Victory at last for ACT Junior Cricket

For the first time in a decade an ACT junior cricket team has triumphed in the annual New South Wales Districts Cricket Association tournaments. Coached by Matt Paton and Miles Thompson, Cricket ACT Under 11 Emerging Comets scored an impressive 51-run win over a str

Sydney to Hobart Veterans Combine for Number 72 at the 72nd

The 72nd edition of the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race brought a combined milestone of the same number for two veterans. Lindsay May, 67, and Erik Adriaanse, 66, racked up their Sydney to Hobart caps of 44 and 28 (72 in total) respectively by sailing together th

It is not about just the cricket: Lehmann

Former Australian Test and One Day International player and current coach of the national side, Darren Lehmann, spent the afternoon and evening in Canberra on Monday 5 signing copies of his newly released book, Coach. This was before his squad were set to take on N

Barr Goes Number One at Inaugural AFL Women’s Draft

New South Wales’ Nicola Barr has created history by being the first player selected in the inaugural AFL Women’s Draft, taken with the number one pick by the GIANTS today. On a pivotal day for Australian Football and for women’s football in New South Wales, th

Alison Bai

Canberra International Draws Some Big Names

Three of Australia’s top 10 men will headline the field at the Apis Canberra International $50,000 ATP Challenger event at Canberra Tennis Centre next week, with more than half Australian players. Australia’s Jordan Thompson (NSW), James Duckworth (NSW) and Matt

Canberra Triathlon Festival

The Canberra Triathlon Festival organised by Elite Energy held on the morning of Saturday 28 January certainly got off to a slow start with a delay of approximately 50 minutes before the beginning of the first event of the morning, the Sprint race.  The reason for...
Victory at last for ACT Junior Cricket

Victory at last for ACT Junior Cricket

For the first time in a decade an ACT junior cricket team has triumphed in the annual New South Wales Districts Cricket Association tournaments. Coached by Matt Paton and Miles Thompson, Cricket ACT Under 11 Emerging Comets scored an impressive 51-run win over a...

Sydney to Hobart Veterans Combine for Number 72 at the 72nd

The 72nd edition of the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race brought a combined milestone of the same number for two veterans.

Lindsay May, 67, and Erik Adriaanse, 66, racked up their Sydney to Hobart caps of 44 and 28 (72 in total) respectively by sailing together this year on small Sparkman and Stephens 47 yacht Love and War, where they finished 3rd in IRC, 2nd in ORCi Division 4, and 2nd in Corinthian (non-professional) division.

Love and War shares an Australian record with Freya of 3 handicap honours, winning the crown in 1974, 1978, and 2006. May and Adriaanse were a part of the latter, with the 44 cap veteran as skipper.

They have competed together in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race a combined 16 times.

Lindsay May and Erik Adriaanse. // Photo by Jack Adriaanse.

Along with partnering on a variety of yachts including Strewth and Swan Song, the two also share a proud history on maxi yacht Brindabella, uniting on number C1 from 1994 to 2000 and being a part of the line honours victory of 1997.

The tragedy of 1998, however, would enforce a year’s leave for Adriaanse, who would miss out on the race of 1999, while May would sail on. But the former returned for 2000 and has consecutively competed ever since.

Spending most of his life and currently residing in Sydney, May grew up in Wollongong, New South Wales, but did not take up sailing until he was 24, where he would also make his debut for the Sydney to Hobart in 1973.

Adriaanse took up yacht sailing on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra at age 11, and would continue to do so through to adulthood, competing on weekends at YMCA on Saturdays, and at CYC (Canberra Yacht Club) on Sundays.

He was 36 before he would debut for the Sydney to Hobart in 1986.

Both men expressed their beliefs on the meaning of racing and the passion that drives them forward.

“[What keeps me sailing is] the unpredictability of going to Hobart in particular, and the fabulous opportunities you get to meet people, sail with people, and have a load of fun.” May said.

“The combination of wind, weather, and waves and understanding the interaction between the three, what makes a boat go forward, and trying to get the most out of any yacht is the thing that really brings me back to sailing.” Adriaanse said.

There was plenty of experience in this year’s crew aboard Love and War, with a combined 187 Sydney to Hobart caps between them (197 at the conclusion of the race). This included young freshman sailing in their inaugural and 2nd races to Tasmania.

“What I see most about the new crop of young men in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is the enthusiasm, their agility, strength, and the fact that each year I think there is a better calibre of sailor coming into these races.” Adriaanse reflected on the newcomers into the big race.

“As the new technology improves, so do the people actually using the technology.”

Although May has comparable views, he adds that fresh sailors have to learn hard if they are to succeed in the race.

“We always try to make sure that we take one person who hasn’t done a [Sydney to] Hobart [Yacht Race] before, and usually they are people who have some sailing experience, or they have got some other capability that is useful for the boat, and I find that they are always enthusiastic.”

“However, you need to get a really tough race under your belt before you really know whether this is something you want to do, and this race [recently completed] was quite an easy race, so it is possible for people to think ‘It is not a tough as I have read or heard about’, and fall into a false sense of security.”

In light of the talent of the young and new faces on board Love and War this year, May and Adriaanse were also enthusiastic about mentoring the next generation of sailors.

“We would love to mentor these people.” May said.

“You try to give them every opportunity beforehand and understand what they are about to undertake and make sure that they are properly prepared, and one of the things you do there is you do a lot of sailing beforehand. That gives you a chance to see whether the people can handle the conditions.”

