Sprinter Nathalie Avery and high-jumper Kyle McIlveen are off to the national titles to compete.
Sprinter Nathalie Avery and high-jumper Kyle McIlveen are off to the national titles to compete. Adam Hourigan

DEX Sport year in review: February

Local athletics duo to contest national titles in Perth

ATHLETICS: Grafton Little Athletics duo Nathalie Avery and Kyle McIlveen exceeded their expectations at the NSW Junior and Youth Athletics Championships held at Homebush to qualify for the 2016 Australian Junior Athletics Championhips at Perth.

  Nathalie won her first NSW Junior gold medal in the under-14 girls' 100m, while Kyle won bronze in the under-17 boys' high jump.   Nathalie's time of 13 seconds flat bettered her personal best time by 0.01 seconds, which she achieved when winning gold at NSW All Schools in 2015.   While Nathalie had technically already qualified for the national event through her NSW All Schools times, it was far more touch and go for high jumper Kyle.   Hampered by a knee condition late last year, Kyle showed just enough improvement to finish third on a countback ahead of two other jumpers at a height of 180 centimetres.

Barry on golden run at deaf games

ATHLETICS: South Grafton High School student Tylar Barry struck gold at the Australian Deaf Games in Adelaide bringing home a haul of four individual medals.

The 16-year-old speedster competed in the 100m, 400m, 800m and long jump events at the games coming home with a medal in each event including gold in the two longer distances.

Barry competed among 1000 deaf or hard of hearing athletes from across Australia and the neighbouring Pacific Nations.

Number of nippers off to championships

SURF LIFE SAVING: Minnie Water-Wooli Surf Life Saving Club sent its largest ever contingent to the NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships at South West Rock.

The club was represented by 17 nippers, one cadet member and two senior members and had a number of teams entered in a different events. In a surprising twist for the club, all representatives lived more than 50km from the shoreline.

The surf club thanked long serving members Geoff Brodin and Tony Dougherty for consistently putting in the hard yards with the nippers program.


Ives conquers the country at Championships

SURF LIFE SAVING: Yamba surf club nipper Kalani Ives headlined a top notch performance from the club at the Surf Life Saving NSW Country Championships.

With a five-medal swag including three gold in the Under 11 Female Beach Flags, Under 11 Female Board Race and the Under 11 Female Iron Woman events, Ives was dominant at the event held at South West Rocks.

Only two competitors from the Yamba contingent failed to medal at the event but did place in the top five for their respective events.

The Yamba club finished in 10th place on the competition leaderboard after winning eight gold medals, 10 silver medals and 11 bronze medals.

From the Coast to the Ghosts

RUGBY LEAGUE: A strong recruitment drive from the Grafton Ghosts in the off-season has seen them draw in five players, including three former Lower Clarence Magpies.

Former Ghosts leader Ryan Binge returned from the Magpies after taking part in their centenary year and brought fullback Rob Howard and under 18s second rower James Hughes along.

The club was also buzzing about Gold Coast recruits Matt Vidler from the Ormeau Shearers and Jayden Connors who was in the Gold Coast Titans Holden Cup squad.

Kerr masterclass catches Brothers in an outright

CRICKET: In what was a defining moment in the GDSC Premier League season, soon to be named Premier League Cricketer of the Year, Billy Kerr single-handedly demolished the Easts bowling attack at Ellem Oval.

After bowling out Easts for 100, Kerr raced his way to 36 not out at stumps on the first day offering a single chance late in the afternoon.


He was just on song out there. He went from 50 to 150 in no time. 

Jake Kroehnert on Billy Kerr's magical 160-run knock


With 36 already under the belt and a full day of batting ahead of him, Kerr raced away from the clutches of the Easts attack racking up a mammoth 160 runs.

When Kerr was finally out, Kroehnert declared the innings at 2-244 giving Brothers a 144-run lead which they did not need as they bowled Easts out for 101 to secure outright victory heading into the finals.

CRCA Player of the Week: Billy Kerr

Suns extinguished as Vikings roar at home

BASKETBALL: Grafton Vikings sent a clear message to their upcoming opponents in the Sunshine Basketball Conference with a resounding 75-54 thumping of the Coffs Harbour Suns at home.

It was not all smooth sailing for the Vikings as the Suns got off to a blazing start, putting down early shots from outside the arc to blow out the score to 13-2 in the first five minutes.

But it was short lived success for the Suns as the home side drew the scores level before going ahead before quarter time and never giving it back up throughout the contest.

The game was called to an early close after Vikings basketball stalwart Matt Moran was injured when he ran head on into the wall at the Grafton Sports Centre but a paramedic crew cleared him of any serious injury.

Celebrations worthy after Clarence clinch Over 40s Shield

CRICKET: In a final that came down to the wire, the Clarence River Cricket Association Over-40s side defeated Coffs Harbour to claim the Neil Frame Shield.

It is the second time in three years for the Clarence River side who put in a tough bowling effort to restrict Coffs Harbour to 182 off their 40 overs.

Coutts Crossing batsman Craig Woods was awarded the player of the final after his 48 helped The Clarence River side to reach the total with one wicket to spare.

Holloway gets start on national stage

RUGBY UNION: Yamba Buccaneer junior prospect Jed Holloway had a barnstorming run-on debut for the NSW Waratahs in their 30-10 bonus point victory over interstate rivals Queensland Reds.

While it was not Holloway's first taste of Super Rugby action, it was his first outing in the No.8 jersey which he has assumed from Wallabies regular Wyclef Palu.

It was a scrappy and at times unpleasant opener to the Waratahs' 2016 campaign but Holloway and a handful of outside backs were shining lights for the home side.

Holloway had five carries for the night including two clean breaks through the Reds' defensive line to rack up 65 running metres.

Hell of the West, hell of the past for Wall

TRIATHLON: For Yamba triathlete Lindsey Wall, Goondiwindi could not be further away than what it already is.

Wall entered the gruelling Hell of the West triathlon at Goondiwindi in January as defending champion but finished a disappointing sixth.

But since then Wall went back-to-back, claiming the honours at South West Rocks and at home in the Elite Energy TriYamba.

It was Wall's first win on home soil after finishing runner-up the last time a triathlon event was held in Yamba in 2014.

Former ITU World No. 1 Felicity Abrams took out the female standard distance event during the triathlon festival.

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