Grafton junior boxer Logan Slis is heading to Sydney to compete at the NSW Pathways event.
Grafton junior boxer Logan Slis is heading to Sydney to compete at the NSW Pathways event. Matthew Elkerton

DEX SPORT IN REVIEW: Records fall in February

Two-legged speedsters break records on track

CRICKET: As Brothers' speedster Jamie Firth crossed the line in record time at the Grafton Greyhound track he, along with his four running teammates, sent a strong message to every other club.

It was a back-to-back relay crown for the Brothers' quintet, this time doing it without the services of junior athletics champion Natasha Rudder but still proving just as dominant.

Brothers finished the relay in 1:10.75 almost a second faster than last year, about four seconds faster than the next team past the post, Lower Clarence, who strode home in 1:14.74.

Coutts Crossing found its way on to the podium with a streaking 1:15.01 and were the only other club to better their time from 2016. GDSC Easts finished the 550m journey in 1:15.68 while South Services and Harwood took just over 1:20 before they went past the post.

Titanic visit keeps new star grounded

RUGBY LEAGUE: While it is a tumultuous time for new Gold Coast Titans recruit Jarrod Wallace as he assimilates into pre-season at a new club, visiting the Clarence Valley was the perfect remedy to keep the livewire prop grounded.

Wallace, along with Gold Coast Titans teammates David Shillington, Karl Lawton and Ben Nabukuwai, were in the valley in February as part of the 17th annual NRL Community Carnival delivering a message about respect and belonging to regional schools.

"It is for a good cause and is a very important part of the game and one that I think should definitely be done more often,” Wallace said.

Fahey five-fa turns game under lights

CRICKET: Coutts Crossing young gun Eli Fahey tore the house down and rebuilt it in his name during Cleaver's Mechanical Night Cricket at McKittrick Park.

A five-wicket-haul with the cherry was backed up by an innings-carrying 29 runs as he led Coutts Crossing to a three-wicket victory against South Services.

The 15-year-old all-rounder turned the South Services innings on its head in a single over when he bowled a triple-wicket maiden, beginning with a superb caught and bowled effort to remove Jasper Peady.

Polocrosse club back from the brink

POLOCROSSE: Grafton Polocrosse Club roared back into life after almost fading into obscurity at the start of 2017.

On each Saturday afternoon in February, Hawthorne Park echoed to the thundering hooves of polocrosse horses as a mixture of veterans of the sport and newbies held practice sessions ahead of the carnival season start in April.

Club president Scot Bergen said talk in equestrian circles about reactivating the club had been happening throughout 2016, culminating with a meeting to elect officers late in the year.

Pilley slides in world rankings

SQUASH: After back-to-back nail-biting losses to world champion Karim Abdel Gawad, Yamba-born squash sensation Cameron Pilley relinquished his mantle as Australia's number one squash player.

Pilley rose to 17th in the world after a determined showing at the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions, where he lost to Egypt's Gawad in a five-set thriller but it was Evans Head's Ryan Cuskelly, with a career-defining win at the Motor City Open, who managed to leapfrog Pilley to become World No.16.

Nippers prove our very own country champs

SURF LIFE SAVING: Clarence Valley nippers and surf life savers made the trip to South West Rocks for the NSW SLSC Country Championships last weekend.

Yamba was among the best third of clubs, with an overall ranking of 12th out of 37 clubs.

Yamba SLSC team manager Jim Dougherty said it was a performance that was on par with last year's efforts, considering they had a smaller contingent this year.

All up, the 28 Yamba competitors managed a medal haul of six gold, eight silver and four bronze medals over two hot days of competition.

The standout performer was nipper Kalani Ives, who came away with four individual gold medals and one silver, plus a team bronze.

Evers injured after road race mishap

CYCLING: Grafton-born road cyclist Craig Evers said he will not let a fractured clavicle he sustained in the Herald Sun Tour set him back from plans to head overseas this year.