“Having these young guys on board, we teach them as we go along.” Adriaanse added.

“We encourage them to ask questions, and you are never too much of a hero to answer questions. So when these young guys come on board, we mentor them and we make sure that they are cut out to do this.”

May also mentioned the requirement of overcoming the one element of sailing in order to succeed.

“Seasickness is one of the biggest challenges in ocean racing, and if you have got one or more people down because they are ill, they can’t function to the best of their capacity”.

“In some cases they can’t even function at all, and that puts more pressure on others in the crew to fill those particular gaps, and you get to a situation where a boat can be completely out of control, if you like, or not capable of racing.”

May reflected back on the extreme weather of 1998 when he and Adriaanse sailed on Brindabella, stating that the maxi yacht was lucky not to have copped the brunt of the storm that put several smaller yachts in the crossfire and cost several lives.

“Well, to be fair, on Brindabella we were not in the worst of that weather. Whenever all of that came unstuck, we were 130 miles down the track and sheltered by the land mass of Tasmania. Even though we were 80 miles off the coast, the land mass of Tasmania means the waves are not as big as they would be, being forced and funnelled through Bass Strait.”

“We got winds of about 55 knots, or thereabouts. We didn’t get winds of 68, where all the damage had occurred. It is difficult to say exactly what it was.”

He further reflected on what he believed to be an even tougher race in the early days of his sailing career.

“I would go back to the 1984 race, where I was in conditions similar to that. Had none of the publicity, none of the helicopters, and we were in horrendous seas. But, to be honest, I was so new to the sport even though that was about my tenth race, that I really didn’t appreciate just how dangerous it was.”

Adriaanse mentioned that the conditions of 1998 were an unexpected shock that took its toll on him mentally in the aftermath.

“We had some tough races before. 1993 was quite a hard race in that the southerly [wind] started to come in and it stayed in for two to three days. So we had some experience with bad weather.”

“1998 was pretty ferocious. It hit us by surprise a bit and we were a bit surprised that so many boats were in trouble. It is probably because we were a bit ahead of the storm. Nevertheless, we had huge waves and had our share of problems.”

“For me to come back after 1998 – I had a bit of difficulty. I needed to get my head sorted out. I think I had a delayed shock from it all. But I came back the following year [in 2000] with as much enthusiasm as before.”

Although both men of 72 combined Sydney to Hobart caps feel passionate and healthy enough to keep sailing for as long as they can, they warn that invitations to sail and current competition for places among the younger generations may hinder such further ambitions.

“I would like to keep sailing for as long as I am physically able to.” May said.

“I feel very fortunate to have done 44 consecutive races, and it indicates that I have been healthy every Boxing Day – more by good luck than by good planning. I would like to think that I can certainly get to 50, and at that stage I will be 73 or so.”

“I would like to keep going, but the big problem is you have got to have a boat, and a lot of us that do not own boats rely on owners to put that forward, and you have got to be able to do your job and contribute positively, and hopefully you get invited to go every Boxing Day.”

“I will keep doing them whilst there is the opportunity to do them, but it is not always possible.” Adriaanse said.

“There is an increasing stock of people who want to do Sydney to Hobarts, including a whole lot of young guys, so the time will come when the older guys gradually get dropped off.”

“I think that Lindsay and I probably have enough experience to keep getting invitations, but physical health is obviously important, staying fit, and you have got to have a passion for the race, and we both do that. So, yeah, let’s keep doing it.”

 

It is not about just the cricket: Lehmann

Former Australian Test and One Day International player and current coach of the national side, Darren Lehmann, spent the afternoon and evening in Canberra on Monday 5 signing copies of his newly released book, Coach.

This was before his squad were set to take on New Zealand the next day in the second ODI match of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy at Manuka Oval, which Australian ended up winning fairly comfortably and clinching the series 2-0.

A veteran of 27 tests and 117 One Day Internationals for his country, Lehmann began the book signing at 3:00 p.m. in Westfield, Belconnen before taking part in an open panel at 6:00 p.m. in Woden Library, Phillip, followed by further book signings.

Darren Lehmann with some of his local fans. // Photo by Jack Adriaanse.

Along with stories of his journey as a cricketer and becoming coach of the national side, the man known to many as ‘Boof’ expressed words of wisdom about a sense of belonging and the value of life, which he believed is what the game of cricket truly teaches all involved.

Born in Gawler, South Australia, Lehmann grew up a passionate young cricketer, idolising his childhood hero David Hookes and spending most of his time outdoors.

“I have loved the game ever since I was 7.” Boof said.

“While at school, I was told that I had to do my homework before play, but that didn’t stop me from spending a lot of time outdoors, and this ‘upbringing’ helped to develop my game.”

“My idol, David Hookes, taught me to enjoy the game and try to entertain people.”

He made his first-class debut at 17 years of age for his home state in 1987/1988, and proved himself a useful left-hander with an elegant style of batting along with occasional aggression.

He was a part of the Sheffield Shield winning sides of 1990/1991 and 1995/1996, and soon afterwards, he made his ODI debut for Australia against Sri Lanka at Colombo in 1996, before making his test debut in Bangalore, India in 1998.

He also played county cricket for Yorkshire, who would capture the county championship title in 2001.

