sydney football after playing more than 135 games with the North Sydney Bears.
That year the great John Dorahy was fullback for North Sydney and Ashley remembers well other internationals and topline footballers he played alongside over the years such as the giant 1982 Kangaroo forward Don McKinnon, State of Origin and internationals Martin Bella, Les Kiss and Gary Larson, utility back Greg Florimo and the talented and tough Kiwi representatives Mark Graham, Clayton Friend and the bustling Olsen Filipaina.
Wanting to play a final season in rugby league, this time with his younger brother Peter who had played grade football as a forward with both North Sydney and Manly clubs, Ashley accepted an offer to join him and wear the red and white club colours of the Woy Woy Roosters in the Central Coast competition.
Former International Kevin Hastings was to be captain-coach but broke his arm in a trial game and did not play that season.
However, he did coach and Ashley was appointed as replacement captain. Things looked good as Woy Woy reached the preliminary final but there lost out to The Entrance who in turn won the grand final the next week.
"I was not yet 30 and felt I was still playing well but knew I had to give football away and concentrate on studies," Ashley said.
To that time he was endeavouring to gain his business degree through external studies through the Bathurst-based Charles Sturt University and had been mixing heavy training and sports commitments along with the external university studies.
After gaining the degree and completing 18 years with the Warringah council, Ashley began seeking a move back to country life and chose Yamba, taking up the position of Director Corporate and Community Services with the Maclean Shire in January, 1999.
With the amalgamation of the Clarence councils Ashley in 2004 was appointed Manager Financial Services with the Clarence Valley Council (CVC), the position he holds today with his office in Grafton.
Christine is a teacher's aid with the Yamba Community Pre-School in Phoenix Place.
She is an accomplished oboe player and loves to play classical music with orchestras whenever the chance arises.
Ashley is president of the Clarence Coast Magpies Junior Rugby League Club and treasurer of the Group One Junior Rugby League.
He has been a past manager and coach of the Lower Clarence Cricket Association's Under-12 representative team and now holds those positions with the Under-14s.
Also he is coach of the Yamba Under-14s in the Lower Clarence Cricket Association competition.
"I do a bit of fishing when I can find the time and now that I have finished studies for the master of business administration I can concentrate more on golf, a sport I love," Ashley said.
"I started playing golf when I was 10 and living at Warialda.
"There was a time when I had my handicap down to 13, it would be higher now I suppose, but I will be working on that aspect at the Yamba Golf Club."