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Old salt seasoned for Nobbys swim

TOUGH: Nobbys to Newcastle ocean swimmer Alan Metcalf. – Picture by Simone De PeakSTOCKTON’S Alan Metcalf joked during the week that he would not need to worry about sharks during the Nobbys to Newcastle Ocean Swim tomorrow because they would ‘‘spit me out for being too tough’’.
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The 63-year-old displayed his toughness in April when he set a world record for an open-water paddle on a surf rescue board by travelling 137 kilometres from the Sydney Opera House to Newcastle’s Queen’s Wharf in seven days.

Tomorrow Metcalf will need to display similar grit in the 2km swim from Nobbys through reefs and ‘‘shark alley’’ to Newcastle beach.

The swim has been made more difficult for Metcalf due to a torn bicep he suffered in a surf carnival at Stockton a fortnight ago.

‘‘I’m really looking to Nobbys as it’s good clean water and it’s an area I haven’t really swum a lot,’’ Metcalf said.

‘‘The bicep isn’t too bad. It’s an old injury that has recurred, but I managed to get through a few swims this week.

‘‘I won’t be competitive. I’ll take my time and enjoy the swim for once.’’

Around 400 competitors are expected for the inaugural event organised by the Newcastle Surf Life Saving Club.

One of Newcastle’s biggest chances will be triathlete Kirsten Molloy, who finished third in the Melbourne Marathon in October.

Newcastle brother and sister duo Jarrod and Erin Killey would have been hot favourites but are overseas.

Olympic bronze medallist Justin Norris will fire the starter’s gun.

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Webber returning for Harker harvest

BRUTAL: Hamilton-Wickham all-rounder Sam Webber.THE last time Sam Webber played at Harker Oval the Hamilton-Wickham all-rounder played one of the most brutal innings ever seen in Newcastle district cricket.
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In what was the highest score in a 50-over match, Webber blasted 175 from 104 balls on November 19 against Western Suburbs, which included seven fours and an incredible 15 sixes.

Tomorrow Webber returns to the New Lambton ground for the opening Twenty20 game of the season against Wests.

The Rosellas can expect more fireworks if Webber is not dismissed early.

‘‘Ever since I’ve been at Hamwicks we’ve played aggressive cricket; tried to take wickets and score plenty of runs, whereas some other teams are a bit negative,’’ Webber said.

‘‘We’re always positive in our approach and we’ll take that into the T20. Everyone can hit sixes, so it should be good fun.’’

In recent seasons Webber have been a regular among the competition’s leading wicket-takers and he sits equal third this summer on 18 scalps.

But his batting heroics have ensured he is the leading run-scorer on 383 at an average of 76.60.

However, Merewether captain Simon Moore is only 51 runs behind and has played four less innings.

‘‘It’s surprising me as well. I’ve been coming in at the right time,’’ Webber said.

‘‘The boys at the top of the order have been doing the hard work and when the pitch is flat and the ball isn’t swinging I’ve come in.’’

Firstly Hamwicks will be eager to defend their 232 at Passmore Oval in the second week of the two-day match against Wallsend today.

The Tigers will resume at 0-16 and will be relying on their in-form batsmen Brett Jackson and Joe Curk to lead the chase.

Hamwicks welcome back quick Andrew Maher from NSW Country training to spearhead a quality attack.

A top two spot leading into the Christmas break is available to the winner.

At Cahill Oval in the top-of-the-table clash, Merewether will be hoping their Bush Blues stars Moore, Troy Goodwin, Kaine Harmsworth and Pat Darwen can rescue the side from a looming outright defeat to Belmont.

The Lions are 3-46 in the second innings, still two runs behind Belmont.

Wests (9-236) are in a dominant position at Cardiff Oval against the struggling Cardiff-Boolaroo. Stockton-Raymond Terrace (0-16) are still 33 runs behind Newcastle City at Lynn Oval in their second innings and will need a quality fightback to avoid an outright loss.

At No.1 Sportsground, Charlestown (5-200) lead Waratah-Mayfield by 101 runs and are likely to declare early in order to play for an outright win and Toronto (7-100) are chasing University’s 181 at Ron Hill Oval.

In other T20 games tomorrow, University open their campaign for a hat-trick of titles against Waratah at University Oval, Belmont host City at Cahill Oval, Stockton are home at Lynn Oval against Merewether, Wallsend play Cardiff at Wallsend Oval and Toronto face Charlestown at Ron Hill Oval.