While earning regular ODI caps and playing an important hand in the 1999 and 2003 World Cup winning squads, he found it hard to hold down his spot in the test side due to vast competition with many talented batsman coming through the ranks.

Darren Lehmann signs his new book for a local fan. // Photo by Jack Adriaanse.

Had he done so, his international career would have proved to be International Hall of Fame worthy due to an outstanding first-class run-scoring record of 25,795 runs at an average of 57.83, including a high score of 339.

Lehmann stood-in as vice-captain behind Adam Gilchrist when Ricky Ponting was injured during the historic series win in India in 2004. But Lehmann could not find consistency in form the following summer against Pakistan and was subsequently dropped by the selectors ending his test career.

He added that he and former Australian coach Bob Simpson, who was working alongside then national captain Allan Border, didn’t see eye to eye.

“Simpson and I didn’t really get along at the time.” Boof admitted.

“I was a bit of a young upstart and just wanted to do my own thing.”

From this and similar situations along the way, Lehmann said that such mistakes are important learning experiences both on and off the cricket field.

“I made a lot of mistakes at the time, even when I became coach. Everyone makes mistakes and as long as you learn from them and not make the same mistake twice, you learn to get better. It is all about getting better as a player and learning about life.”

Shortly after retirement from first-class cricket, Lehmann enjoyed time in the Indian Premier League (the big T20 tournament) where success would come fast as he led the Deccan Chargers to the 2009 title.

“I first came to the IPL (Indian Premier League) to fill in following a player retirement from South Australia. The offer to coach the Deccan Chargers was the chance of a lifetime and I jumped at it.”

“It was actually nice to experience that great [Indian] culture, and you were mixing with some of the best players in the world. It really was a special time.”

Lehmann would return to his home country to be the head coach in the Sunshine State, where his credentials would improve with Sheffield Shield and Ryobi One Day Cup victories for Queensland in 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 respectively.

This included coaching the Brisbane Heat to the T20 Big Bash League title in 2012/2013.

This achievements earned him a call to be coach of the Australian team right before the Ashes series in 2013 after the axing of Micky Arthur over ‘homeworkgate’ and David Warner’s punch up with England’s Joe Root in a London pub.

Though hesitant at first due to being away from home for 300 days a year, it was the insistence of his own children as well as the faith of his wife Andrea that convinced him to take the job.

It would come at a difficult time for Cricket Australia, after having legendary players retire after the 2012/2013 summer and then suffering a 4-0 whitewash in India before Arthur’s sacking.

This was not great preparation for the upcoming Ashes series, and it showed when, even with Lehmann at the helm and bringing back the ‘Australian way of playing’, England would remain the stronger team and win the series 3-0.

But this did prepare Australia well for the return series Down Under 3 months later, and Lehmann witnessed an amazing turn of fortunes as his national team would go on to record the second Ashes whitewash of 5-0 in less than ten years.

Following this was a 3 match series in South Africa, where Australia would go to win back the number 1 test ranking with a 2-1 triumph over the Proteas.

Darren Lehmann with two of his younger fans. // Photo by Jack Adriaanse.

But the most rewarding part of Boof’s career would come later in 2014, when the tragic death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes in a Sheffield Shield match at the SCG would emotionally affect the national side – thus prompting the head coach to aid them in such a difficult time.

He understood how to help his players after Lehmann himself suffered a similar situation after the tragic death of his beloved mentor, Hookes.

“My proudest moment as a coach had nothing to do with cricket.” Boof stated.

“It was trying to get everyone back into the game after the Phillip Hughes tragedy.”

“[David] Warner could not even bat in the nets without breaking down. Mitchell Johnson could not bowl his bouncers any more, so we had to change his bowling style.”

“I did bring back the Australian way of playing when I became coach, but it changed to how we needed to play after what happened to Phillip Hughes.”

“Many of us did a lot of crying in the time between the funeral and the game [opening Test Match of the summer at Adelaide Oval], so we had to bring everyone together and get them through that tough period.”

“I also told the players, ‘if you can’t go onto the ground, I will understand.”

But return to the ground they did, and with refreshed states of mind following the grieving, the green and gold boys would see out a good summer of cricket against India before going on to win the 2015 World Cup on home soil at the MCG.

Lehmann mentioned that while he relies on assistant coaches that have had years of experience, it is the players themselves who have to execute out in the middle.

 “We use experienced coaches in the Australian team, but the problem is about the players being ‘coached’ in the middle, so we just have to let them learn on their own.”

His current relationship with Australian captain Steve Smith is travelling well and is not quite as conflicting as it was with ex-captain Michael Clarke.

“Smith and Clarke are different leaders.” Lehmann said.

“Michael had a stern way of running things and we always had disagreements because of that, but we did get on very well, as weird as it sounds. It is a bit like a marriage.”

His overall message was to look at what the game of cricket is truly about.

“As long as the players have improved their quality of life in the end, that is all that matters. It is not about just the cricket.”

 

Barr Goes Number One at Inaugural AFL Women’s Draft

New South Wales’ Nicola Barr has created history by being the first player selected in the inaugural AFL Women’s Draft, taken with the number one pick by the GIANTS today.

On a pivotal day for Australian Football and for women’s football in New South Wales, the local Sydney University midfielder was the first name called at the AFL Women’s Draft in Melbourne.

