Canberra look to secure minor premiership

Canberra will secure the Canterbury State League minor premiership if they can overcome bottom placed Queanbeyan on Friday night. With just one round remaining before the start of the final series Canberra are just two points ahead of second placed Arawang. Defendi

Round 2 of ACT Premier Squash

Round 2, Wednesday, 24th of August 2016, of the Squash ACT Premier Squash Competition will be held at the Northside Fitness Centre, Dickson this Wednesday night from 7pm. This weeks matches to be held at the Northside Fitness Centre, Dickson are as follows: Line

AFL Canberra Community Leagues – Week 1 Finals Wrap/Week 2 Preview

Week 1 of the AFL Canberra Finals series has been completed, with teams competing on Saturday playing in some of the coldest football conditions in memory at they tried to keep their seasons alive. Women's League In the Women's Division A, the dominant Eastlake Dem

Five teams still in the hunt for four spots

After the final full round of games in Men's Capital League 1, five teams remain in contention for the final four play-off positions. Three teams, Goulburn, Old Canberrans and Central, are assured of featuring in the semi-finals although the order remains uncertain.

Few surprises in Women's Capital League 1

There were few surprises in Round 17 of Capital League 1 with table-toppers Tuggeranong and St Pats both recording stunning victories. In the other games, ANU, Central and Albury also enjoyed wins. As a result of their win this week, Tuggeranong remain undefeated an

Canberra look to secure minor premiership

Canberra look to secure minor premiership

Canberra will secure the Canterbury State League minor premiership if they can overcome bottom placed Queanbeyan on Friday night. With just one round remaining before the start of the final series Canberra are just two points ahead of second placed Arawang. Defending...
Round 2 of ACT Premier Squash

Round 2 of ACT Premier Squash

Round 2, Wednesday, 24th of August 2016, of the Squash ACT Premier Squash Competition will be held at the Northside Fitness Centre, Dickson this Wednesday night from 7pm. This weeks matches to be held at the Northside Fitness Centre, Dickson are as follows: Line 1...

AFL Canberra Community Leagues – Week 1 Finals Wrap/Week 2 Preview

Week 1 of the AFL Canberra Finals series has been completed, with teams competing on Saturday playing in some of the coldest football conditions in memory at they tried to keep their seasons alive.

Women’s League

In the Women’s Division A, the dominant Eastlake Demon’s kicked 5 goals in the first quarter to blow Belconnen out of the park, with Karina Demant continuing her rich run of form on the way to 5 goals.  Eastlake kicked 10 goals for the match whilst keeping their opponents goal less to move into the grand final in a fortnight.  The Elimination final was an absolute cracker of a match, with Queanbeyan getting out to a 15 point lead at half time over the Gungahlin Jets.  Gungahlin fought back after half time to dominate the play, keeping Queanbeyan scoreless for the term to level the match at the final break.  The final quarter was tight, with the Jets sneaking home by 3 points to keep their season alive.

In Division B, the Qualifying final was between traditional Women’s league powerhouses Riverina Lions and Tuggeranong,  with the Lions dominant from the outset, getting out to an unassailable lead early in the game and never looking threatened.  The Lions winning margin of 41 saw them move into the Division B grand final in a fortnight.  Tuggeranong will have to quickly regroup in the match against Molonglo, who comfortably accounted for Ainslie at Football Park.  The Juggernauts got out to a 3 goal lead at quarter time and were able to extend the margin through the match.  Both Preliminary Finals will be held at Jamison next Saturday.

Eastlake 10.4.64 d Belconnen 0.3.3

Gungahlin 3.11.29 d Queanbeyan 4.2.26

Riverina 7.8.50 d Tuggeranong 1.3.9

Molonglo 8.8.56 d Ainslie 2.7.19

Men’s Division 3

The 3rd grade competition saw Batemans Bay travel up to Ainslie Oval to take on the Tricolours in near freezing conditions.  The first quarter was tight with a goal apiece, before Ainslie asserted their dominance to hold a 31 point lead at half time.  Two goals to Shaun Green after the break gave the Seahawks a glimmer of hope, until a late goal to Ainslie restored the margin to 4 goals at the final break.  In the end, Ainslie ran out 26 point victors with Angus Nolan kicking three.


Steve Bahr hunts for the footy. // Photo by Kylie Asanovski

The 2nd Elimination final saw Woden host ADFA, with Woden holding a 7 point lead at the first break. The match was broken open with a 6 goal 2nd term to the Blues, followed by a dominant third quarter where ADFA were kept scoreless.  The final margin was 65 points, with veteran Michael Stevens kicking 6.

This leaves the top four teams playing off for spots in the grand final – Minor Premiers Molonglo host traditional rivals Woden at Stirling Oval in the local derby.  Woden defeated Molonglo at Stirling in round 3, and Molonglo returned the dose at Footy Park in Round 16.  It should be a cracking match and a big crowd is expected.  In the 2nd Preliminary final, ANU host Ainslie at South Oval on Sunday.  ANU are a traditional league powerhouse, but Ainslie are the form club of the AFL Canberra competition.  Again, both sides won a game each in the previous 2 encounters, but I am tipping ANU to master the expected heavy conditions at South Oval to set up a replay of the 2015 Grand Final against Woden.

Ainslie 7.15.57 d Batemans Bay 4.7.31

Woden 12.20.92 d ADFA 4.3.27

Men’s Division 4

In 4th Grade, ANU faced Woden in brutally cold conditions at Ainslie.  For much of the first half the players were hammered with hail and rain in subzero temperatures, as ANU proved too experienced in wet weather football to open an unassailable lead by the main break.  Woden fought gamely in the second half, but ANU were never troubled to run out 45 point victors.  Tim Robb continued his rich vein of form to kick 6 in difficult conditions for a key forward.  The second final was a replay of the final home and away game between ADFA and the Southern Cats.  The Cats got out of the blocks early to lead by 10 points at the first change, but ADFA fought back gamely to hold an 8 point lead at the long break.  The Rams were able to skip away in the third term and ran out 20 point victors.