In what was the worst incident of Evers' cycling career he was involved in a multi-cycle accident during the fourth day of racing in Victoria which saw his tour cut short in what was his first hit out for new team Philippine Continental 7-Eleven Racing Team.

"This is by far the worst one I have had on a bike,” Evers said. "I have been pretty lucky so far in my career but it is just frustrating this happened.

"Deep down I am a little bit p*ssed off. It isn't just missing time on the bike but I can barely even wipe my butt, it just makes you feel a bit useless.”

The cyclist was not willing to let the injury keep him down with his focus turned to returning to the training bike at home before embarking on an Asian tour mid-year.

"Brilliant Ben” raises the bar in Cotten Shield

CRICKET: Lower Clarence all-rounder Ben McMahon proved all the difference in the annual Cotten Shield representative clash against arch-rivals Clarence River.

McMahon turned the innings, taking three wickets in two overs, breaking a devastating opening partnership, before backing his effort up with the bat to top score with 62 as Lower Clarence chased down 180 in the final overs of the match.

Perfect Dare produces perfect run in qualifier

RACING: One of the early favourites to win the $388,000 Country Championships Final is the first to qualify, after Perfect Dare plundered heat one at Grafton on Monday.

Before a heat had been run the Matthew Dunn-trained four-year-old gelding was this week quoted at $11 alongside Pumpkin Pie to win the 1400m final at Royal Randwick on April 1.

That price will no doubt firm into single digits after Brisbane jockey Jim Byrne shot Perfect Dare to a five-lengths victory in the $150,000 qualifier. Perfect Dare started the $2 favourite at Grafton and did not disappoint.

Australian of the Year impresses at bush footy summit

RUGBY LEAGUE: All they needed was a pin to drop when a hush fell over the audience at the NSW Grassroots Rugby League Summit as one half of the 2016 Young Australians of the Year, Lucas Patchett, captivated the audience.

Patchett, one of the creators of mobile homeless laundromat service Orange Sky Laundry, was in town to help rugby league clubs find a way to think outside the confines of being a bush footy club.

The 22-year-old delivered a heartfelt talk aimed at inspiring those at the summit to find ingenious ways to run their clubs more like a start-up enterprise when aiming to raise funds and connect with the community.

Shanahan tastes success at Australian Open

SURFING: Wooli grommet Carly Shanahan has continued to carve a name for herself in surfing with a top three finish at the Australian Open of Surfing Grom Challenge.

The competition, held in Manly over two days, had young surfers from near and far take to the ocean to show their talents ahead of the surf festival's qualifying series event.

As a competitor in the Under 16s division, Shanahan was up against 15 other girls, and surfed two knock-out heats to make it through to the final.


IT WAS a massive start to the year for Clarence cricket sensation Carly Leeson.

Leeson became the first Junior Sportsperson of the Year winner to earn a nomination as Clarence Valley Senior Sportsperson of the Year in February.

The Woodford Island all-rounder earned the nod after she made her WBBL debut for the Sydney Sixers, where she picked up a wicket with her first ball.

Leeson finished with two wickets in the match, as the Sixers booked a finals spot in the process.

She was named 12th woman for the final clash of the season against the Perth Scorchers, but found herself on the field after intense 38-degree conditions forced teammate Ashleigh Gardner from the field with heat exhaustion.

Off the cricket field, Leeson followed in the footsteps of well-known Australian female cricketers Alex Blackwell, Sara Hungerford and Georgia Redmayne by being awarded the prestigious University of New South Wales Ben Lexcen Sports Scholarship.

It was another future cricketing talent who got the nod as Junior Sportsperson of the Month.

When it comes to the cricket field, there isn't much that fazes 13-year-old Aidan Cahill.

It's his maturity beyond his years on the pitch that had the youngster picked in the Country Sixers Riptides side for the Under-14 NSW State Challenge, the highest level of cricket for that age in the state.

Cahill also starred for Westlawn in local Premier League cricket, with Westlawn batsman Pat Vidler saying the junior "had the right attitude” to compete among the big boys at a senior level.

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