After taking Barr as part of the New South Wales draft, the GIANTS finalised the majority of the club’s playing list for the upcoming NAB AFL Women’s competition via talent predominantly from New South Wales and the ACT.

GIANTS AFL Women’s coach Tim Schmidt said securing Barr was a significant moment for the club and the game more broadly in New South Wales.

“We’re delighted to have secured Nicola with the first pick today,” Schmidt said.

“I’ve got to know Nicola well in recent years through her involvement in the academy system and we believe she’ll be an extremely valuable addition to our playing list.

“Nicola only took up Australian Football a few years ago and she’s a great example of the terrific young talent coming out of New South Wales that we’ll see playing for the GIANTS in the years to come.”

The GIANTS received pick number one in the first ever draft lottery, with the day following a snake format, meaning the GIANTS had picks number one and number 16 while Melbourne, who held the last pick in the first round – number eight – took it’s next selection at number nine, the first pick of the second round.

With its next two picks, the GIANTS selected two interstate talents who had nominated for the NSW draft in a bid to play for the club.

Versatile Victorian Ashleigh Guest was selected at pick 16 while West Australian forward/ruck Aimee Schmidt was taken at pick 17.

The GIANTS’ AFL Women’s inaugural coach welcomed the interstate duo to the GIANTS.

“We think both Ashleigh and Amy will compliment the players we’ve signed in recent months and the local talent we selected today,” Schmidt said.

“Both players are excited about the opportunity of joining the GIANTS and helping grow the game in New South Wales and we’re thrilled to add them to our squad.”

The remainder of the GIANTS’ 15 selections were made up of local talent from NSW and the ACT with the best of the best from the two states to run out in orange and charcoal in 2017.

“We’re delighted to have the majority of our list made up of local players,” Schmidt added.

“There’s so much AFL talent in NSW and the ACT and it’s growing year on year. Seeing local players represent their local team at the elite level will only help grow Australian Football.

“Not only is it great for the game but these players have a wealth of talent that will be on show in the competition next year.”

GIANTS CEO David Matthews congratulated Barr and all the players selected by the GIANTS on Wednesday.

“This is a landmark day for these players and we’re so proud to have them as GIANTS for the inaugural AFL Women’s competition,” Mr Matthews said.

“We congratulate all the players on their selections and look forward to seeing them on the field representing the GIANTS in 2017.”

The remaining three places on the club lists of 27 will be filled via ‘free agency’. Free agents are those players who have nominated for the Draft but were not selected and may now consider options to play interstate. Free agents must be selected prior to October 31.

GIANTS’ AFL Women’s Draft Selections:

Pick 1

Nicola Barr – Midfielder

From: NSW – Sydney University

D.O.B: 13/06/1996

Height: 168cm

An elite runner with energy and speed to burn. Has a penetrating kick. Has developed significantly since starting the game only four years ago. Won the 2016 Mostyn Medal as the best player in AFL Sydney’s Division One women’s competition.

Pick 16

Ashleigh Guest – Utility

From: Victoria – VU Western Spurs

D.O.B: 10/4/1990

Height: 165cm

Equipped with great running ability, Guest’s repeated running efforts, combined with her hardness at the contest, ensure that she impacts the contest regularly. Able to play in all zones across the ground, Guest’s versatility is a critical component of her game. Guest played for Melbourne in two AFL Women’s Exhibition series matches in 2016.

Pick 17
Amiee Schmidt – Forward/Ruck

From: WA – Coastal Titans

D.O.B: 16/4/1993

Height: 171.5cm

A quick forward runner who can kick long on the run, Schmidt played for West Coast against Fremantle earlier this year. Can get to any contest and take a high mark with a good leap. Schmidt has also represented Western Australia.

Pick 32 

Rebecca Beeson – Forward

From: NSW – UNSW-ES Stingrays

D.O.B: 20/2/1997

Height: 167cm

Known for her smarts, Beeson is a half-forward whose skills stand out under pressure. Still very young at only 19, she stepped up her game again in the last half of 2016. A great football brain, good skills and can take a great overhead mark. One to watch in 2017.

Pick 33

Kate Stanton – Forward

From: NSW – Wollongong Saints

An exceptionally naturally gifted player, Stanton is a real danger for opposition defences in the forward 50 as highlighted by her twelve-goal National Youth Girl Championship tally which led her team to Grand Final victory and individual selection in the All Star team.

Pick 48

Erin McKinnon – Ruck

From: NSW – Sydney University

Height: 189cm

Another player out of the Youth Girls competition this year. Standing at 189cm, she dominated in the ruck and made the All Australian side. Moves very well around the ground too.

Pick 49

Mai Nguyen – Midfielder

From: NSW – UNSW-ES Stingrays

D.O.B: 16/6/1990

Height: 164cm

Great athlete and finds plenty of the football. Normally plays through the midfield but can also come off half back. Very fit and extremely tough, Nguyen is in the prime of her career and never takes a backward step.

Pick 64

Amanda Farrugia – Midfielder/Defender

From: NSW – Macquarie University Warriors

D.O.B: 24/1/1985

Height: 165cm

Farrugia is very hard at the ball and is not one to take a back seat. Can play midfield or back. Farrugia has been one of the top AFL Sydney players for some time, winning the 2015 Mostyn Medal as the best player in AFL Sydney’s Division 1 women’s competition.