The Preliminary Finals now see the dominant Yass Roos ‘host’ ADFA at Stirling Oval on Saturday.  Yass have been the class of the competition all year, but the expanses of Stirling Oval can take some adjustment.  The second Prelim is a double header as ANU host Ainslie at South Oval – yes, you read that right.  ANU are always hard to beat at home, and I expect an upset with the Griffins to take on the Roos at Manuka Oval in the Grand Final in a fortnight.

ANU 13.14.92 d Woden 7.5.47

ADFA 11.9.75 d Southern Cats 8.7.55

Women’s Finals 

Sat 27th August at Jamison

Division B:  Tuggeranong vs Molonglo: 12:00

Division A:  Belconnen vs Gungahlin:  2:30

Men’s Finals

Saturday 27th August at Stirling Oval

Division 4:  Yass vs ADFA/RMC Rams:  12:00

Division 3:  Molonglo vs Woden:  2:30

Sunday 28th August at South Oval, ANU

Division 4:  ANU vs Ainslie:  12:00

Division 3:  ANU vs Ainslie:  2:30


Five teams still in the hunt for four spots

After the final full round of games in Men’s Capital League 1, five teams remain in contention for the final four play-off positions. Three teams, Goulburn, Old Canberrans and Central, are assured of featuring in the semi-finals although the order remains uncertain. St Pats and Wests will play in what is now an important game next week and the outcome of that game will determine who takes the coveted 4th place on the table.

Round 20 results make for interesting reading with Goulburn upsetting Checks and a depleted Central holding on to account for St Pats. In the other games, United and Wests enjoyed impressive wins over Albury and Tuggeranong respectively.

Round 20 results
Central 4 def. St Pats 3
Wests 10 def. Tuggeranong Vikings 1
United 7 def.  Albury 1
Goulburn 3 def. Old Canberrans 1

Central come from behind to hurt St Pats
In the early game, Central had to come from behind when St Pats let slip early domination to win 4-3 after the teams were locked at 2-2 at half-time. Jack Wallace got St Pats off to the best possible start with a tomahawk from the top of the circle in the opening minutes and then doubled their lead with a powerful penalty corner conversion in the 20th minute. Within 5 minutes, Central were back in the game when Matt Hotchkis made no mistake with a penalty stroke conversion. As half-time beckoned and only a minute left on the clock, Central were back on even terms when their hardworking striker Troy Sutherland put away a rebound from a penalty corner.

Central rushed to the lead just three minutes after the resumption when Jamie Hawke scored from a corner variation but their elation was short-lived as Dom McFarlane made a brilliant run into the attacking zone and passed to Josh Thomas who scored. Undaunted, Central maintained their composure and midway through the half, a Chris Jorgensen pass found Jason Donohoe who restored the lead for Central. With less than a minute remaining, St Pats were awarded a penalty corner, hotly disputed by Central’s defence. As the siren sounded, their vitriol was clearly replaced by poise as Wallace’s flick was well saved by Luke Black and Central cleared the ball to win the game by a single goal and keep their minor premiership aspirations alive. This loss means St Pats must win or draw their final game next week if they are to feature in the playoffs.

Wests rout Tuggeranong to keep their season alive
Wests have ensured that their season is still alive and warmed up for a showdown with St Pats next week when they demolished Tuggeranong 10-1 after leading 6-1 at half time. This was a remarkably impressive victory but also an important one as they enjoyed a feast of goals with a display of fast, open and fluent attack. Goals scorers for Wests were Niranjan Gupte (4), Andrew Stead (3), Garry Backhus (2) and Lachlan Norberg (1). An Adam Crowther deflection from an Eamon MacDonnell pass earned the Vikings their only goal in the first half.

After a series of indifferent performances in mid-season when they struggled to field a full squad due to player unavailability and injury, Wests are enjoying superb form and will be in a positive frame of mind as they prepare for their important game next week. Tuggeranong have little to play for but they are continuing to expose younger squad members to the rigours of CL1 and this approach should bode well for them in future seasons.

Goulburn edge to the top of table by upsetting Old Canberrans
Goulburn continued their good form with an emphatic and convincing 3-1 win over a disjointed Old Canberrans outfit which was disconcertingly ineffective in attack, failing to finish off their opportunities in front of goal. Goulburn started the game with more purpose and peppered the Checks’ defence with only wayward shooting and brilliant interceptions by Seyi Onitiri and saves by keeper Mark Ross keeping them out. After 10 minutes the pressure told when a clever pass from Daniel Fleming found Dean Evans who made no mistake. Checks were unusually sluggish and no amount of urging from Onitiri could instil purpose and enthusiasm in their approach. Goulburn’s defensive structure held firm with Aaron Kershaw, James Hangar, Dean Robertson and Kurt Devlin able to maintain rigid discipline as Checks seemed to rely on individual sorties rather than a team approach to their attack. Goulburn held on to their 1-0 lead at the break.

The second half again had the visitors in control and they had little difficulty in withstanding Checks’ occasional attacking forays and penalty corners. With 15 minutes of the second period remaining, an Aaron Kershaw flick gave them a two-goal lead which they extended to three goals a few minutes later when Evans’ took advantage of a loose Checks’ clearance and punished them with a powerful tomahawk from the top of the circle. Dan Conroy gave Checks something to smile about late in the game with a well-taken goal but the game was gone and Goulburn held on for a deserved victory.

