Sport Year in Review: February
FEBRUARY was an action packed month in sport in the Clarence Valley.
Take a look at the highlights including representative cricket matches, pre-season footy and everything inbetween.
McKenzie repays South Grafton Rebels ’ faith
RUGBY LEAGUE :South Grafton Rebels backline star Allan McKenzie repaid the faith of the club after he put in a stellar performance at the Sgt Matthew Locke MG Charity Day at Bellingen.
McKenzie, who was only re-signed by the red and white one week earlier, put in a match-winning performance as the Rebels ran away 32-16 victors over Woolgoolga.
The young playmaker was shifted to fullback by coach Craig Youngjohns, and it paid dividends with McKenzie enjoying a licence to roam on both sides of the ruck.
Rebels president Brendan Breitnauer said he was impressed to see McKenzie respond well to the change.
Local league legends join forces for 7s
RUGBY :Just before the local footy season kicked off, members of the Clarence Valley’s teams came together at a special event before they started their rivalries.
Former Rebels player Shannon Taylor organised a group of 12 locals to come together under the banner of the Cangai Goombooras to compete in the Ella 7s event in Coffs Harbour.
The event attracts more than 400 players from across the country in what is billed as the flagship Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rugby sevens tournament, with each team allowed two non-indigenous players and the rest indigenous.
“There are 28 teams this year. There was 20 last year so it’s really growing. And there’s also 11 teams in the women, so it’s a pretty big deal,” Taylor said.
This was the second year Taylor has organised a side...
Cricket goes to the dogs for a winner
CRICKET :Westlawn cricketers showed a lot more toe chasing other cricketers around the Grafton Greyhound Club track than when they’re chasing leather on a Saturday afternoon, said CRCA president Tim Kinnane.
The club’s team of five runners at the annual CRCA Greyhound Club relay in February gapped the field to take the 2019 title, much to the surprise of everyone there.
“They were a real surprise packet,” Mr Kinnane said. “Their time 1min 15sec was at least five seconds faster than the next team.”
“It was really impressive that they donated their prize to a local charity, the Fiona Copson Junior Foundation.
“I know Fiona was a member of their club who sadly passed away several years ago and it was obviously important for them to win the event and make this gesture.”
Kinnane said another surprise packet on the night was the performance of Brothers cricketer Ethan Lucas.
“Ethan decided he would help Souths and had the fastest time of the night,” he said.
Bird swoops on the Shield as Lower rise
CRICKET :Lower Clarence’s latest inductee into the representative ranks in February, Harry Bird, repaid selectors in spades, notching a maiden representative century to steer the side to a fourth-straight Cotten Shield.
After walking to the middle following Brandon Honeybrook’s departure in the first over, Bird finished on 117 not out as Lower Clarence secured a four-wicket win.
But it was a victory set up with the ball as the side’s seam attack stifled the Clarence River batsmen who finished their 50 overs at 9-173.
Opening bowlers Honeybrook (0 for 28 off 10) and Simon Harrison (2 for 22 off 10) bowled through the entire 20-over powerplay leaking fewer than three runs an over.
“I just had a gut feeling they were going to keep the screws on and I was right,” Lower captain Ben McMahon said.
Grant to resurface Mountainview track
MOTORSPORT :The 985m of winding bitumen that makes up the Grafton Sporting Car Club’s Mountain View racing track hadn’t been resurfaced since the 1990s.
While many of us may be used to a few bumps on our driving surfaces, for competitors a smooth track is important.
With the accreditation of the track to hold national and state championships under threat, it was with great pleasure the club accepted a donation from Member for Page Kevin Hogan for $178,000 to redo the track back in February.
“I’m not sure what we would have done if not for the grant,” Mr Hogan said.
“We had to resurface the track.”
SPORTSPERSON OF THE MONTH
FEBRUARY’S senior sportsperson of the month was BRUCE BAXTER, who had the thrill of walking onto the hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground for the Plan B Regional Bash Twenty-20 finals. The Coffs Coast Chargers, featuring a number of Clarence stars, made it to the finals of the tournament and will make a return early next year.
The junior sportsperson of the month was won by determined young triathlete JAY ADAMS, who lined up for the 30th Annual Coastline Credit Union Trial Bay Triathlon.
Making the step up from Enticer (250m swim, 10km ride, 2km run) to Sprint distance (500m swim, 23km ride, 6km run), Adam has powered his way to a ninth place finish behind Yamba triathlete Lindsey Wall with a time of 1:17.52.
Adams then backed his form up at the NSW All Schools Triathlon Championships to take out a silver medal in the NSW Combined High Schools division.