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Players and fans celebrate return of sport

Sports talk
Sports Talk with Vince Habermann
Sports Talk with Vince Habermann

In Sports Talk this week sports columnist Vince Habermann looks at Football Bundaberg, the return of spectators at Bundaberg Race Club, Junior Rugby League, Bundaberg Hockey and AFL.

Bath family of Scott and Fiona and their sons William and Finlay all featured prominently for United Park Eagles (UPE) teams as Football Bundaberg fixtures resumed after the COVID shutdown last weekend.

Finlay bagged four goals to spearhead UPE to a 5-0 white-wash of Across The Waves (ATW) Hot Spurs in Under-14, while big brother William also found the back of the net in an 11-0 shut-out of Doon Villa in Wide Bay League 2.

Scott was goal-keeper in the UPE White side which edged out Brothers-Aston Villa (BAV) 1-0 in the Men’s League, while Fiona scored the goal to clinch UPE Black a 1-1 draw with ATW Saints in the Ladies League.

Another UPE talent Josh Adcock ran amok with five goals as they blitzed Doon Villa 13-0 in the Wide Bay Premier League, while Tayla Zielke mirrowed his haul as ATW overpowered Bingera Cutters 8-1 in the Ladies League.

There is just one point between first and fifth in Wide Bay Premier League after three rounds with ATW and Bingera sharing top position on seven points apiece, just one ahead of three sides, UPE, KSS Jets and BAV.

The picture will become clearer after this Saturday’s rounds with three matches at Martens Oval at 7pm, ATW v Bingera, and clashes between the other four leading sides, with Bingera v KSS Jets, and UPE v BAV. The other two games of the round are in Maryborough with Sunbury up against cellar dwellers Diggers at Federation Park and Doon Villa taking on Granville at Villa Park.

The Wide Bay Ladies League will start this Friday night with ATW United meeting ATW at 6pm, followed by UPE v Bingera at 7.45pm, while in the Bundaberg Ladies division, at 6pm, ATW Saints will do battle with UPE Black and Diggers will meet Bargara, and at 7.45pm, it will be Bingera Cutters up against SC Corinthians Lionesses.

Ladies League results Round 1: ATW 3 (Alex Brunker, Emma Trudgian, Eliza Bongioletti) d Bargara 0; Bingera 3 (Chloe White, Joanne Kelly, Tessa Wochnik) d SC Corinthians Lionesses 0; UPE Black 1 (Fiona Bath) drew ATW Saints 1; ATW 8 (Tayla Zielke 5, Lillian Howes, Ashlee Bock, Angelique Toner) d Bingera Cutters 1; UPE 7 (Taryn Gollshewsky 2, Tia Doyle-Brockfield, Emily Ryan, Lili Haster, Sophie Zipf, Lucy Hamilton) d Diggers 0.

Return of spectators to horse racing

SPECTATORS will make a long-awaited return to a Bundaberg Horse Racing at the bumper five-race meeting at Thabeban Park tomorrow.

The club’s past five meetings have been spectator-free as a result of Covid-19 restrictions and while Stage 3 restrictions permit only 300 persons all-up, including staff, trainers and jockeys, club president Dale Rethamel said it will be great to welcome the public back tomorrow. Tickets available to the public have unfortunately sold out, so don’t turn up at the gate without a ticket as you won’t get in.

Four of the five events have fields of 11 or 12, while the open handicap should also be a ripper with local champion Ten Taubada’s looking to turn the tables on Bouldercombe trained grand veteran Fab’s Cowboy which beat him into fourth place at the last Bundaberg race day but is burdened with a hefty 62.5kg even after the 4kg claim for apprentice Rebecca Wilson over the grueling 1380m course.

Fab’s Cowboy’s trainer Bevan Johnson also has strong claims with He’s Titillating in the Maiden and All Reign in the Class B.