Goulburn have played their last round game for the season and are currently on top of the table. They will end their season either on top of the table or in second position. These are nervous times for Checks who seem to have lost much of their cohesion and structural integrity in midfield. A further concern is their inability to convert their penalty corners, an aspect of their game which has been increasingly vexatious for their supporters in recent games. They have a difficult game next week and another loss would see them drop to third which would be a significantly disquieting outcome for a team which has set the pace for much of the year. If they are to finish the season on a high note with a win, they will take out the minor premiership which their early form, until recently, suggested was theirs for the taking.

United finishing overwhelms Albury
In a game in which all 8 goals seemed to be scored in pairs, United overwhelmed Albury 7-1 after leading 4-0 at half time. Two early goals in rapid succession to Jeremy Hopkins and Tom Deane after just 5 minutes gave United an early lead and control of their encounter with the visitors. United were in command throughout and never looked like losing as they rushed to a 4-goal lead at half-time with goals to Aaron Knight and a second to Deane in the 22nd and 23rd minutes. Albury’s ball control let them down as time and again, they ventured forward only to find their final passes missing their targets, giving the United defence time and space to set up attacking options.

In the 43rd and 46th minutes, United extended their lead to 6-0 with goals to Iain Davidson and a third to Deane. With five minutes left on the clock, a clever run by Albury’s Jeremy Payne, who was busy throughout, drew an infringement from the opposition’s defence and the ensuing penalty corner was converted by Andrew Monte. The goal was clearly too little too late and within a minute, United finished off a satisfying afternoon when Knight pounced on a loose ball and slammed it into the net.

United must be ruing their early inconsistent defensive form. With one game remaining, their goal scoring record is among the best in Capital League 1. Albury’s season is now over. They have proved to be a more effective team this year and if they can maintain depth and experience in their squad, they will undoubtedly provide a test for opposition teams next year.


Few surprises in Women’s Capital League 1

There were few surprises in Round 17 of Capital League 1 with table-toppers Tuggeranong and St Pats both recording stunning victories. In the other games, ANU, Central and Albury also enjoyed wins.

As a result of their win this week, Tuggeranong remain undefeated and cannot be beaten to the minor-premiership, a worthy testament to their brilliant form this season. Central have jumped to 4th position on the table and barring upsets and with just one game to be played, they should feature in the semi-finals.

Round 17 results
Saturday games
Albury 3 def. University of Canberra 2
ANU 3 def. Goulburn 1
Sunday games
Central 2 def. Old Canberrans 1
St Pats 5 def. United 1
Tuggeranong Vikings 11 def. North Canberra 1

Saturday games
Albury enjoy the spoils in a close game at home
In the game in Albury, the local side had a valuable 3-2 victory over University of Canberra after leading 1-0 at the break. Albury were on the attack early with a series of penalty corners only to find University equal to the challenge. The locals’ first goal came from a clever passage of play when a Chloe Jones pass found Laura Errey who made no mistake. University responded positively and peppered the Albury goal only to find Danielle Martin in a defiant mood and her sterling efforts enabled the locals to go to the break with a nervous one-goal advantage.

An early goal in the second half to Chloe Jones gave Albury a two-goal buffer but they were unable to switch off as UC finally broke through midway through the half with a penalty corner. Under pressure, Albury had to lift and a Nan Latta penalty corner conversion in the 58th minute again restored their two goal advantage. The locals held on gamely as UC continued to press, earning yet another series of corners. Their pressure eventually paid dividends when, with just two minutes remaining, they scored to leave Albury with a 3-2 lead which they held until the final whistle. Celina Poon and Lil Mutton scored for the students. This was Albury’s final game for this season. This win ensures that they will now finish their season in a creditable 6th position on the table. University have one game left this season and will be hoping all their players remain available as they begin to plan their next campaign.

Many thanks to Steve Ronnfeldt for his contribution to this report.

ANU too strong for gallant Goulburn
Goulburn hosted ANU for their last game of their season but were unable to match the visitors who warmed up for the semi-finals with a comfortable 3-1 victory. Amy Arnott scored two goals and Rachel Barnsley one for the students while Bianca Wilson scored for Goulburn. As this was Goulburn’s final game for the season, they now end their campaign on 14 points with 4 wins and two draws. ANU have a potentially difficult game next week and need to bring their “A” game as they can warm up for their finals campaign.

Sunday games
Central hold on to win
In a lacklustre game, Central kept their season alive with a useful, if less than convincing 2-1 win against a Checks side which lacked intensity and purpose. The teams were locked at 0-0 at half time as both sides created few opportunities, squandering possession with poor ball control and wasteful passing. Indeed, the dull, grey overcast sky was the perfect backdrop for the sombre mood of supporters and the dour nature of the first half. The game came to life and Central took the lead early in the second period when Sophie Rodda scored with a strong penalty corner. Checks hit back quickly when Bella Apps intercepted a wayward Central clearance and as she drew the goal keeper, her mistimed shot just bobbled inside the post of an open net. In the 49th minute, Central again took a 2-1 lead when a clever Sam Howitt run into the circle drew the Checks’ defence. Her pass found Kate Dooley who scored from a tight angle, the goal enabling Central to take three valuable points.

Central are now well-positioned to end the season in 4th position and enjoy a place in the semi-finals. For Checks, their inconsistent season leaves them well off the pace with one game remaining.

