The Warragul athletic carnival of 2013, the last of the pre-Christmas gifts, was an interesting day of racing with the main race full of controversy. The track, like all Gippsland sporting ovals, was a thick cover of lush grass. The Warragul committee created a carnival atmosphere with many sponsors’ dining areas, wood chopping and finished the day with a charity 20/20 cricket match. Warragul is one of the few sporting grounds left where spectators can line the oval with cars and enjoy the festivities in comfort, unless of course you own a Datsun 180b.
Notes Cricket will be back this Friday evening with the #gillettedash4cash at the Stars vrs Renegades Big Bash, race time 7.10pm. Rounds two and three are to be run on January 9th and 21st. The final will be run on January 27th and carry a prize pool of $5000.
Correction to last week’s wrap the Northcote gift placings were Nathan Riali (5.5m) from Luke Whitney (6.75m) and Cam Dunbar (5.75m), then came Ed Ware, Simon Fitzpatrick and Doug Greenough.
Anyone interested in an up to date result service of the Bay Sheffield racing, tune into twitter #baysheff
The board of the Victorian Athletic League would like to wish all runners , trainers, sponsors, officials and supporters a merry Christmas and a winning new year.
Drouin Community Bank 120 metres Gift
Noddy Angelakos (12m) looked an excellent chance of gaining back to back Warragul gifts when he recorded the fastest heat of 12.68 and followed with an equally impressive 12.56 in the semi final. However only millimetres behind Noddy was Shaun Hargreaves(7m) with a semi time of 12.57. The other semi final was won by Robert Spencer (8.25m) in 12.67 also only millimetres to the good of Brendan Matthews(5.75m) in 12.68. The final was an exciting finish with Matthews gaining the verdict narrowly from Hargreaves and Spencer in 12.61. However after a steward’s inquiry it was found that Matthews had inadvertently placed his starting blocks on the wrong handicap. Unfortunately for Brendan he was disqualified and Shaun Hargreaves was declared the winner, also lifting Darren Whitaker (12m) into third place. Robert Spencer received his biggest athletics cheque with a very generous $1000 for second place. Shaun’s win was another win for the powerful John Henry stable. Although “gutted” by the experience Brendan Matthews showed great sportsmanship and humility by his actions after his disqualification. The Matthew’s family have competed with the VAL for several years and anyone present on Saturday can understand the high esteem they have gained in the running community.
Ideal Electrical 70 metres Open
The Hillview Quarry novice 70 metres at Rye has for years been the launching pad for a successful Val sprinting career. However the 2002 winner of that event has taken a little longer to hit his straps than was expected at the time. The winner then was Jonathon Rogers who chalked up his next win on Saturday in the 70 metres at Warragul. In between Rye and Warragul, Jonathon has had a couple of years off for various reasons but injury has normally been a big player in his absence. On Saturday, Rogers (8.25m) chalked up the fastest heat time of 7.82 over the John Henry stable mates of Luke Stevens (2m) and Shaun Hargreaves (3.75m). Jonathon cruised through the semi final stage with a similar run of 7.84, still a margin over the other semi, where the “JH” duo ran the quinella. In the final, Rogers held his opposition at bay with a clear margin in 7.80. Shaun Hargreaves finished second, with the third of the Henry runners, Rhys Parkinson (5m) finding third place. The winner is coached by Todd Ireland. The best VAL stories so often take place at the “non classic’ carnivals and Jonathon’s win was one of those stories.
Legible Signs 550m Open
Aaron Dooley (54m) cleared out in his heat win to record the fastest time of 1.13.5 against the remaining heat winner, Ben Mason’s (49m) winning time of 1.15.5. In the final Pooley settled third but quickly headed the out markers down the back straight and had a clear lead on the home turn to win his first VAL race with ease. His final time of 1.13.45 was comparable to his earlier time. Robert Keenan(47m) stormed home for second with Cameron Yorke (30m) running his usual “doggedly” race for third. Pooley is coached by Rob Furness.
Cutting Edge Electrical 1600 metres
The pre-Christmas star of the VAL, Stefan Catalano (315m), recorded yet another early season win with a gutsy effort to hold out a closely bunched group of chasers. With Martine Beer (350m) rolling along in front with a clear lead and Stefan always in second place the race looked a match in two until the 200 metres mark when the pack started to surge into contention. When Stefan gained the lead narrowly on the home turn from Martine, still battling on, and the charging horde looking likely to swamp them, it was sure to be a close finish. But as he has done regularly in the last two seasons Catalano found enough on the line to hold out a gallant Beer and a luckless Matthew Bateman( 230m). The winning time was a rather pedestrian 4.34 but time is irrelevant as long as you take home the sash. Stefan’s four wins have all come before Christmas with a double last year and Saturday’s victory following on from his recent Terang win. Catalano is coached by Terry McGarity.
VRTA under 20s 120 metres
Darcy Hughes( 10m) scored a convincing win in the Warragul final of the under 20s with a three metre margin in a slick 12.47. Darcy won the third of the three heats but because of a timing failure no time was recorded. He defeated the other two heat winners Nicholas Repalust (10m) and Nick Milton (10m) in the final.
Warragul Nissan 120m Women’s and Veterans’
With power problems, the timing failed twice on Saturday and both times the missing heat produced the final winner. Mark Hignett (5m) was the second to gain this rather strange honour when he powered past Matthew D’Astoli (6m) and Jeff Sargent (17.25m) in the final ten metres to win well in the time of 13.4. Mark heads off to the Bay Sheffield carnival after Christmas and will be more than competitive.
All Events Stage Hire 300 metres open
Although not a regular VAL event, the open 300 metre events always provide for exciting racing and Saturday’s race produced a “mini” shock result. Darcy Hughes (14m), after his runaway under age win, delivered the fastest heat time with his 35.41. Not far behind Darcy was Sean Hargreaves (7m), recording 35.59 in a classy field of proven VAL performers. Steve Fabris (18m) scored narrowly in 36.03 and Jacob Reed (26m) dropped back in distance after his 550 metres final to record 35.99. However in the final, it was Shane Quinn (32m) who improved on his heat placing, behind Hargreaves, to “pounce” on the lead before the turn and open up a handy gap. Cam Dunbar, never far away when he tackles the circle events ran well to hold off Hargreaves for second. Shane, who trains out of Glenhuntly, recorded 35.35, the fastest time of the day.
400 metres Broo series, Warragul divison
The first of the Broo 400 metres series was conducted at Warragul with two heats, the faster being won by Danielle McDowell (52m) in 58.06. The other heat was won by Kim McDonough (44) in the much slower 60.93. However it was Kim who was to take the final honours when she improved dramatically to overpower McDowell in the home straight to win in a slick 56.92. Alice Platten(8m) ran well off her tough backmark to finish third. McDonough, formerly Kim Holloway, was one of the female trail blazers in the VAL and supported the women’s events week after week when the numbers were struggling.
Warragul and Drouin Gazette 300mts Veterans
Only two heats of the veterans 300 metres at Warragul but we were able to witness Cameron Yorke( 4m) break through with his first win in a veterans 300m event. “Break through” may not be the right term as his history in these events has seen Cam “break through” many times but usually a result that leaves carnage in his wake. He came of his tough mark to power over the top of John MacKay (24m) and John Harvey (42m) in the final stages in 37.37. Cameron has won countless events over all distances in many different states and now can add a 300 metres event to his tally. Cameron is coached by Nick Feidler who this year is once again holding a gala new year’s eve pool party at his country estate.