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Rodionova awarded final wildcard in Hobart tournament

Anastasia RodionovaANASTASIA Rodionova has been awarded the final wildcard to the Moorilla Hobart International starting Sunday.
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The 29-year-old Victorian will contest the tournament in the main draw for the first time.

”I am very much looking forward to playing the tournament in Hobart,” she said.

”I was only expecting to start in qualies but to play in the main draw is even better.

”I’ll try to play my best and hope to do well in the lead-up to the Australian Open.”

In 2011, Rodionova was a quarter-finalist in Linz, she reached the third round at Roland Garros, the second round of four other WTA events and fell in round 1 at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open.

In April, she represented Australia in the Fed Cup against the Ukraine.

The last time Rodionova played in Hobart was in 2005 where she lost to Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) in the first round of qualifying.

After awarding a wildcard in late December to Australian Open 2012 playoff winner Ashleigh Barty, tournament director Mark Handley was pleased to invite another Australian tennis star to Hobart.

”It’s great to have another Australian player in the main draw of the Moorilla Hobart International,” he said.

”We hope she can use this tournament as a platform to perform well and kick start the new year.”

Moorilla Hobart International 2012 series packages and single sessions are on sale now with ticket prices starting from $9.90.

Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketek南京夜网.au or 1300 888 104.

For further tournament information visit www.hobartinternational南京夜网.au.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Adamstown man arrested in interstate cannabis raids

POLICE have arrested a 40-year-old Adamstown man as part of an interstate cannabis trafficking operation.
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Newcastle detectives and the NSW State Crime Command were called in to assist with a South Australian police investigation titled Operation Ditch after it was revealed the cannabis was allegedly being transported into Newcastle.

Subsequent police searches in Adamstown allegedly found about 8kg of cannabis and more than $65,000 cash in a Bailey Street storage unit and at a home on Brunker Road.

The Drug Investigation Branch-led operation was established to target the movement of drugs between South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

Raids across the three states in total netted about 30kg of cannabis, firearms, steroids, 88 cannabis plants and almost $500,000.

A 40-year-old Adamstown man was arrested on Wednesday morning and charged with deemed supply of prohibited drug.

He was granted bail in Newcastle Local Court and will re-appear on January 18 next year.

Six other people were arrested in South Australia and Queensland and charged with numerous offences.

Further charges are expected, police said.

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Billions of bees hit the road

Australian Honey Products owner and beekeeper Lindsay Bourke.MORE than a billion bees have hit the road in Tasmania.
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The state’s 185 beekeepers have begun trucking about 17,000 hives to the North-West Coast, where bees will begin producing the world-famous leatherwood honey.

With up to 100,000 in each hive, that’s a lot of bees – about 1.7 billion.

Producers are making their annual migration to Tasmania’s rainforests, the only place the Eucryphia lucida, commonly known as leatherwood, is found.

The white flowers the leatherwood plant displays from January to April are responsible for a $4 million boutique industry.

”When the bees are ripening the moisture in the night they’re so noisy it sounds like you’re at the beach, with the roar of all the bees all flapping their wings,” Lindsay Bourke, president of the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association, said.

”We have such a short season that we have to have very strong hives to collect a lot of honey in a short period.”

In the coming weeks, Mr Bourke will make 24 trips, beginning each about 4am, to get all of his bees from Sheffield, near Devonport, to the forests around Savage River and Waratah.

”We build up (all year) for one good crop, which is the leatherwood,” he said.

”The leatherwood is the most reliable honey source that you can find in Australia.

”We can set our clock to it. We can go down on the same date every year.”

The beekeepers describe the honey’s taste as “like the wilderness” and its similarity in flavour to heather-produced varieties has customers in Europe, China and Japan willing to pay top dollar.

”We go way back into the rainforest where it’s pure and clean and you can say that the entire leatherwood crop would be the closest thing to organic honey you can get,” Mr Bourke said.

The honey’s long chain sugars help the body absorb nutrients, he said, and there are medicinal qualities for the broader Tasmanian economy too.