St Pats continue to dominate
St Pats dominated from the outset and all but ended United’s season when they enjoyed a comprehensive 5-1 victory. St Pats led 2-0 at half-time. They dominated the early stages of the game with Stef Kindon, Aleisha Price, Millie Monfries and Mikayla Evans creating havoc in United’s defence and giving them little respite throughout the match. Kindon and Price each scored midway through the first half as their sustained pressure told on United. St Pats continued to apply pressure at the start of the second period and despite failing to convert a penalty stroke, they extended their lead to 4 goals with Renae Robinson and a second to Kindon in the 50th and 53rd minute. United may have hoped for a late fightback when 9 minutes from full time, Bronte Rockliff scored to reduce the margin to three but their elation was brief as within a minute, Kindon scored her third for the game after a typically sweeping move from midfield into attack.

St Pats are a team replete with speed and talent and if they can maintain this form, they are a real chance in the finals. This game may well have put an end to United’s hopes for a place in the finals as they now have dropped to fifth and must win next week while hoping other results go their way if they are to feature in the semi-finals.

Tuggeranong’s relentless undefeated run continues
In the late game, Tuggeranong continued their impressive journey towards completing the preliminary rounds as the only undefeated team in the competition when they ran roughshod over a willing and at times defiant North Canberra to run out 11-1 winners. The Vikings were at their ruthless best in the first half with 6 goals. Ashleigh Deacon started proceedings in the first five minutes with a goal which opened the flood gates as Rebecca Lee chimed in with three field goals and Sassie Economos converted two short corners with no-nonsense strikes. They continued to dominate in the second half with an early goal to Sophie Gaughan who converted a penalty corner variation, two more goals to Lee and two goals to Laura Gray. Gray, incidentally, has now taken her season tally to 31 goals, the same number of goals scored by the entire Central team which occupies 4th position on the table! Late in the game, Charley Nisbet scored for North Canberra with a clever deflection to lift the spirits of her team.

Tuggeranong are now assured of the minor-premiership even if they were to lose next week. North Canberra can still have an impact on the make-up of the final four with their game next week before they assess their season and prepare their future direction.


Women’s Cricket to be highlighted at ACT Lord’s Taverner’s Dinner

A showcase of women’s cricket is the highlight of the 2016 Lord’s Taverners ACT Annual Dinner, which is taking place in Canberra next week.

The guest speaker at the cricket charity event is former Southern Stars champion Lisa Sthalekar, while a host of other former and current leading women’s players will speak.

“Lisa has been described as ‘arguably the greater all-rounder women’s cricket has seen’ in the eight Tests, 125 one-day internationals and 54 T20 matches she played for Australia,” said Ric Smith, President of the Lord’s Taverners ACT.

“Her insights into the tremendous progress that women’s cricket has made in recent years will be invaluable.”

Lisa, who retired from international cricket in 2013 and is now a cricket commentator, was a member of the Australian teams at the 2005 and 2013 World Cups, the T20 World Cups in 2010 and 2012 and of Ashes-winning sides.

The master of ceremonies for the Annual Dinner will be retired White Ferns star, Nicola Browne. In addition to playing two Tests, 125 one-day internationals and 54 T20s for New Zealand from 2002-2014, Nicola is an honorary life member of the Marylebone Cricket Club.

“A panel discussion featuring national and ACT spinner Erin Osborne will cap off what promises to be an outstanding event,” Mr Smith said. “You don’t have to be a member of the Lord’s Taverners to attend – this event is open to everyone.”

The Annual Dinner is being held on Thursday, 25 August at Royal Canberra Golf Club. To book a seat, contact the Lord’s Taverners by email (

Further information:

Hamish Arthur, Committee, Lord’s Taverners ACT – 0406 510 083

Ben Darlington – life saver; cancer survivor; Everest conquerer

To make it to the summit of Mount Everest, descend safely and live to tell the story, just once, is amazing.

To make it to the summit twice, descend safely and live to tell the story hints at remarkable courage and strength.

To make it to the summit of the world’s highest mountain as a married couple is truly remarkable.

And yet, modest Canberra electrician Ben Darlington has done all of these things, this year with his equally courageous wife Laura, who is now one of fewer than 15 Australian women to reach the summit.


Laura and Ben Darlington. // Photo supplied by Ben Darlington

This tale of survival rarely gets bigger for one man who had cheated death on several occasions – not just in mountain climbing, but also by defeating cancer.

What happened on the way down from Everest in May this year elevated Ben from a strong, successful, courageous and tenacious adventurer, to a life saver.

Descending to Camp 4 (at 26,000 feet it’s just 3,000 feet below the summit) Darlington committed self-sacrifice to save the life of a climber trapped and edging closer to death.

This part of Everest is known as the “Death Zone”, and it is very difficult to survive on or above this deadly altitude.

Incredibly, Ben, Laura, and the trapped climbers made it out and back down to Base Camp, but Ben suffered severe frostbite on his toes.


Ben Darlington. // Photo supplied by Ben Darlington

The condition of one of the trapped climbers, Robert Kay, was severe and  could have taken his life easily had he not received vital aid from the healthier married couple.

“Along with altitude sickness, two common conditions that extreme altitude climbers suffer from are pulmonary oedema – fluid on the lungs – and cerebral oedema – cerebral fluid on the brain. Robert had both.” Darlington explained.

Ben and Laura, with enough oxygen supply to last them through, opted to stay with Robert overnight at Camp 4 – both risking the same conditions which were threatening Robert Kay’s life.

Kay was found on the other side of their camp, barely breathing. 

“He had minutes to live.” Ben said.

“We dragged him into our tent with the help of another team member and injected him with Dexamethazone. This steroid injection put a small amount of life back into him and Robert was just alive”.