Pick 65

Jacinda Barclay – Utility
From: NSW – UNSW-ES Stingrays

D.O.B: 18/02/1991

Height: 170cm

Very explosive and can play both ends of the ground. Also a former baseball player who represented Australia in the 2008 World Cup before turning her hand to gridiron and playing in the Legends Football League.

Pick 80

Britt Tully – Midfielder

From: ACT – Gungahlin Jets

D.O.B 3/05/1993

Height: 168cm

Tough, in and under midfielder who never gives up and finds plenty of football. She was recently crowned AFL Canberra Women’s Best and Fairest winner.

Pick 81 

Kristy De Pellegrini – Defender

From: NSW – Southern Power
D.O.B: 8/05/1990

Height:171.5cm

Injury interrupted her 2016 season, but De Pellegrini is a good size defender that can play on players much bigger in size. Very tough, no nonsense defender who played for Sydney in their exhibition match against the GIANTS earlier this year.

Pick 96
Renee Tomkins – Defender

From: NSW – Penrith Rammettes

D.O.B: 17/4/86

Height: 173cm

Tall defender with great athleticism and a huge kick on both sides of the body. Tomkins moves well and can kick with both feet. Uses height and athleticism to outreach and outrun her opponents.

Pick 97 

Clare Lawton – Ruck/Forward/Defender
From: ACT

A tall athletic player who can play ruck, forward or back. Moves around the ground with ease and is a pretty good user of the football.

Pick 112

Ella Ross – Midfielder

From: ACT – Queanbeyan Tigers

D.O.B: 1/7/1992

Height:173cm.

Similar to Britt Tully, an in and under player who finds plenty of the ball. Puts great pressure on the opposition and loves to tackle.

Pick 113 

Stephanie Walker – Midfielder

From: NSW – Sydney Uni Bombers
D.O.B: 28/02/1984

Height 161cm

Dynamic, exciting midfielder/small forward. Always looking to attack the footy, create opportunity and score. Has had an injury troubled 2016, but when up and going, is a very dangerous forward.

Marquee Players:

Renee Forth (WA)

Emma Swanson (WA)

Priority Player Selections:

Maddy Collier (NSW)

Phoebe McWilliams (VIC)

Jessica Dal Pos (VIC)
Louise Stephenson (VIC)

Alex Williams (WA)

Rookie Players:

Jess Bibby (ACT)

Ellie Brush (ACT)

Canberra International Draws Some Big Names

Three of Australia’s top 10 men will headline the field at the Apis Canberra International $50,000 ATP Challenger event at Canberra Tennis Centre next week, with more than half Australian players.

Australia’s Jordan Thompson (NSW), James Duckworth (NSW) and Matthew Barton (NSW) will join some of the world’s best players in the nation’s capital, where US $50,000 and world ranking points will be on the line.

Thompson is the top world ranked player, currently ranked 99 in the world. The Aussie trio will be joined by ten other top 25 Australian players, including 2015 Canberra International singles final runner-up Luke Saville (SA), and fellow Aussies John Patrick Smith (QLD), Matthew Ebden (WA), Blake Mott (NSW), Marc Polmans (VIC), Christopher O’Connell (NSW), Max Purcell (NSW), Omar Jasika (VIC), Dayne Kelly (VIC), and Maverick Banes (OLD) in the main draw.

The international charge will be led by Argentinian talent Marco Trungelliti (ARG) and Slovakia’s Grega Zemlja (SLO), as well as challengers from India, Italy, Korea, Japan, New Zealand and the USA.

A strong women’s draw will provide a masterful week of tennis, with 32 of the world’s top female tennis players to battle it out on court in the ITF event, with an additional US $50,000 and world rankings points up for grabs. Both from Japan, world No.117 Risa Ozaki and world No.161 Hiroko Kuwata will start as early favourites for the title, but will be forced to overcome top ranked Australian Arina Rodionova (VIC) (184) who will be looking to add to her successful 2016 campaign which has included a doubles quarter final berth in the Australian Open 2016 with sister Anastasia, Federation Cup, Rio Olympics and runner up in Lexington USA.

Former junior Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty (QLD) will make a return to singles tennis in Canberra, after time off playing cricket, currently ranked 328 in the world.

And during an impressive year with wins over former top 50 players Laura Robson and Melanie Oudin, Canberra’s Alison Bai will have the support of her home crowd.

Lizette Cabrera (QLD), Storm Sanders (WA), Olivia Rogowska (VIC) round out to total 6 Australians to play in the women’s field.

Slovakian Dalila Jakupovic leads the International contingent, alongside 2015 Canberra International singles champion, Asia Muhammad (USA) who is fresh from a doubles quarter final berth at the 2016 US Open.

The men’s and women’s Apis Canberra International events form part of the Australian Pro Tour, which provides local and international players the ideal lead-in to the domestic summer of tennis.

Tennis Australia Pro Tour Manager Fiona Luscombe, said the events will bring world class tennis to Canberra.
“We are really pleased with the fields assembled for both tournaments and are excited to welcome more than 100 of the world’s top tennis players to the Territory.

“The outstanding new Canberra Tennis Centre in Lyneham is an ideal venue to host elite-level tournaments, and I encourage all local tennis fans to come along and experience international tennis right in their own backyard.”

About the event

Men’s qualifying begins on Saturday 29 October and women’s qualifying commencing Sunday 30 October with play commencing from 9am each day. Main draw action is scheduled to commence on Monday 1 November.