The first of the season’s leatherwood honey will appear in shops at the end of January.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Alleged carjackers denied bail in Maitland court

A Ford found dumped yesterday near the end of the F3 Freeway.A QUEENSLAND couple has been refused bail in Maitland Local Court today charged with a raft of offences including a carjacking at Beresfield which left three people fearing for their lives and leading police on a two-hour pursuit through Maitland and the Coalfields.
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Article: Two-hour police pursuit

Amanda Kim Collins, 24, and Nathan Paton, 25, both of Queensland, led police across four NSW commands on a 163 kilometre pursuit before their allegedly stolen BMW was disabled by road spikes and they were arrested near Broke.

The pair, both handcuffed, appeared separately before Magistrate Col Elliott who adjourned the matters to Newcastle Local Court on February 15.

Police facts said the pair’s escapade started on Monday, December 12, following an alleged break-and-enter at Moorooka, Queensland, where a blue Ford Falcon sedan was stolen.

Police began tracking the vehicle’s movements after there was an alleged incident at the Caltex service station in Gloucester where petrol was not paid for.

The facts said Paton threatened the male driver of an Alpha Romeo and two female occupants of a BMW at Beresfield with what appeared to be a black pistol.

It is alleged he told the women to get out of their car before he and Collins fled in the vehicle and the police pursuit was initiated.

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Savage out for pivotal battle over third spot

Jason SavageBEAUTY Point will be without star allrounder Jason Savage for its important third versus fourth clash against Legana tomorrow when the Tasmanian Cricket League A-grade roster resumes for round 7 matches.
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Savage is unavailable because of work, leaving a hole in the Beauty Point line-up.

Savage leads the league’s allrounder statistics this season having scored 278 runs and taken 23 wickets.

He is the competition’s leading wicket-taker, heads the bowling averages, is second for aggregate runs and third in batting averages.

The two teams are equal on 22 points with the winner moving a game clear in third spot behind Trevallyn and Longford. Both had comfortable seven-wicket victories in the last round.

ACL takes on Longford at Brooks High with a revised line-up with former captain-coach Scott Bennett returning to the club as playing coach.

Longford went down to Trevallyn in the clash of the two top teams before the break, costing it top spot.

Captain-coach Brett Martin put the loss down to players being ”in Christmas mode” and said his side was keen to start the second part of the season with a win against ACL.

UNI-MOWBRAY will have a depleted side for its clash against Hadspen at University Oval.

Coach Jack Whelan said up to five players were unavailable, making the Tigers’ task of gaining a much-needed win more difficult.

Shane Evans, Damien Martin, Dave Barrett and Richard Austen will miss with Bill Eustace one of the likely promotions to fill the gaps.

DIGGERS face top-of-the-table Trevallyn at Riverside, looking to improve its batting performances after being dismissed for under 100 in its past two matches.

A-reserve batsman Shane Brown has been promoted with Zach Rodan unavailable.

Captain-coach Brent Kettle said his batsmen had to put more value on their wickets.

Trevallyn will have one change with Alby Letter coming in for the unavailable Dale McNulty

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Ukestras make beautiful music

When Jennifer Coram-Pigott walked into an afternoon concert at Newcastle University in May last year, one of the few spare seats was next to a man with a friendly face, Robin Bond.
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They struck up a conversation, and Bond’s eyes started to well up. His wife, Yvonne, had died two months earlier and he was slowly easing himself back into life.

They walked together afterwards to the car park, where retired family counsellor Coram-Pigott, pictured below, wrote her phone number on his crumpled program, telling him to call if he ever needed to talk to someone.

‘‘She’d lost her husband 18 months earlier and wished someone had been around for her then,’’ Bond says. ‘‘She’s been there to lean against to this day.’’

‘‘It has taken me this long to get back to myself, because people don’t get there soon when you’ve lost a loved one of 45 years.

‘‘To get me to turn my life around [co-ordinator] Mark [Jackson] and the Ukestra people have brought me up; they’ve been the wind beneath my wings.’’

The gentle strumming of the ukulele now reverberates beyond Wickham, through Maitland, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens, where 400 people have fallen in love with the instrument on which it’s impossible to play a sad song. Some have travelled to Melbourne and Hawaii, and auditioned, by invitation, for the TV show Australia’s Got Talent.

But it’s never been just about the music. At the heart of community musician Mark Jackson’s drive to establish ukestras is a desire to use music to help people form connections and create community.

It would become the Ukastle Ukestra, the flagship of Jackson’s groups, that has been meeting at Croatian Wickham Sports Club on Tuesday nights ever since.