Ben Darlington. // Photo supplied by Ben Darlington

“We spent the whole night keeping him that way. Every moment that he was slipping away, Laura would administer drugs. She was amazing. To be able to do what she did at sea level is one thing, but at 8000 metres after her first summit was incredible and I was proud to watch”.

“I’m hopeless with patients so I was organising the rescue for the morning and keeping the maximum flow rate of oxygen to Robert”.

“That night was the longest night of our lives”.

“[Laura and I] had enough oxygen to last us the night, but we had to save it to keep a sufficient supply.” Ben said.

The couple and the stranded climbers were at 7,000 metres at the time and Robert had to be brought down to 6,500 metres in 14 hours in order to save his life.

“Robert survived but was very weak. We needed to move as three nights at Camp 4 is the maximum and Robert wouldn’t last another night. We left Camp 4 with our lead Sherpa clipped, and we pulled Robert from the front and I held Robert vertical from behind as we started to descend.”

Laura continued to supply drugs and oxygen to Robert as they ascended down to Camp 2, with her and Ben’s oxygen supplies running low.

They made it to Camp 2 safely, where a helicopter eventually arrived and took Robert to Kathmandu hospital, where he received expert care and eventually recovered.


Ben and Laura Darlington. // Photo supplied by Ben Darlington

The journey to the summit of Mount Everest is one of the toughest challenges known to man. Altitude sickness, oedema, hypothermia and falls have taken the lives of almost 280 people in the last few decades.

For Ben and Laura, it was a tight race to the top, pushing past other climbers, and they had to watch their oxygen flow rates.

But once at the summit, Ben described the feeling at the top of the world with his wife as a rare feat.

“After spending a planned extra day at camp 4 we left on our summit push at around 8am, but quickly found ourselves catching up to slower climbers, with too many to pass.” Ben stated.

“Experience told me to turn down our oxygen flow rates and settle in to a slow pace for a long night”.

“Laura fell into a small crevasse that I failed to point out. But she gets up and keeps going. It was peaceful with medium wind, beautiful sheet lightning over the mountains behind us and the odd “what the f*** are you doing here? Hurry the f*** up or f*** off!” coming from my mouth”.

“We continued higher with me watching Laura’s every move but she was climbing like a pro. Every hard section I thought she might crack, but she powered up. By this time the sun was rising and we were a couple hours from the summit”.

“I knew we were going to make it”.

“We crested the south summit, carefully climbing along the traverse, up the Hillary step and on to the summit”.

“What an amazing and scary feeling, being on the top of the world with your wife. I couldn’t believe we both made it together”.

“It will be hard to top in our lifetime.”

The electrician revealed that he was aware of his frostbitten condition while at Camp 4 and how it came about, but that he had more important matters to worry about at the time.

“When at Camp 4 in the tent with Robert, he was hypothermic and the tent was small. I had my feet under him and they got cold, real cold, frostbite cold”.

“At the time, I knew I was getting frost bite, but we had bigger issues”.

“I have paid the price”.

“Once frost-bitten, you don’t take your boots off until you have options, as feet swell and my boots wouldn’t go back on. So at Base Camp I took my boots off and realised I had bad frost bite. The next morning, I was choppered to Kathmandu”.

“Life is not meant to be easy”.

“Our experiences shape who we are, and help us understand life. 8000 metre expeditions certainly have many highs and lows but this takes the cake.”

Darlington, who owns and runs a very successful electrical contracting company in Canberra servicing Property Management, Strata and Facilities Management companies, began his passion for mountain climbing in Peru, South America in 2011, before beginning his first ascent to Mount Everest in 2012.

However, Ben was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2013, and, despite successful treatment and recovery on the first round, it returned again in Peru in 2014.

This time it had spread to the stomach, and he had to undertake further treatment with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He eventually recovered for the second time.

Despite this, he would not let such a setback halt his dream and passion for mountain climbing, and proved it by ascending the deadly top-of-the-world summit once again.

It proved a very successful comeback.

Darlington also had some useful advice on what it would take to survive such a deadly mountainous adventure.

He said that one must first know their area and allow their bodies to adapt to altitude without ‘cheating the system’.

“Skiing and camping out on the mountain over time is a useful way of becoming familiar with your altitudinal surroundings.” he said.

“Your body must learn to adapt to 6,500 metres, to allow the number of blood cells to increase. No ‘artificial doping’ helps.”

He revealed that the drug he used to save the life of Kay was a form of steroid that has limited availability for purchase.

“There are prescription drugs used on the mountain that are available in hospitals but not over the [general pharmacy] counter.”

One such prescription drug included Illoprost, which Ben used to treat his frostbitten toes, but not without a sufficient sting in cost.

“[Illoprost] is used to treat hypotension in blood vessels. One injection for seven days costs around $US10,000”.

“[The frostbite] could heal over time, but nobody knows how or what will happen.”

He also refuses to accept that his condition will restrict him from furthering his mountain climbing ambitions.

“Frostbite will not hold me back. I would hate for Everest to be my last one, but I would not want to go back there.”

He had also developed a kinship with the native Sherpas, who are more adapted to the altitudinal conditions and act as the guides for climbing Everest. They also have the authority to permit mountaineers to climb when safe.

This included halting the climbing of the mountain indefinitely after the deadly avalanche in 2014, which took 16 lives, and then again after the earthquake in 2015 that triggered another avalanche and killed 22 people at Base Camp.

When asked about the psychological challenge of the eerie sight of dead bodies on or below the summit of Everest, Darlington said that the experience acted as a motivational tool to aid in overcoming the odds against surviving.

“You must think about what the people who died did not do that inspires you to think about what you can do to survive.”

