Sport Year in Review: May
Valley grommets excel in Pro event
SURFING: The next crop of surfing talent was on full display during the WSL-sanctioned Pro Junior event on the Gold Coast.
And our Clarence Valley contingent did not disappoint with Wooli's Carly Shanahan and Angourie ripper Dakoda Walters making the quarter-finals of their respective divisions in the 18 years and under event.
After earning straight passage through to the second round, Walters wasted little time in securing his first heat victory in the Pro Junior ranks. He then finished second in the third round to advance to the quarters but was unable to maintain his charge.
Shanahan was second in her opening round heat before finishing fourth in her quarter-final with India Robinson going on to win the title.
Prime opportunity for boxing family
BOXING: Pride and passion was on the line as members from the Grafton Amateur Boxing Club stepped between the ropes to defend their home turf.
It was a golden opportunity for the three Cotten brothers - Ryan, Brenden and Zac - as they set their sights on three newly minted Clarence Valley boxing championships.
But it was also an extended family affair for the Cottens, with cousin Jaiden Harrison, 14, also getting in the ring at the Clarence River Jockey Club.
CYCLING: UNFIT and 125kg, on a whim Garrett Salter took up cycling.
"When I first started it was just a bit of a fitness kick and it's turned into a crazy obsession,” he said.
Eighteen months, three bikes and 35kg later, the 26- year-old music teacher's weightloss story took an inspirational turn when he lined up in the 228km Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic.
Salter already tested his wares before entering the Division Three field, tackling the ascent for the first time on a training ride in February, and a month later completing the whole course in the Grafton to Inverell Cyclo Sportif.
CYCLING: After 228km of punishing climbing across the Gibraltar Range, it was left to a millimetre decision to split frontrunners Nathan Elliott and Raphael Freienstein.
It was a fitting finish to the 58th annual Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic, after the pair had kept themselves in the breakaway group from the very start of the climb.
It was Bennelong SwissWellness rider Elliott who got the nod in the photo finish at Inverell, a hard-earned victory after finishing on the Classic podium twice since 2013.
The riders faced headwinds of up to 45kmh on the Range, and temperatures as low as 1.1 degrees.
RUGBY UNION: McKIMMS Grafton Redmen's relentless race towards the Mid North Coast premiership continued at Rugby Park with a 51-24 drubbing of Hastings Valley Vikings. The victory has Grafton sit- ting atop of the Mid North Coast ladder with nine rounds remaining.
It has been a magical month for the Redmen who have now staked their claim as genuine premiership contenders with a clinical display against one of the Mid North Coast heavyweights.
Redmen first grade coach Craig Howe said the victory had his side believing anything was possible.
"I think the side is starting to believe we can match it with the best sides in the competition,” Howe said.
RACING: The prestige of the Clarence River Jockey Club's July Carnival is undeniable, but it has been the ability of the carnival to pull the biggest names in racing in recent years that has truly impressed.
From Peter and Paul Snowden to Winx's infallible jockey Hugh Bowman last year, the jockey club has had some high-profile people as guests during the winter racing spectacular.
And this year the tradition continued, with club executive officer Michael Beattie excited to name leading Australian trainer Darren Weir and long-time radio announcer Shawn Cosgrove as the guests of the 2018 July Carnival.
RUGBY LEAGUE: South Grafton Rebels president Brad Rodda has confirmed the club is in the process of lodging a formal complaint to Group 2 administration after one of its players was allegedly racially vilified at Coramba Sports Ground.
Rebels recruit Luke French was left shocked when he was abused by a person in the crowd at the first grade game between the Rebels and Orara Valley Axemen.
The Rebels centre, who is the brother of Parramatta Eels winger Bevan French, was leaving the playing field at the time of the incident after he had been sent off by the referee for striking an opponent.
A South Grafton club official, who escorted French from the field, confirmed the player had been attacked on the basis of his race.
HOCKEY: There was no love lost and no feelings spared as Lawrence's Ensbey sisters went into battle in May.
Ashleigh, 15, and Mackenna, 12, stepped up for the Grafton 1 side as they aimed to defend home turf during the Hockey NSW Under 15 State titles.
The sisters were one of two sisterly duos in the number one Grafton side along with Coffs Harbour's Hayley and Breah Fischer. It was a secret weapon that Grafton coach Rick Sampson hoped gave his side an upper hand on home turf.
BMX: Emergent Clarence Valley BMX star Tahlia Marsh is ready to spread her wings as she jets to the opposite side of the world this weekend for the UCI BMX World Championships.
Marsh joined Olympians Anthony Dean and Lauren Reynolds, as well as rising superstar Saya Sakakibara, in a 104-strong Australian team for the titles in Azerbaijan.
Marsh travelled to the Azerbaijan capital of Baku for the five day competition that began on June 5 and competed in the 15yrs-girls 20 inch event, as well as the 16 & under girls cruiser category.
It is the second year in a row that Marsh has earned selec- tion for the world titles after travelling to the Unites States for the event in last year. And this year she wasn't leaving anything up to chance.
"I feel ready, I am nervous but I am excited as well,” she said. "Training-wise I feel fit and strong and I have done all I can.”
MAY SPORTSPEOPLE OF THE MONTH:
CLARENCE Valley BMX star TAHLIA MARSH had been riding a high since her stellar results at the national championships got her a spot across the planet to compete in two world BMX divisions.
In May, she was announced as the Jetts Fitness junior sports- person of the month and she said she was always glad to get the support of her town and clubmates when she competed.
"I always get heaps of mess- ages, especially when I'm away competing,” she said.
"Everyone's so great, all my friends really get behind me and everyone from the Clarence Valley BMX Club is just so supportive.”
Marsh will race in the 15 years girls, and 16 and under cruiser girls in the UCI World Championships.
Grafton woodchopper CHRIS OWEN had a stellar month in April, and when it came time to test his skills against the best woodchoppers in the country, he stood tall.
Owen placed third in the 275mm standing block world championship at the Royal Easter show and was named Jetts Fitness senior sportsperson for his efforts.