The promising and stylishly bred King Klaus appeals for Bundaberg trainer Gary Clem in the Benchmark 60, while Roma trainer/jockey Cheryl Rogers looks a great chance in the Benchmark 55 which is new to the Rum City but has won three of his past five appearances at Barcaldine, Roma and Longreach respectively.

Congratulations to Bundaberg owner-trainer Samara De Paoli, who won a race at the Rockhampton Cup-Newmarket meeting last Friday with beautifully-bred three-year-old Belastro successful in the Class 1 after having been placed at his previous two starts on his home track.

In greyhounds, Greenmount trainer Justin Bowe took out a double at this week’s Bundaberg meeting with Instafamous triumphing at her first local outing in the Fifth Grade and favourite Hirstglen also successful on track debut in the Free For All.

Junior Rugby League warms up

BUNDABERG Junior Rugby League (BJRL) fixtures will fire up this weekend with games at Eskdale Park Maryborough on Saturday and Salter Oval on Sunday.

Following the cancellation of the Bundaberg Rugby League season, Under-18 will come under the BJRL banner this year, and they will enjoy being in the spotlight as the highest division competition in 2020, although unfortunately Childers, who were hoping to compete, have withdrawn their nomination after being unable to gain enough players.

Waves Tigers will be aiming to go one better after suffering a heart-breaking narrow loss to Hervey Bay Seagulls in last year’s U-18 grand final, and they will start their campaign with a tough assignment against Wallaroos in Maryborough on Saturday.

Industrious Tigers hooker Corey Picaro said he is one of eight survivors in the side from 2019 and that they are “looking good” under second-season coach Aaron Earnshaw and that co-captains Ryan Gibbs and Matt Nejman would be key men.

“We’ve also got some good players who have come through from under-16’s and we have picked up Brent Hass from Childers, and we will definitely have a good crack and hopefully make the grand final again,” Corey said.

The Seagulls will kick off their title defence when they take on perennial U-18 heavyweights Wests Panthers at Salter Oval at 2.40pm Sunday.

Sunday’s program at Salter Oval will get under way at 8.30am and include every age division from U-7 to U-16.

Hockey hat trick

In Hockey, Connor Castelli bagged three goals for the second week in a row, notching a hat-trick as Waves Cities overpowered All Blacks 6-0 in their Under-11 showdown last Saturday.

Chloe McDonald achieved the same feat to lead All Blacks home 6-2 over Raiders/Rovers in Under-13.

Waves Cities siblings Sam, Gabrielle and Sophie Aitkenhead were each also among the goals, with Sam striking as they defeated Blacks 3-0 in U-16, then stepping up to the plate with a double in their 8-1 men’s triumph over Raiders/Rovers.

Gabrielle also goaled in their U-16 victory, while Sophie picked up one each in U-11 and in their 3-1 dispatch of Arrows/Athletics in U-13.

This Saturday in the women’s and men’s divisions, Arrows will cross swords with Cities at 2pm and 3.30pm respectively, and Raiders/Rovers will duel with All Blacks at 5pm and 6.30pm respectively.

Big wins for Eagles in AFL

It is early days yet in the AFL Wide Bay competition, but in the Senior division, the big question is: How is anyone going to stop going to stop the Across The Waves Eagles juggernaut following their big wins over Brothers Bulldogs and Hervey Bay Bombers to start the season?

Their biggest test will probably come this Saturday when they hit the road to take on the also unbeaten reigning premiers Bay Power.

The Power side includes mercurial veteran two-times Bundaberg Rugby League A Grade Player of the Year and dual BRL premiership winner Clinton Horne, who was among their best against the Bulldogs last week and is only going to get better and better with each game of AFL.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will need to improve dramatically if they are to be any chance of toppling their hosts Bombers at Norm McLean Oval.

In Reserves, Eagles stalwart Keiran Perry kicked five goals in their fighting loss to the Bombers after racking up four in their demolition of Maryborough Bears a week earlier, but he has declared that at his age, he is happy to be playing in their second-tier side and he has no desire to step up to top grade unless they are very short and he is needed to help out.