The Apis Canberra International is part of the Australian Pro Tour, a series of professional tennis events that bridge junior events and the ATP/WTA Tour, providing an opportunity for players to earn world ranking points.

The tournaments were announced in September as part of the Tennis ACT calendar of Pro Tour events secured through the redevelopment of the Canberra Tennis Centre. The redeveloped centre features 28 tennis courts – including synthetic grass, Italian clay and hardcourt surfaces – as well as four ANZ Tennis Hot Shots courts.

Finals weekend will be Saturday 5 – Sunday 6 November, with doubles scheduled on Saturday and singles on Sunday. The weekend will be filled with activities and fun for the whole family, including face painting, jumping castle and speed serve.

Entry to the Canberra Tennis Centre is free for all five Pro-Tour 2016/2017 events, with a gold coin donation upon entry on finals days.

The main draw for the Apis Canberra International Men’s and Women’s events are subject to change until Monday 1 November 2016.

 

Brad Haddin returns to ‘cricketing roots’

Former Australian test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin returned to where he grew up playing cricket in the Nation’s Capital on Saturday December 3 to sign copies of his recently released autobiography, My Family’s Keeper.

After an interview on ABC’s Grandstand in the morning, Australian Test player number 400 moved on to Westfield, Belconnen and The Hyperdome, Tuggeranong to do autographs for his many loyal Canberra fans.

He concluded the day with an open panel hosted by ABC’s Tim Gavel at Eastlake Football Club in Kingston before signing further copies of his new book.

haddin-3

Brad Haddin with some of his local fans. // Photo by Jack Adriaanse.

When starting out, Haddin admitted that becoming wicketkeeper was not an actual goal and that it came by chance.

“I became wicketkeeper by mistake at age 10,” the Queanbeyan star said.

 “I put my hand up when no one else did, and I then ended up representing the ACT juniors.”

 Not even the opportunity to play for his country crossed his mind as he was only focusing on challenging himself.

 “The only challenge was to be the best cricketer I could possibly be. I never really thought about playing for Australia.”

Born in Cowra, NSW, Haddin grew up in Gundagai before moving to Queanbeyan. From there, he moved back and forth across the border to play a mix of ACT state junior reps, school, and grade cricket.

“If I had a bad day at NSW school, I could always turn to the ACT [for cricket].” Haddin said.

“Then I was lucky to be selected for the [Australian Cricket] Academy at age 18.”

The director of the Academy at the time was Rod Marsh – another legendary Australian wicketkeeper who has recently stepped down as Cricket Australia Chairman of Selectors and who would have certainly provided a valuable mentor for one of his many successors in Haddin.

Although Haddin said his relationship with Marsh was mostly fine over the years, he added that the handling of his axing by the former chairman in the 2015 Ashes series in England was poor, and should have been more civilised.

“I do have a pretty good relationship with Rod Marsh, but he did not have the guts to tell me face to face that I had been dropped [from the Australian Test team].”

Haddin made his debut for the ACT Comets in the 1997/1998 in the domestic one day season before beginning his first class career for New South Wales in 1999/2000. He then captained them to the Sheffield Shield title in 2004/2005.

The chance to represent his country would have to wait a while as other wicketkeepers including Darren Berry, Ryan Campbell and Wade Seccombe were tipped to be among Gilchrist’s eventual successor.

The left-handed slogger retired after the 2007/2008 season, and the local Queanbeyan hero made his international debut at age 30 against the West Indies at Kingston.

He would then remain the national ‘keeper’ for the next 5 years, including competing in the unsuccessful 2009 and 2010/2011 Ashes series and scoring centuries in both.

But things would change in early 2012, when his 17-month old daughter Mia was diagnosed with cancer, forcing her father to fly home from the West Indies tour and take indefinite leave from the game to be with his family in such a difficult time.

“I got the call from my wife while I was in the West Indies and we thought something wasn’t right with Mia.” Haddin declared.

“From the other end [in the West Indies], I thought she had cancer. I had mixed thoughts about her condition on the flight home.”

This brought Brad closer to his loved ones and he made his family the number one priority while leaving cricket out of the question.

“We just wanted to come together and make sure that Mia was going to be okay. We didn’t really want anyone to feel sorry for us. The only thing we thought about was giving Mia the best possible chance of survival. It really wasn’t about the cricket.”

Some critics were of the view that his international career was over when he left at age 34, and even he admitted that he was unsure whether to return to cricket or not because of his daughter.

“I wasn’t sure whether I still had that drive to get back to the top. The only time I felt uncomfortable was when the kids were around and that cricket would get in the way.”

Despite the initial doubts, Haddin found the inner strength and returned to the international game come the 2013 Ashes series in England, where, despite Australia losing 3-0, he made a promising comeback and took a record number of wicketkeeping dismissals in a series with close to 40.

This was only the beginning of greater things to come, as his batting efforts in the return Ashes series Down Under only 3 months later helped Australia out of tight situations and provided a valuable contribution to an historic 5-0 whitewash. So much so that his 493 runs at an average of 61.62 almost earned him player of the series.

He said that the keeper-batsman’s duty is to steady run-scoring when wickets are falling fast.

“It is the job of the wicketkeeper to stop the collapses and score the runs when needed.”

Then despite the tragic death of Phillip Hughes, the one day international side would remain strong and go on to win the 2015 Cricket World Cup at home in Melbourne 4 months later.

