Elliott Heads’ flag is flying high after an outstanding team performance at the 2021 Surf Life Saving Wide Bay Capricorn Branch (SLWBC) Junior Surf Lifesaving Championships at Emu Park.
Elliott Heads Surf Lifesaving Club produced a robust all-round team performance to win the coveted Shirley Holden and Archie Lowe Overall Pointscore Shield for the first time at last weekend’s event.
Formed in 1965, the club had never won the title, but they racked up 643 points over the two days to be big winners from Tannum Sands 518, Emu Park 452.5, Yeppoon 437, Bundaberg 391.5, Hervey Bay 278.5, Moore Park 26, and Agnes Water 24.5.
Elliott Heads also claimed two of the other four major pieces of silverware up for grabs, the Overall Beach Events Pointscore Trophy, with 264.5 to runners-up Hervey Bay’s 176, and the Bob Holden Shield for Junior (Under-8 to Under-10) Overall Aggregate Pointscore with 223.5, 26 clear of second-placed Emu Park.
They also finished second in the Water Trophy with 378.5, just 35 behind Tannum, and third in the John Dahl Championships Handicap Shield with 721.25, closely behind Emu Park 754.5, and Yeppoon 748.5.
What made it even more special for Elliott Heads was taking out the awards in honour of SLSWBC Life Members Shirley and the late Bob Holden, who are also Life Members of their club, and that their son and Queensland Life Saving Icon Craig was Head Coach of the team, and his son Kobi was one of their best in a galaxy of stars.
Kobi, who started the weekend by grabbing gold in his three events at the Branch Pool Rescue Championships in Rockhampton on Friday night, the U14 Male 100m Obstacle Swim, 50m Manikin Carry, and 100m Manikin Tow With Fins, also swept all before him in the surf and the beach over the next two days.
The Queensland Country representative star claimed the U14 Male Ironman, Surfboard and Surf Race treble, and also joined forces with Isaac Barrett to triumph in the Surfboard Rescue; and Isaac, Laswari Iboro and Taj Wilson in the Mixed Beach Relay.
Craig said their U13 boys also flexed their muscle, achieving three top six placings in most events, and that Indi bland (U12 Female) and Ethan Giles (U10 Male) were other standouts, and Emily Hanson was a shining light in the Junior divisions with four wins in U8 Female.
After taking out the U13 Male 50m Brick Carry in the pool, Max O’Brien added a hat-trick of gold in SLS events, in 1km Beach Run, Ironman, and Surf Race, while Jack Gaston beat all comers in the Male Surfboard.
Jack and Max also teamed for success in the Surfboard Rescue, while the dynamic duo were joined by Cohen Palmer and Lucas Powell to add the Mixed Beach and Cameron Relays titles, Lucas to take out the Mixed Surfboard Relay; and Lucas and Willem Themsen to add the Mixed Surf Team gong to their collection.
Indi chalked up the Ironwoman-Surf Race double and also stepped up an age group to add U13 Female Surf Team gold with Kayla Berthelsen, U13 Female Beach Flags champion and Ethan’s elder sister Casey Giles, and Bree Royan.
Kayla, Casey, and Bree were also triumphant in the U13 Female Beach Relay, together with U12 Female 1km Beach Run victor Layla Collins, who also partnered Lily Allen, Annika Green, and Olivia Woods to dominate in the U12 Female Beach Relay.
Ethan Giles powered to the U10 Male Surfboard-Surf Race double, was also a major part of the winning U10 Male/Mixed Surf Team with Curtis Green, Hamish O’Brien, and Luca Palmer, and joined forces with Isaac Barrett, Emily Hanson, Jada McCoombes, Cohen Palmer, Willem Themsen and Mackenzie Williams to blitz the All-Age Relay (U8-14) field.
Emily Hanson powered to victory in four solo events, the U8 Female Beach Flags, Beach Sprint, Deep Water Wade, and Wade, and she also played an integral role in two age team wins, the Beach and Wade Relays, both with Isla Cronin, Atlanta Day, and Isla Shelley.
Jada also featured in two U9 Female successes, with Elsie Collins, Evelyn Ferguson, and Chloe Woods in the Surf Teams, and Evelyn, Abbey-Rose Gaston, and Chloe in the Wade Relay.