Jackson and his partner, marine biologist Jane Jelbart, went to Melbourne’s Ukulele Festival in February last year and were inspired to establish more ukestras.

Later that month Jackson started the LakeMacUkestra on Tuesday afternoons with 17 people, and it’s still going. Numbers fluctuate, as the mostly retired participants also spend some of their time and disposable income travelling. ‘‘But they’re also spending it on me,’’ Jackson says, genuinely touched.

He started the Tomaree Ukestra on Monday mornings in May last year and about 15 people attend each week. ‘‘The sense of community up there is not really focused because everything is aimed at the tourist,’’ he says. ‘‘I wanted to put posters up, but there’s nowhere to put up posters unless it’s for a dolphin tour.’’

The group is a close one, and about five ‘‘fanatics’’ also travel down to the Ukastle Ukestra on Tuesdays.

Mid last year, Jackson decided there was room for one more group, and formed the Maitland Ukestra, which meets on Mondays.

Jelbart held the first session of The WestNewkestra in March this year. Between 20 and 30 people head to the Waterboard Bowling Club in North Lambton on Thursday nights.

Independently organised ukestras have also cropped up in Stockton and on the Central Coast.

Jackson says it’s easy to gravitate towards the instrument because it is portable, accessible and cheap. ‘‘There are four nylon strings that people can learn very easily. It lends itself to percussive qualities, and works well socially. It’s not so loud,’’ he says.

‘‘If you get all the parts going together it produces an almost harp-like quality.’’

The ukulele’s popularity peaked in the 1920s, and then in the ’50s, but died in the ’60s after the late Tiny Tim’s memorable Tiptoe Through the Tulips, sung in high falsetto.

It’s hard to pinpoint the catalyst for the recent revival, but Jackson says YouTube has exposed audiences to the likes of Hawaiian virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro (who can play an impressive version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody), The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (which has covered Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit and Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights) and The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra (which has covered Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me A River).

Late Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s medley of What a Wonderful World and Somewhere over the Rainbow has remained popular since his death in 1997. It hit number one on the German singles chart in October last year when it was used in a TV commercial for deodorant.

Sales of the ukulele started to soar at Musos Corner last year. The Newcastle West shop used to sell a few during the year and about 100 in the lead-up to Christmas, mostly as presents for children. These days, 25 are sold each month, mostly to school-aged children or ukestra members.

Store owner Sandra Lindsay says supplies were particularly scarce through July and August. ‘‘The whole world seemed to become ukulele players,’’ she says. ‘‘We were pre-ordering for Christmas in huge quantities.’’

Lindsay keeps in stock 10 baritone, 20 tenor, 60 concert and 60 soprano ukuleles.

She says the instrument owed much of its popularity to its price – they start at $22.95, which ‘‘is not a mortgage breaker’’ – and ease of playing. ‘‘If more children started on a ukulele they would learn to play a guitar quicker and easier,’’ she says.

Lindsay taught a ukulele class to 15 children over the summer of 1970, when the instrument cost $5.95. ‘‘If I kept going I could have had 5million ukulele players in Newcastle by now.’’

Jackson hopes the renewed interest is not a fad and believes numbers will increase as baby boomers retire. ‘‘I haven’t cracked the 20-something market yet, we get some in their 30s, quite a few in their 40s, quite a few in their 50s but most are in their 60s; most are retired.’’

Some share the hobby with their partners, others are coping with life on their own, many just want to try something new.

Some, like Robin Bond, had played an instrument before. He had studied trumpet for 3 years at the Conservatorium of Newcastle, later performing in brass bands and orchestras.

But many, including Coram-Pigott, had never played music before. ‘‘It was something I thought I’d never do,’’ she says. ‘‘I was a complete and utter novice.’’

She had difficulty moving her hands because of the pain of arthritis, but Bond kept encouraging her. ‘‘He said there’s always a way around these things.’’

Once she went along to Ukastle Ukestra, she was hooked. ‘‘They were so warm and welcoming, I just couldn’t believe the atmosphere there,’’ she says. ‘‘Everybody was happy.’’

She attended a beginners workshop in January. ‘‘Everyone was so great, so helpful, there was no pressure on me to do anything, that’s the beauty of community music.

‘‘You don’t have to work at a certain level, you work at where you can. Just to be a beginner playing a couple of chords, it was like a revelation.’’