In the next Ashes series, Haddin would play the first test at Cardiff, Wales before his daughter fell ill again and he was forced to temporarily withdraw from the tour to fly home and be with his family again.

While he made himself available for the third test at Edgebaston, Birmingham, chairman of selectors Rod Marsh decided to stick with replacement wicketkeeper Peter Nevill and drop Haddin altogether without telling him upfront.

Along with Michael Clarke and Shane Watson, Brad decided to retire from international cricket after the failed Ashes campaign.

He mentioned that playing for his country was never an initial goal. To him, it was all about putting in the effort to be a top-class cricketer.

“The only challenge was to be the best cricketer I could possibly be. I never really thought about playing for Australia.”

When asked about his preferred captain between Ricky Ponting and Clarke to play under, Haddin chose the former.

“Michael Clarke was certainly very good tactically, but Ponting was the best [captain] because he knew how to get the best out of everybody.”

When it came to writing his book, the 66 Test veteran admitted that he was reluctant to ‘relive’ his past.

“I was hesitant at first because we would like to have things kept private – especially everything that was happening with Mia. The hard thing for me was to relive all the bad things I have been through.”

Haddin was offered the captaincy of the annual Prime Minister’s XI match in Canberra next month, but turned it down.

Instead, he will be assistant coach for the Australian One Day International team this summer.

Second ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Netball Tournament

More than 25 teams will be playing in the second ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Netball Tournament, held in Canberra on Saturday [29 October].

Teams have come from regional Victoria, NSW and the ACT to play in the women’s, mixed and junior division competitions at the Deakin Netball Centre.

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Tuggeranong’s young Indigenous players will be on show at the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Netball Carnival. // Photo supplied by TNA

The event has been organised by the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Netball Committee in collaboration with the Tuggeranong Netball Association.

It builds on last year’s inaugural tournament, attended by more than 1300 people who watched 300 netball players in action.

A spokeswoman for the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Netball Committee, Deanne Booth, said “encouraging participation in netball for our women and girls will one day lead to one of our girls representing their families and communities as an Australian Diamond”.

“And more broadly, this tournament strongly supports maintaining an active healthy lifestyle for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders though playing netball”.

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Queanbeyan’s Clearwaters team participated in last year’s  inaugural ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Netball Carnival. // Photo supplied by TNA

Beginning at 8.30am on Saturday 29 October, the tournament will also feature the presentation by Netball Australia of Australia Post’s national ONE NETBALL Award to the Tuggeranong Netball Association for its work in promoting inclusion of Indigenous athletes and families in the Tuggeranong valley.

ONE NETBALL ambassadors Beryl Friday, who played for the Queensland Firebirds in the ANZ TransTasman League, and Sepi Hawke, former captain of the Canberra Darters, will also be attending the tournament.

The president of the Tuggeranong Netball Association, Jonathan Toze, said the Tuggeranong netball community was delighted to again partner with the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Netball Committee to host the tournament.

“This tournament is a wonderful tribute to the vision and energy of a hardworking group of people from our Indigenous families involved in netball across our region,’ he said. ‘Seeing the joy, passion and commitment of these players and their families is uplifting,” Mr Toze said.

 

Further Big Re-signings for Canberra Demons

The Canberra Demons are pleased to further announce the key re-signings of 2016 Best & Fairest Runner Up and 2015 AFL Canberra Mulrooney Medallist Isaac Taylor, defenders Nick Collins and Luke McKay along with utilities Jack Baker and Lachlan Harper who have all recommitted for the 2017 season.

Taylor, who returned to the NEAFL fold in 2016 following his debut in 2012, had a stellar 2016 finishing runner up in the Demons Best and Fairest behind Belconnen teammate Jordan Harper. Taylor will look to continue to work hard over the pre-season to further enhance his effectiveness around the stoppages which is a valuable assist to the Demons midfield group.

“Personally I was really happy with coming back into NEAFL in 2016 having played at Belconnen in 2015, and I felt that I adjusted well throughout the season. My second half of the season was an improvement on the first half of the year and I am looking forward to pre-season and working hard on fitness levels” said Taylor.

Former NSW / ACT Rams member Luke McKay is coming off one of his best seasons of footy having being awarded the Round 4 NEAFL Rising Star Nomination and was seen as one of the Demons most improved performers in 2016.

“I felt in 2015 I was a bit anxious when playing but this season I’ve felt really comfortable in my role in defence and felt as though I belonged at NEAFL level. There is a really good base we have built to take us into 2017” said McKay.

“Isaac, Nick and Jack are really valuable assets to our side and it’s great to see them continue at NEAFL level in 2017. They bring a lot to the group both on and off the field and I would expect them to take their game to another level next season” said Coach Kade Klemke.

“Luke is only 19 and had a break out season in 2016. He’s a fantastic young man and always wants to improve his game which shows the pride he has in his performances and his maturity is beyond his years. Lachie will continue to develop given his injury concerns over the past few seasons, similar to Luke, he has a hard work ethic and is always keen to improve his output” Klemke added.

Lord’s Taverners Honours for Local Rising Stars

Two emerging talented young local cricketers have each received a prestigious honour from the Lord’s Taverners.

Ginninderra Cricket Club fast bowler, Jessica Howard and Australian National University Cricket Club batsman, Daniel Leerdam have received Graham Wilkinson Memorial Junior Taverners Awards.