Canberra edges out Arawang in thriller

A goal from Canberra goal shooter Nalani Makunde right on full-time has given her side a dramatic 54-53 win over Arawang in round nine of the Canterbury State League netball competition.

In a controversial last quarter Canberra looked to have the game in their keeping leading by two goals with just under a minute left.

However two goals from Arawang in quick succession saw them draw level 53-all with just seconds left on the clock.

From the centre circle Canberra hurled the ball forward and into the hands of Makunde with Arawang believing time had expired.

The umpires allowed the final goal to stand giving Canberra a crucial victory that has seen them go top of the ladder.

Canberra only needs to defeat bottom placed Queanbeyan next Friday night to claim the minor premiership.

Canberra coach Tara Steel said her sides close victory was just what the side needed heading into the finals series.

“It was a really closely fought contest that had a finals feel about it,” Steel said.

“We led by nine goals at halftime but typical of Arawang they fought back really well in the third term and the last quarter was real nail biter.”

“We used a number of different combinations and I thought having Shannon Priestly back really bolstered our defence.”

“It was fitting Nalani scored the winning goal because she was great in the final quarter and is a young player who continues to get better each week.

In other games Belconnen recorded their best win of the season defeating defending champions Tuggeranong 66-64, while South Canberra overcame a determined Queanbeyan 47-40.


Canberra 54 defeated 53 Arawang

Belconnen 66 defeated 64 Tuggeranong

South Canberra 47 defeated 40 Queanbeyan

AFL Finals in Men’s Divisions 3 and 4 and Women’s League

It’s finals time in the AFL Canberra Division 3, 4 and Women’s competitions this week, with the women split into the A and B Division at the completion of the home and away season.

The Men’s Community Leagues had another major restructure in 2016, with the teams formerly competing in the short lived Regional League joining up with last year’s Division 3 and 4.  Regional powerhouses Goulburn and Cootamundra joined Division 3 for the first time, and the club formerly known as Harman returned to two teams to coincide with their move out to the new Googong estate.  Following on from Ainslie’s withdrawal from the NEAFL, they entered teams in Division 3 and 4, whilst Cooma (now the Southern Cats), Yass and Tuggeranong moved to Division 4, and Batemans Bay returned to two sides.

Yes, it was a big offseason for changes. With the expanded competition came expanded finals, with a Top 6 replacing the Top 4 from 2015.

Men’s Division 3

In Division 3, Molonglo started the season slowly, with just three wins after seven rounds, but clicked into gear to take the minor premiership with a 12-2 record, earning a week off with ANU Griffins who finished 11 and 3.  Both teams are now rewarded with a week off to take on this weekends victors from two elimination finals.

This weekend sees the 3rd placed Ainslie take on Batemans Bay, who finished 7 and 7 but without a win in Canberra.  The Bay’s last game was a close defeat against ANU at Hanging Rock Oval, so they will be optimistic of a good result.  Ainslie finished the season with a 10-4 record, with a narrow loss to Molonglo ending a 4 game winning streak.  Ainslie are flying as a club, with all 4 senior sides making finals, and won both games against the Seahawks this year – Ainslie should be too strong at home in conditions that should suit them more than Batemans Bay.


Brad McLean of Woden Blues handballs. // Photo by Callum McRae, Facebook

The second Division 3 game sees the 2015 Premiers Woden take on ADFA.  Woden finished 10-4, with a late form slump seeing them drop games to ADFA, Cootamundra and Molonglo, then bouncing back against a depleted Batemans Bay in their final game three weeks ago.  With washouts and consecutive byes in the final two rounds, the Blues have played one game in a month, and will be fit and fired up ready to go.  ADFA are also coming in fresh, with just 2 games in 7 weeks after washouts, byes and forfeits.  The Rams are always fit and fast, and the wide open expanses of Footy Park should allow them to exploit their pace.  The match may be decided by who shakes off the cobwebs first – and I will be backing the experienced Blues to hold on at home.

Men’s Division 4

In Division 4, the draw was slightly compromised due to the number of teams, but Yass took the minor premiership with a commanding 14 and 1 season, their only loss coming in Round 7 at home against Ainslie.  Yass have shared the goals around this year, with no dominant forward but a game that has been able to rack up some big scores.  Runners up were Ainslie, whose loss in the penultimate game against Yass at Hughes Oval cost them the minor Premiership.  Ainslie played a game more than the other sides, and their 14-2 record saw them sneak into 2nd on win percentage.

The first Elimination final sees ANU take on Woden at Ainslie Oval on Saturday.  ANU were extremely unlucky to finish 3rd with a 13-2 season, only dropping games to Yass and Ainslie.  Their two meetings against Woden were massive victories, the last being a 126 point belting of the Blues.  The Griffins defence has been exceptional this season, conceding almost 200 points less than the next best, and the attack has clicked into gear with big Tim Robb kicking 46 goals so far.  On the other hand, Woden won their last three including a virtual elimination final last weekend against the UC Magpies for an unexpected finals appearance.  Despite the Blues improved back half of the season, ANU will be unbackable favourites to continue into next week.


Southern Cats vs Googong Hogs. // Photo by Kylie Asanovski, Facebook

The second elimination final sees the Southern Cats take on the ADFA Rams. The two teams met last week, with ADFA getting home by a goal in a cracking match.  This was a much needed win for the Rams after a surprise midweek loss to Googong, but as always ADFA can’t be discounted as they are fitter and faster than almost every team in the competition.  The Cats have made finals for the 2nd consecutive year, and after leaving their spiritual home in the mountains and setting up in Canberra’s south, its been a successful move.  Cooma always play hard, contested footy, which is well suited to cold and damp conditions expected on Sunday.  I am backing the Cats to turn around last weeks result and keep their season alive.