Jackson agrees the real value of the ukestras is in what happens before and after they play. They’ve become a comfortable place where people connect.

‘‘We certainly have people saying Tuesday is my favourite day of the week because we’ve got ukulele in the evening,’’ he says. ‘‘All we’re here to do is play music that we enjoy and to enjoy each other’s company.’’

This resonates with Coram-Pigott, who went to Melbourne to support the players. ‘‘It was a wonderful experience, they all had such a good time,’’ she says. ‘‘I made a promise to myself that I’d never be on the outside again. That was that.’’

She’s now found a way to play without pain, and experiences joy. ‘‘There’s no time to be sad when playing music. It’s such a little instrument that’s provided such enjoyment to so many people. It’s certainly turned my life around.’’

The former family counsellor says if she was still working she would introduce the ukulele to therapy sessions. ‘‘The benefits of how it makes you feel, it puts you in another space.’’

Far from traditional twee tunes, the ukestras are gaining an appreciation for modern classics. They’ve mastered Ben Lee’s Catch My Disease, a medley of Train’s Hey Soul Sister and Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours and are keen to give Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean and Black Eyed Peas’ Where Is The Love a go.

They received a standing ovation at the inaugural TEDxNewy symposium in November for their renditions of U2’s All I Want Is You and Jimmy Eat World’s The Middle.

They’re learning Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know and Jackson is contemplating attempting Coldplay’s Yellow.

They’re packing their instruments and taking their talent beyond Newcastle. They’ve performed at 1233 ABC Newcastle’s A Night At The Wireless, the Melbourne Ukulele Festival, and the 41st Hawaii Ukulele Festival.

Bond says the experiences are unforgettable, and Coram-Pigott had never held a passport before the Hawaii trip.

Scouts for Australia’s Got Talent rang in October, asking the Ukestra to audition for the show. They’ve made it through to the next round in Sydney in March, the same month The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain will play City Hall, and the Melbourne Ukulele Festival will be held.

Jackson says the challenge is now remembering why they’re playing, and not being lulled into delusions of grandeur. ‘‘I’m trying to keep people contained – this is all about fun,’’ he says.

Although the TV show is ‘‘a different sort of goal’’ it won’t influence song choice or arrangement. ‘‘I don’t want us trying to impress the judges, and [for the] audience to be a lens through which we choose songs.

‘‘There’s an innocence about [playing] – being too aware and sophisticated about it can break that innocence.’’

There are also challenges now about how to meet the needs of advanced students while catering for newcomers.

A beginners workshop is held in Speers Point each month (the next one is January 7). A six-week transition course is being offered to bring participants up to speed before they join a ukestra.

A Newcastle Ukulele Festival (dubbed the Nukulele Festival) is being organised for October.

This year Jackson also taught ukulele in schools at Waratah and Cardiff South, and is considering teaching parents and children together. ‘‘It brings them to the same level,’’ he smiles.

‘‘I have a saying that music of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from our community. A great cultural characteristic of our species is coming together to celebrate great occasions of happiness and grief.

‘‘For the same reason music evolved with speech, it’s helped us to express things and I think that’s really valuable.’’

Jackson and partner Jelbart play in a ukulele duo called Squidge, and are half of the bluegrass band The Do Riders, with Buladelah couple Mick and Nikki Legge.

The Legges have set up the Myall River Ukestra at Tea Gardens.

Until now, Jackson had worked part-time in order to devote energy to his music and children. But being a community musician has become so much of a full-time job that he talks with a trace of exhaustion about fitting in emails between 3am and 5am on a Thursday.

‘‘It’s taken a little while but now I do what I love,’’ he says. ‘‘I’ve got a lifestyle that I want, it’s different, it excites me, it’s still a challenge.’’

The music hasn’t stopped in Robin Bond’s Macquarie Hills home either. He’s learning the bass, planning to return to trumpet and is learning the drums, which his father used to play.

‘‘The whole family is astounded, they struggle keeping up with me because everyone has busy lives these days – but mine’s busy too.’’


To watch Ukastle Ukestra’s performance at this year’s TEDxNewy conference, go to youtube南京夜网/watch?v=msN7ta-68Eo


Graphic designer Danielle Scott had only been living in Newcastle for a month before the accident that changed her life.