Aidan Berthelsen and Aarj Day savoured a hat-trick of gold in U11 teams’ events, as a unit in the Male Surfboard Rescue, and in tandem with Drew Woods in the Male/Mixed Surfboard Relay, and Malachi Iboro and Drew in the Male/Mixed Surf Teams.
Isabella Warmington notched three Pool Rescue wins, in U11 Female 100m Obstacle Swim, 50m Brick Carry, and together with Mackenzie Williams in the 100m Patient Tow With Fins.
Craig Holden was lavish in praise of the Elliott Heads lifesaving team.
“We did not go there focused on or expecting to win overall but it was just awesome – we have been improving in the last 4-5 years and have been getting better and better, and last year, we finished third overall which was our best result until now,” Craig said.
“We have had a good core group of families involved in the club and we have come a long way over the years as a club that used to be happy with finishing 5th or 6th overall, and the only trophy we ever were a slim chance of winning was the Handicapped Pointscore, and we did manage to finally win that twice, but this takes the cake.
“To have 57 kids travel to Emu Park and to win the overall Pointscore trophy was beyond my wildest expectations – not everyone won events, but our kids consistently finished top 6 in multiple events, and that helped the cause, and so did having boys’ and girls’ teams in all events in every age group.
“It just goes to show that if you don’t focus on the outcome but rather ensure you have the processes in place, the preparation down pat, the support of the kids and their families, the eagerness and commitment to travel 4 hours north for the weekend, the team spirit and support to keep doing event after event, and you have bucket loads of the #clubelliott spirit, that anything can and does happen.
“I am sure that Bob and Shirley Holden never thought they would see that day that we would win a Junior Branch Championships – especially when competing against such powerhouse clubs as Tannum Sands and Bundaberg, not to mention the other clubs in our Branch who each have had their moments of glory over the years, and Bob was no doubt smiling down upon us today.”
Kasey Krueger claimed three titles for the Bundaberg club at the Pool competition, taking out the U13 Female Obstacle Swim and 50m Brick Carry, and teaming with Mimi Woods for further success in the 100m Patient Tow With Fins, while the club also picked up the U13 Male 100m Patient Tow With Fins, courtesy of Xavier Ulbl and Tommy Zunker.
Mimi and Xavier also claimed doubles in individual events over the weekend, the former in the water, the U13 Female Ironwoman and Surf Race, and the latter on the beach, in the Male Flags and Sprint.
Club-mate Annie Harris also ruled on the beach in U14 Female, snaring the double, while other individual event winners for Bundaberg included Lana Grant (U13 Female Beach Sprint), Ava McCaig (U12 Female Surfboard), Addisyn Parsons (U9 Female Surfboard) and Pim O’Connor (U8 Male Beach Flags.
Ava also brought home two team golds, with Georgia Campbell and Cassidy Parsons (U12 Female Surfboard Relay); and Georgia, Lara Hockey, and Cassidy Parsons (U12 Female Surf Team), while Addisyn formed a winning team with Rylie McInnes and Beatrice Mullins in the U9 Female Surfboard Relay.
Charli Pollock, Elise Vaughan, and Eloise Walsh also helped carry the club to the fore in U10 Female teams’ races, with wins with Jessica Hann in Beach Relay, and Lillian Tully in the Surf Teams.
Bundaberg’s other Relay coupe came in the U10 Male/Mixed Wade Relay with Damon Broughton, Nicholas Campbell, Hamish Grant and Baylin McKay leading the way.
Bundaberg also continued their proud tradition of success in the Junior March Past, with Ashley Burgess, Jamie Gatt, Lana Grant, Jessica Hann, Caleb Hann, Molly Kerby, Evella McKay, Elizabeth Pascoe, Ben Taylor, Ariana Ulbl, Gabrielle Vaggs and Amelia Walsh producing an impressive display.
Isaac Figallo did the Moore Park club proud by chalking up the U9 Male Beach Flags-Sprint double.
The Branch Senior Championships will follow this weekend, starting with the Pool titles at Norville from 6pm tonight when Elliott Heads is the only local club represented, with 32 of the 37 competitors.
The Branch Senior Championships, incorporating Masters, will be contested from tomorrow at Nielson Park Bargara, starting at 10am on both days, with Elliott Heads having a team of 30, with 27 from Bundaberg and 3 from Moore Park.
It will be surf life saving action at its best.
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