Locals excelled to claim seven gold, four silver and eight bronze medals at the 2021 Surf Life Saving Queensland Masters and Open Championships at Tugun on the weekend, with Elliott Heads icon Craig Holden and Brian Carroll each claiming dual gold.
The region’s other golds were won by Bundaberg club representatives, with Ky Woods adding to his state title collection in the Under-19 Male Beach Sprint; Matt Fasso, Ryan McGregor, Michael Parsons, Kurt Wessel, and Brendan Woods (sweep) turning back to clock to beat all comers in the 140+ Years Surf Boat Race; and Robin Kerby proving too good in the 45-49 years Male 2km Beach Run.
Craig Holden triumphed in the 45-49yrs Male Single Ski and teamed with Stuart Hogben and Scott Collins to take out the 110+ years Male Surf Teams, while Brian claimed the 50-54 years Male Beach Sprint-Flags double.
Craig also brought home two silver, in the 45-49yrs Male Board Race, and together with Stuart and Scott in the 130yrs Male Board Relay; and three bronze, with Scott in the 45-49yrs Double Ski; Stuart in the 45-49yrs Male Board Rescue; and that duo in the 130+ yrs Male Ski Relay.
Scott also achieved solo bronze in the 45-49yrs Male Board Race, while Stuart was also third in the 45-49yrs Ironman, and in tandem with Ryan Bennett in the 30-34yrs Male Double Ski.
Ky Woods, who was the 2019-20 Wide Bay Capricorn Branch U15-18 Athlete of Year, claimed the flags ahead of Fraser Toon, of Kurrawa, but Fraser edged him out in the U19 Male Beach Sprint.
Bundaberg’s Surf Boat Crew of Matt, Ryan, Michael, Kurt, and Ky’s uncle Brendan Woods also gained bronze in the Reserve Grade division.
Robin Kerby also grabbed bronze in the 45-49years Male Beach Flags and placed sixth in the Beach Sprint, while club-mate Michael Harris snared silver in the 55-59yrs 2km Beach Run and swam well to take fifth in the Surf Race.
Craig, Stuart, and Scott have consistently been in the Queensland gold mix over the years, but Brian, who won many state medals of all colours with his former club Tannum Sands over a 15-year period up until 10 years ago before having a seven-year break, said it was his first state golds since joining Elliott Heads three years ago because it was much closer to his Brisbane home.
“I only started in life saving when I was 30 years old, and I made a few state open finals, but all my medals have been in Masters, and it is nice to win gold again,” Brian said.
Brian is now daring to dream of winning his first national gold at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships at Maroochydore later this month after having previously won only minor medals at that level.
Of the Bundaberg contingent, it was business as usual for Ky, while the Surf Boat crew relived their past glories, but for Robin, who only achieved his Bronze Medallion last year, it was a famous victory at his first Queensland championships.
“I emigrated from the UK four and a half years ago, where I had been a track and field athlete, mainly track – we fell in love with Bargara and my wife Anne and I always had a dream of getting our Bronze medallions and doing patrols,” Robin said.
“We are both nippers age managers, and our eldest, Molly, won the age champion, and we all competed at Branch at Bundy, and it was all new to me, but I said if I do alright, I might give this state a crack, and I managed to win the beach flags and sprints, and I was fairly pleased.
“My wife stayed home from the states with the kids because it was the season breakup for nippers, but for me to win state gold and bronze was beyond my wildest dreams.”
Robin also plans to now compete at his first Nationals, and has nominated for the 2km Beach Run, Sprint, and Flags.
What a great day at the Bundaberg Juniors Come and Try Day and Wide Bay Youth Girls AFLX Come and Try and exhibition game at Shalom College on Sunday.
Congratulations to AFL Wide Bay Development Coordinator Kieron Hyndman and all club and association coaches and volunteers involved.
At competition level, the Takalvan’s Women’s Premiership teams will enjoy this weekend off for Easter before the last three rounds, leading into the grand final.
The Men are also rearing to go for the start of their season.
The Aitkenhead family were on fire for Waves Cities to launch of Bundaberg Hockey season proper on Saturday, starting with Sophie notching all four goals in their 5-4 loss to Raiders/Rovers in Under-11.
Big sister Gabi then struck six in a 9-1 victory over Raiders/Rovers in U/13, before adding one more in a 7-0 win in U16, where big brother Sam bagged a hat-trick.
Connor Castelli also had a big day out for Cities, hammering in three goals in U13 and two in U16.
Bundaberg trainers Darryl Gardiner, Laura Cronan and Tony Hess ventured to the annual Monto meeting on Saturday which featured Memorial races for some of the club’s past greats, Ken and Gordon Russell, Arnie and Rene Rideout, and Gordon and Evelyn Hutton.
But none of the Bundy trio were successful, with Darryl doing best with two seconds, with Blonde’s Day Out (Benchmark 55) and Red Hana (Class B), while Tony took third with All Gain in the Maiden.
Wondai owner/trainer Kym Afford, who has achieved great success in Bundaberg over the past year, combined with emerging Brisbane apprentice Isabella The to claim a double, with Modern Family (Benchmark 55) and Flick (Class B).
Ken Russell started his riding career as an amateur jockey in the town back in the 70’s, before taking Rockhampton racing by storm, the moving on to be one of Gold Coast and Brisbane’s best jockeys, and ultimately going on to carve out a highly successful career in Sydney until his tragic death in a race fall at Rosehill in 1993.
A Memorial race is also held for him every year at Gold Coast.
The Open Handicap named in his and his father Gordon’s honour was won by Dalby trainer David Reynolds for the second year in a row, this time with Rather Salubrious, after he was also successful in it 12 months ago with Red Devil.
Rather Salubrious made it two wins from as many starts on the track after taking out the Benchmark 55 Handicap on the same program.
Bundaberg trainer Lindsay McCarthy claimed a double at this week’s meeting at Thabeban Park, taking out a Bundaberg Maiden 1000 Heat/Class 4 with Sholto, and a 5th Grade with Black Rocker.
Sholto, which had finished last at both of his first two starts at Wentworth Park in January and February, was originally listed as a reserve, but he made the most of his late elevation into the field on his Queensland debut.
Black Rocker, which had managed just two wins but 14 minor placings from his first 31 starts, mostly at Lismore, was also a surprise winner, paying $10 at his first start for Lindsay.
The other heat of the Bundaberg Maiden 1000 proved a triumph for Bundaberg club president Ricky Hassall with impressive debutant Baroonga Breeze.
The Easter Cup heats were won by 96-race veteran Over Time for Bouldercombe trainer Darren Taylor, and Cambla Doll for Goodwood owner/trainer Stephen Bland.
Another Bundaberg trainer Paul Burgess picked up the quinella in the Mixed 3rd/4th Grade with Wildash Trapper and Velocity Tonelli.
Last week's sports report: Lucy leads way to stunning cricket title victory