Sport Year in Review - April
Sport Year in Review - April Jenna Thompson

Sport year in review: April

Clarence BMX takes on the world


Clarence Valley BMX Club now holds six Australian plates after a strong group of club riders returned from the BMX Australia National Championships in Bunbury, Western Australia.

Club president Marnie Brighton was joined at the championships by fellow club members Tahlia Marsh, Stacey Brown, Brendan Brown, Glen Swain, Harley Fowler and Darcy Fowler.

Marsh was the star of the championships for the Clarence Valley club, returning with a third place in the 15-16 years female 24-inch cruiser class and a second place in the 20-inch class, earning her a berth in the world championships.

Marsh was also one of two junior riders at the championships to earn the Caroline Buchanan Jayco $3000 scholarship to help fund her journey to the UCI World Championships in Azerbaijan in June.

"She will be going to represent her country and the club and herself,” Brighton said. "She was unlucky to miss out in the semi-finals at Worlds last year, so hopefully she will get up on that podium this year, we would love to see that.

"She is a fantastic little rider, she has a heart of gold and she wears it on her sleeve. She has a great group of supporters behind her.”

Brighton also qualified for the world championships after she out-muscled her competition in the 30-34 years women's 24-inch cruiser class to finish third. While she backed that effort up with a fifth-place finish in the younger 25-29 years women's 20-inch class.

Celia's brave race wins over the games

ATHLETICS: SHE may not have won a medal, but Celia Sullohern, along with her Australian teammates won the hearts and minds of those watching at the end of the 10,000m race at the Commonwealth Games last night.

Yamba's Sullohern was the best of the Australian runners, clocking a new personal best by more than 40 seconds, in the race won by Stella Chesang.

Sullohern is the current Daily Examiner Sports Star of the Year as well as the two-time Jacaranda Fun Run champion, but her opening Commonwealth Games run has elevated her name into international standings.

Praised for her brave run by commentators after the race, Sullohern joined her Australian teammates Madeline Hills and Eloise Wellings to wait and applaud the lapped runner Lineo Chaka, of Lesotho, who finished 5min10sec behind.

"I love racing with two Aussie girls who are such classy athletes,” Sullohern said.

"It was lovely to stand there with those girls and show (a sporting gesture).”

Sullohern stuck with the African frontrunners, and moved to second place with two laps to go.

However, when the bell rang, the Ugandan athlete had another gear and sprinted away from the chasers.

"I gave my all and had a ball. The roar of the crowd just carried me,” Sullohern said

"I didn't quite have it. The last lap is a killer.”

Sullohern has been the big improver of Australian athletics, first coming on to the Commonwealth Games radar when she won the Melbourne Marathon in October 2017.

Gold for our local squash heroes

SQUASH: They already shared family, a home town and their childhoods - but now cousins Donna Urquhart and Cameron Pilley share a mixed doubles squash title at the Commonwealth Games.

Urquhart and Pilley won gold after defeating Indian pair Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Saurav Ghosal on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Both a product of Yamba, the Australian duo grew up together but only began dreaming of sharing a home gold after competing as a doubles pairing last year.

"I watched Cameron become a professional player while I was still at school but I knew that's what I wanted to do from seeing him do it,” a speechless Urquhart said.

"It wasn't until later on that we ended up playing together, but it's worked out alright.”

Urquhart than backed up the pair's efforts yesterday when she produced a strong effort alongside Rachel Grinham to secure women's doubles bronze, making her the most successful athlete across the 2018 Commonwealth Games squash program.

Dozens of friends and family had travelled up for the Games, while Pilley also had a group of 10 in-laws fly all the way from his wife's home in Denmark as part of a capacity Oxenford Studios crowd.

Lower's league miracle

RUGBY LEAGUE: A miracle conversion from the sideline after the full time whistle blew delivered Lower Clarence Magpies their first win of the NRRRL season.

In a match that had it all, including torrrrential downpour, Andrew Kapeen proved the difference off the tee after winger Eathan Kapeen had crossed beyond the fulltime whistle.

It was a match the Magpies had almost lost three times with poor handling, but noone could take it away from them running out 20-18 victors.

It was a special moment for the club, claiming a clean sweep in all four grades against Evans Heads Bombers at Yamba League Field.

Cancer scare for Ghost's family man

RUGBY LEAGUE: JOSH Brown is just your average, ordinary bloke.

He works long days as a plumber to support a growing family with two young children, and has grown up with a love of football and fishing.

A junior rugby star for the Grafton Redmen, Brown made the conversion to rugby league as a 17-year-old and never looked back.

Much in the image of his father, Peter Brown, who was also a no-nonsense player with the Grafton Ghosts, Brown quickly became a workhorse for the club.

He worked hard in training, worked hard on the field, and took a no-nonsense approach to the sport.

He was flying high, having won an Under 18s premiership and reserve grade premiership with the Ghosts, and took a year off the field to focus on matters closer to home.

But in the blink of an eye the young forward's life was turned upside down.

Feeling pain in his kidney region, Brown went to the hospital expecting to have kidney stones.

He left with a diagnosis of a stage three malignant cancerous growth on his testicles, and a date with a chemotherapist.

"I guess it was a lot different to kidney stones,” he said. "It was definitely a shock.

"I guess it is one of those things. It can really happen to anyone, but you never think it is going to happen to you.”


KIM ELVERY the Clarence Valley Triathlon Club president has been a driving force for the sport in the region for the past decade.

Her efforts to win the NSW and Australian Standard Distance Triathlon titles in the women's 60-64 year bracket earned her the April Senior Sportsperson of the month award.

Elvery's efforts at Mooloolaba were particularly impressive. She not only won her division, but was faster than the vast majority of men in her age group, placing 14th against the men.

In April Grafton paddler TRAVIS O'CONNOR was named the Jetts Fitness Sportsperson of the Month for the third year in a row.

The resident junior expert in the sport was at it again at the Australian Dragon Boat Federation National Junior Championships at Mooloolaba when he put himself in contention for the Australian team yet again.

He won gold in the 500m standard boats open, 200m standard boat open and 2km standard boat, silver in 200m small boat mixed and bronze in the 500m small boat mixed.

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