Women’s League

In the AFL Canberra Womens League, the competition splits at the end of the home and away season, with the top 4 competing for Division A, and 5-8th Division B.  The League has been getting stronger each season, and has supplied a number of players to the GWS Giants Women’s side, as well as the NSW/ACT Team which played South Australia at the Adelaide Oval in a game shown live on Foxtel.


Rebecca Hall from Eastlake. // Photo supplied by Eastlake

In Division A, Eastlake finished top of the ladder, and take on runners up Belconnen at Jamison at midday, Saturday.  Eastlake have built on last season’s Premiership success, and with dominant Karina Demant kicking 55 goals and demonstrating her talents ready for the 2017 National Women’s League.  Belconnen have only dropped the two games for the year and will be confident of taking it to the Demons.  The elimination final sees Queanbeyan and Gungahlin make their Division A finals debuts, a great testament to the work undertaken to develop new players and strengthen womens football by the Senior Clubs. Both games are at Jamison Oval on Saturday.

In Division B, Tuggeranong will be hoping to get the win after a disappointing season hurt by injury and absence of key players, taking on the Riverina Lions at Ainslie at 10am, and Molonglo take on Ainslie at Football Park at 10am on Sunday in the elimination final.

Saturday – Alan Ray Oval, Ainslie.  Entry $5 adults, kids $1

10am – Tuggeranong vs Riverina

12 – ANU vs Woden

2:30 – Ainslie vs Batemans Bay

Saturday – Jamison Oval

12 – Eastlake vs Belconnen

2:30 – Queanbeyan vs Gungahlin

Sunday – Football Park, Phillip.  Entry is free

10am – Molonglo vs Ainslie

12 – ADFA vs Cooma

2:30 – Woden vs ADFA

Close Matches in Round 1 of ACT Premier Squash

With Round 1 completed, last night at the Woden Squash Centre saw a couple of close matches as well as a couple matches featuring players still to hit their straps as the competition progresses.

Line 1


The ACT Spring Premier Squash Competition is co-sponsored by Sean Rogers of Luton Properties.

The number 1 seed in Line 1, Corey Bedingfield, came up against the upcoming Adam Gauntlet, who has returned to Premier this season after a very serious injury to his ankle. Adam fought hard during the match, keeping Corey honest throughout, with plenty of long rallies. But in the end, Corey’s experience showed through with a close three set win. With a few more matches back at the top level, Adam will soon be back on track to apply some more pressure on the top seeds in line 1.

Corey Bedingfield (SCSC) defeated Adam Gauntlet (VSC) 11-4, 11-7, 11-8

Peter Nuttall (SCSC) defeated Charan Walia (SCSC) 11-6, 11-7, 11-9

Finian Kennedy (DSC) defeated Hayden Ross (DSCS) Forfeit

Line 2

Line 2 kicked off with a match for the ages….. old rivals Corey Markham came up against Ben Phillips. These two have had some corkers over the past few years, but this week, Ben came out firing, playing tight, consistent squash from the outset. Corey certainly wasn’t himself throughout the match, and Ben kept the foot on the peddle not giving him a chance to claw his way back into some form, winning in three sets. Round 1, line 2, also saw the return of Leigh Bishop back to Premier Squash. It was great to see Leigh back in the customary tracksuit pants during these colder nights and they didn’t slow him down any, defeating Alex Lock also in three sets. Alex will know what to expect the next time they play I’m sure.

Ben Phillips (DSC) defeated Corey Markham (QSC) 11-7, 11-6, 11-8

Leigh Bishop (QSC) defeated Alex Lock (SCSC) 11-7, 11-5, 11-7

Line 3

Line 3 saw some very close matches across all 3 match ups during round 1. Match of the round was tipped to be Jamie Latham v James Rusk, however after the first 2 games being a close tussle, James ended up winning in three sets. The actual match of the round was between the new boy from Cooma, Dirk Phillips, representing South Canberra playing the young gun also from South Canberra, Lachy Watt. Even with pedigree squash blood flowing through his veins, Lachy realised early on he was in for a match. Both players took it in turns to win the first 4 games, with the 5th game the only thing separating them. The fifth and last game was close all the way with Lachy being the eventual winner.

James Rusk (QSC) defeated Jamie Latham (VSC) 11-9, 11-9, 11-6

Lachy Watt (SCSC) defeated Dirk Phillips (SCSC) 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 15-13

Russell Hyde (DSC) defeated Zac Morris (SCSC) 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9


Active children – combatting obesity

Obesity in Australian children is a damning indictment of Australian society. We are blessed with high quality education, wealth, a climate which is conducive to outdoor activity and community resources and infrastructure as good as anywhere in the world.

Despite all these advantages, our children are getting fatter, more sedentary and increasingly prone to debilitating obesity-related diseases. Some of the problem can be put down to genetic factors but the general consensus of medical opinion is that obesity is largely the consequence of poor lifestyle choices by children and their caregivers.

Watch this interesting discussion on Channel 10*   (*with thanks to Kidspot).

Also see article on Will restricting junk food advertising reduce childhood obesity?

This just should not be happening in Australia. Our remote-control lifestyle has, quite simply, made us lazy and complacent and we are letting down our children as a consequence.

We owe it to our kids to get them off the couch, to turn off the tablet, smartphone and television for a few hours each day and change their diets (which means changing ours !), go outside and get scabby knees, whether in an organised sport or just playing in parks and climbing trees.

They need to move. As parents and caregivers, adults need to set the example.

