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Sporting fixtures resume in hockey and AFL

Sports talk
Waves Eagles and Brothers Bulldogs battle it out in a senior clash last year.

In Sports Talk this week, columnist Vince Habermann looks at hockey and AFL fixtures starting again, horse racing and greyhound racing.

Sports Talk with Vince Habermann
Sports Talk with Vince Habermann

The wait is over for some long-starved local sports lovers with Bundaberg Hockey Association and AFL Wide Bay fixtures to finally start their seasons after the COVID-19 shutdowns this weekend.

Hockey will start at Hinkler Park tomorrow with two games each, one on turf and the other on grass, at 9am (under 11), 10.45am (under 13) and 12.30pm (under 16).

Seniors will follow with women’s Raiders/Rovers v Arrows Athletics at 2.15pm and Waves Cities v All Blacks (5.45pm), and in the men’s Arrows Athletics v Raiders/Rovers (4pm) and Waves Cities v All Blacks (7.30pm).

Across town in AFL, Across The Waves Eagles will host Bundaberg games this weekend at Frank Coulthard Oval with under 14 and seniors tomorrow, both local derbies against fierce rivals Brothers Bulldogs, and reserves against Maryborough Bears. Under 12, 10 and 8 will be played on Sunday morning.

The Eagles are looking to bounce back from a horror last season in seniors when the proud club missed the finals for the first time in their history, while the Bulldogs will be aiming to go a couple of steps further this year after being knocked out by Hervey Bay Bombers in the preliminary final last September.

The Football Bundaberg (soccer) season will resume next weekend, with Bundaberg Junior Rugby League to fire up on Sunday, July 26.

Horse racing

In horse racing, “I’ve been everywhere man” grand veteran Fab’s Cowboy stole the show at Bundaberg Race Club (BRC)’s last no-spectators TAB meeting last week, outclassing the open handicap field which including local stars Ten Taubada’s which had won his previous four starts, and stablemate Al’s Briefs despite carrying 61.5kg even after the 4kg allowance for apprentice Rebecca Wilson.

The rising nine-year-old gelding, which is trained by Bevan Johnson, took his imposing record to 37 wins, 13 seconds and four thirds from 86 starts, collecting $287,190 in the process.

His only previous start at Thabeban Park resulted in victory in the 2017 Bundaberg Cup, when he carried a hefty 62kg over the tough 1600m course. He has not been allocated under 60kg at country meetings for years.

All up, Fab’s Cowboy has raced on an amazing 32 tracks all over Queensland from Cairns in the north to Cloncurry and Birdsville in the west and Goondiwindi in the south.

Roma is his happiest hunting ground where he has won nine times, with Charleville next on his list with seven.

Fab’s Cowboy has many cups to his collection, with apart from Bundaberg’s premier event three years ago, his other Cup triumphs including Blackall (twice), Emerald, Murilla Cup in Miles, and the Goondiwindi Picnic Cup.

He has only ventured to Brisbane seven times for just one second placing – in December 2018.

But in the country, he is king and after not having started his career until midway through his four-year-old year, there is no end in sight for his racing days.

There were two local winners at the meeting, Crisscross, trained by perennial premiership winner Darryl Gardiner in the Benchmark 60 Handicap, and Gambit for Laura Cronan in the Benchmark 50.

BRC’s next race meeting will be on Saturday, 25 July when they are hoping to be able to welcome back patrons as long as COVID-19 restrictions are not reimposed.

Greyhound racing

Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club conducted its weekly meeting on Monday with a bumper 10-race program.

The spoils were shared around with just one trainer claiming a double, Scott Mcguiness, of Regency Downs, who took out two of the Fifth Grade heats with Farmor Malibu and Farmor Fabio respectively.

Farmor Malibu completed five in a row after winning her previous four starts at Albion Park.