Among the pack in a Hunter District Cycling Club race on February 21 last year, she was sprinting along Steel River Road, Mayfield West, when her foot slipped off the pedal. Despite wearing a helmet, she fractured her skull and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Scott spent two weeks in an induced coma in John Hunter Hospital and another two weeks in rehabilitation in Rankin Park Hospital.

‘‘I thought they were joking that I had a brain injury,’’ she says.

‘‘I was using my iPod to try to make phone calls and change TV channels.’’

Scott started driving again in June, cycling again in July and working again in October.

But her confidence had dropped, it took a long time to remember things, and she battled to play songs she knew well on her guitar. She’d taught herself to play at nine, and had also learnt violin and piano. She played well enough to be in bands in her 20s and 30s.

‘‘I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t know what I could do any more,’’ she says.

‘‘My voice had been damaged from tubes and the left side of my body had been affected muscularly. It was, ‘am I always going to be like this, am I going to improve?’’’

She was with members of the Hunter District Cycling Club at the Juicy Beans cafe in Wheeler Place in September when she heard about the Ukastle Ukestra. She emailed Mark Jackson and went to a beginners session.

‘‘I expected there would be questions but Mark was very casual and really inclusive.’’

The ukulele has been her instrument of change: ‘‘I’ve always loved performing and music and it has been the tool that has started me on the path I’ve always really wanted to be on. It’s the intersection of what I love doing and what I can do reasonably well.’’

Scott now helps Jackson run beginners workshops and bridging courses.

‘‘I like to help people gain confidence in their own ability,’’ she says.

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Duo target world championship spots

Tanner Krebs has been invited to the national under-17 camp in Canberra next month. Picture: GEOFF ROBSONTIS basketball scholarship holders Grace Lennox and Tanner Krebs are in line for selection in the Australian under-17 team for the world championships later this year.
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Lennox and Krebs, both 16, of Hobart, have been invited to the national under-17 camp in Canberra next month which is part of the selection process for the world championships team.

Lennox has been part of the girl’s under-17 squad since January last year and the Rosny College year 11 student said if her body held up she was confident of making the final line-up.

“I have been to four Australian camps for this team and they have been fantastic as a learning opportunity,” she said.

Lennox made the Australian under-17 team in September last year which beat New Zealand to qualify for the world championships that will be held in Holland in August.

“ My knee has been giving me trouble but as long as I can keep training and doing all the work I should be a good chance to make the team.”

Krebs was invited to attend his first Australian camp after good performances with the TIS men’s team on its tour of Victoria in December.

The 194-centimetre guard and New Town High grade 10 student was part of the latest TIS scholarship intake in August last year.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to play and represent my country at such a young age,” he said.

TIS head coach Justin Schueller put his scholarship holders through a three-day camp at Launceston’s Silverdome yesterday in preparation for the upcoming County Cup competition in Albury where up to 100 athletes statewide will take part.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Collision course with car travelling on wrong side of F3

EDDIE Avillar thought he was on a collision course with the blue Ford Falcon XR6 as it travelled along the wrong side of the F3.
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Mr Avillar was heading to Morisset on a work delivery.

‘‘I saw them near the Morisset interchange driving on the wrong side of the road and heading straight for me.

‘‘I had to swap lanes to avoid hitting him,’’ Mr Avillar said. ‘‘He was heading towards Beresfield and I was on my way to Morisset.

‘‘At first I thought it was a bit weird and then the thought crossed my mind that it might have been the police.

‘‘I was going to ring the police, but I didn’t get the number plate details because it was all so quick.

‘‘I was shocked, especially when I came back to Beresfield and saw the car on the side of the road and all the police,’’ he said.

Customers and employees at Beresfield BP service station and truck stop on John Renshaw Drive were gobsmacked yesterday when they learned of the alleged carjacking of a BMW.

‘‘All of a sudden all these police arrived and there was a blue Falcon that looked like it had been knocked off the road and driven into the bush,’’ one customer said.

‘‘We didn’t even know a car jacking had happened.’’

After their arrest at Broke the pair were ushered quickly into a side entrance at Cessnock police station after arriving in separate vehicles.

The female arrived first with the male a short time later in the back of a police four-wheel-drive. He was covered with a white blanket.

About an hour after the pair was arrested a tow truck arrived at the rear of Cessnock police station to deliver the gunmetal grey BMW 120i.

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