In August 2015, the Better Health Channel, an initiative of the Victorian Government, noted:

” The number of overweight children in Australia has doubled in recent years, with a quarter of children considered overweight or obese. Causes of obesity in children include unhealthy food choices, lack of physical activity and family eating habits. This rise in the number of overweight children is disturbing, because it causes health problems and can lead to social problems. Overweight children are more likely to be teased by their peers or to develop low self-esteem or body image problems. Once children are overweight, it requires a lot of effort and commitment for them to return to a healthy weight. Overweight and obesity in children are among the most important risks to children’s long and short-term health. Overweight children are very likely to become overweight adults…Levels of childhood obesity are increasing at alarming rates in many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. In Australia, one in five children and adolescents are either overweight or obese. From 1985 to 1995 the number of overweight 7–15 year olds almost doubled. The numbers of obese children has more than tripled. At the current rate, it is predicted that 65 per cent of young Australians will be overweight or obese by 2020.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (Australian Health Survey 2011-12) and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, approximately 25% of Australian children are obese or overweight. The AIHW also notes:

  • Almost two thirds of adults are overweight or obese
  • 10% more adults are overweight or obese than in 1995
  • 15% more people living in remote and regional Australia are overweight or abuse than urban Australians

Unquestionably, lifestyle choices for and by children lead to ingrained habits in adulthood, by which time it might be too late to prevent long term health problems.

What causes obesity?

Children become overweight and obese because they take in more energy (food) than they expend (movement, exercise). To put it simply, moving a finger across a tablet or pressing the button on the remote control is not sufficient physical activity to burn up the calories. The result is food effectively converted into fat, rather than utilised to provide an energy source for exercise and creating muscle.

Growing bodies need food, so diet is not the primary issue in relation to excess weight and obesity if it is well balanced and complemented by good sleep and drinking plenty of water each day. The issue is ensuring that the amount of food consumed is used as fuel in proportion to the amount of activity a child undertakes.

Active children need more food. Inactive children may need to consume less, although it is inherently dangerous to eat less than the body needs for energy. The problem in our society today is that many children eat as much when sedentary as they would otherwise need if they were active. So, they put on weight and the spiral of long-term health problems begins.

The only ways to lose weight are to eat less without exercising, which is potentially dangerous, or eat well and exercise, which is safe and healthy.

This is not to say that children shouldn’t rest and that sitting on the couch watching television, taking selfies or reading are inherently unhealthy. All children, like all adults, need to rest and recover and sleep is absolutely critical to good physical and mental health. However, too much rest or a sedentary lifestyle for an otherwise healthy child is a recipe for becoming overweight and even obese. As in all things, what is important is getting the balance right; in this case, between food intake, rest/recovery and energy expenditure (exercise).

What are the personal consequences of overweight and obesity?

Overweight or obese children run the risk of developing

  • cardiovascular disease
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • chronic kidney disease
  • musculoskeletal conditions
  • cancer

Worse, children may become addicted to vacuous tv shows, video games, tablets, smartphones, social media, chocolate and soft drink!

Worse than worse, they may grow up to watch more sport than they play, or spend more time watching nature documentaries than going out into the bush and walking in it.

The financial cost of obesity

The AIHW notes that in 2008-09, $7.7 billion, or 10.4% of total disease expenditure, was spent on treating cardiovascular disease, which is one of the major outcomes of obesity. Imagine if that $7.7 billion could have been spent on maintenance of sports grounds and recreation facilities, public housing, schools or public transport infrastructure. Then, extrapolate out to spending on other diseases and conditions which children and adults contract simply as a result of not getting enough exercise and suffering health deficits.

Overall, according to the AIHW, Australia spent $140.2 billion, or 9.5% of GDP, on health care in 2011-12.  The National Health and Medical Research Council notes that in 2005, the “total direct cost” of overweight and obesity treatment in Australia was $21 billion and the indirect cost was $35.6 billion. While much health care is unrelated to obesity, nonetheless it is logical to assume that if children and adults were healthier overall, a substantial proportion of money directed to health care could be used for other worthwhile purposes that benefit communities, such as junior sport and recreation.

At the family level, it is reasonable to conclude that money invested in children being involved in sport and recreation is a better use of the family budget than spending money on doctor and hospital visits because it is an investment in long term health as well all of the other benefits to a child of being fit and healthy. That is not to say that children get sick or injured only because they are overweight or obese, only that a fit and healthy child is less likely to need medical treatment on a regular basis than a child who is inactive and unfit. The financial benefits are more than apparent.

What is the answer?

Unsurprisingly, one antidote to children being overweight or obese is exercise, sleep and a balanced diet. Not only will children be fitter, healthier, happier and better socialised as a result of being active but they will also be building a platform for their adult lives and the lives of their own children. Whether they play organised sport, go bushwalking regularly or just muck around climbing trees, children need to get out of the house and start engaging their muscles.

What can parents and caregivers do?

As those responsible for the health of our children, parents and caregivers can play a significant role in ensuring that our children don’t turn into couch burger balls:

  • set an example by getting fit, or at least fitter
  • make healthy, home-cooked food
  • make sure children get plenty of sleep and drink plenty of water
  • get children to turn off the tablet, smartphone or tv and play outside
  • play with them
  • learn about their chosen sport or activity
  • coach them in their chosen sport, even just in the backyard or on the local oval
  • go on family bike rides and walks with them
  • invest in the sport or activity they like by joining them up to a club
  • research the best equipment that they will need and buy them what you can afford
  • Be at as many of their sports matches or activities as you can; children love having Mum or Dad on the sideline, cheering

Apathy is the cause of much of our, and our children’s, health problems. Energy and enthusiasm are the antidotes.

We all have choices. Help our children to make the right ones.

Note: if you are concerned about your child’s weight, in the first instance, take them to the doctor for a check-up