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Jessica Howard. // Photo supplied by Lord’s Taverners

“On behalf of the Lord’s Taverners, I would like to congratulate Jessica and Daniel for being recognised with junior Taverners awards,” said the President of the Lord’s Taverners ACT, Ric Smith. “The awards are for up-and-coming local stars and are designed to encourage them to go on to achieve even more in their cricket careers. Awards like these are an integral part of the support the Lord’s Taverners provides to local young cricketers and other athletes.”

Jessica and Daniel have each received $1500 and a Kookaburra cricket kit. The awards, which carry the name of the foundation President of the Lord’s Taverners ACT, are for cricketers aged between 14 and 18 who show outstanding qualities of ability, sportsmanship and general attitude to the game – both on and off the field.

The awards were announced at the 2016 Lord’s Taverners ACT Annual Dinner.

Jessica said: “It’s a small boost in the right direction.”

Daniel said: “It’s great to be recognised in this way and it will support my cricket career.”

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Daniel batting against Eastlake. // Photo by Yabba

Past recipients of these awards include Michael Bevan (1989), Jason Behrendorff (2007) and Jason Floros (2008). More detailed information about Jessica and Daniel follows.

Profiles – 2016 Graham Wilkinson Memorial Junior Taverners Award Winners

Jessica Howard

Jessica is a specialist fast bowler who plays for the Ginninderra Cricket Club. She is also a member of the ACT/NSW under 18 team. Her best bowling was 7/8 against St Edmund’s in the boys under 18 division 1 colts competition. She usually bats at number 11 where her best innings is 15.

Daniel Leerdam

Daniel is a top or middle-order batsman who is also a leg-spinner. He plays for the Australian National University Cricket Club. He is captain of the ACT/NSW under 17 side and captained the winning ACT/Southern side in the Bradman Cup. His best betting performance was 109 against Whangarei Cricket Club. His best bowling was 6/8 playing for Radford College against Canberra Grammar School.

Class Shows in Premier Squash Semi-Finals

The semi-finals in the ACT Premier Squash Competition were held this week at the Woden Squash Centre.

Line 1

As predicted, Corey Bedingfield and Peter Nuttall will play the Line 1 Grand Final on Saturday.

Hayden Ross was competitive throughout the match with Corey, however some unforced errors by Hayden during some crucial parts of each game allowed Corey to sneak in front and hold the lead to win 3-0.

Charan Walia was out to push Peter Nuttall as far as he could. While he was able to win 1 game, Peter was able to move Charan around the court which caught up with Charan towards the end.

Line 1 Semi Final Results
Corey Bedingfield (SCSC) defeated Hayden Ross (DSC) 11-9, 14-12, 11-6
Peter Nuttall (SCSC) defeated Charan Walia (SCSC) 11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 11-9

Line 2

The semi Finals saw a couple of match ups for the history books.

First up Alex Lock v Corey Markham. Historically these two have had some cracker matches but of late, Alex has been on top. Alex started off well, dominating from the front, winning the first game 11-7. Corey came out in the 2nd fighting hard, however Alex was able to hang on in a close one, winning the 2nd 13-11. Corey stuck to his guns once again in the 3rd, pushing Alex all the way, once again though, Alex refused to respect his elders, also winning the 3rd in a close one, 12-10.

Next on court was Ben Phillips and Graham Mackay. With both players representing the Dickson Squash Club, Dickson was guaranteed a player in the Grand Final for Line 2. The first game could have gone either way, however some unforced errors towards the end of the first by Ben allowed Graham to get on top, winning 11-7. Ben certainly wasn’t himself in the second game, Graham winning comfortably 11-4. The crowd upstairs waited with anticipation for Ben to get those fist pumps out in the 3rd to make a match of it. With that said, Ben found some form and won the 3rd 11-9. To Graham’s credit though, he wasn’t going to let Ben sneak back into the match, going on to win the 4th 11-6.

The scene has been set for Alex Lock v Graham Mackay in the Grand Final this Saturday.

Line 2 Semi Final Results
Alex Lock (SCSC) defeated Corey Markham (QSC) 11-7, 13-11, 12-10
Graham Mackay (DSC) defeated Ben Phillips (DSC) 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6

Line 3

First up was the hard hitting, cork screwing, Jamie Latham up against the never give up Lachy Watt. Jamie got stuck in early, getting on top, winning the first two games. Lachy showed touches of brilliance during the second however, which continued into the 3rd game, with Lachy going on to win the 3rd game and looking to take it to a five games match. Jamie stuck to his game plan however and Lachy wasn’t able to get in front during the 4th, with Jamie eventually winning 3-1.

With Jamie securing the first spot in the Line 3 Grand Final, it was then up to the young gun Zac Morris up against the experienced Russell Hyde to see who would join Jamie on Saturday. It was basically point for point the entire match, with both players having their opportunities to get on top. In a very close one, Zac snuck in to win the 1st game 12-10. The next 2 games were also close, however Zac was able to keep in front just enough to win 3-0 in the end, however Russell certainly pushed him all the way.

So with the semi finals completed, the Line 3 Grand Final will be Jamie Latham v Zac Morris.

Line 3 Semi Final Results
Jamie Latham (VSC) defeated Lachy Watt (SCSC) 11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8
Zac Morris (SCSC) defeated Russell Hyde (DSC) 12-10, 11-8, 11-9

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