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Bendigo Wrap

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1 Bendigo Wrap on Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:05 pm


Bendigo 10th & 11th March

The weather was ideal although a little cold as the evenings wore on and the Bendigo track was in superb condition for its weekend of athletics and cycling. Neill MacDonald, from an athletics aspect, did an excellent job in keeping the carnival flowing with the officials being kept informed and catered for. The highlights were definitely the terrific competition in the circle events with the arrival of Josh Mather as a more than serious athlete. Also, another big gift victory to Peter Walsh after a series of near misses this season. The carnival finished with the cycling Madison and fireworks.

Mountjoy Panels 70 metres Front Markers
After the five heats of the front makers sprint Marcus Cooper (1m) had recorded the fastest time of 8.46 and he maintained that form to take out the final in 8.43. The out marker, Angela Wilson (18m) looked to have a clear advantage with only metres to go but Cooper produced a sustained finish to defeat her in the last stride with Mark Hignett (0.75m) third. Cooper has had a very successful season with a win at Terang and several other placings. Marcus has also coached a number of winners this season from his Ararat stable.

Mountjoy Panels 70 metres Back Markers
Michael Bolton (4.25m) recorded his second VAL win with an authoritative win in the back markers division of the sprint with a time of 7.65. Michael only registered a time of 8.01 in his heat, but with the withdrawal of fastest qualifier Corey Baker 7.78 through illness, the race became a more even contest. Michael defeated Paul Tancredi (5m) and his stablemate Ben Weavers (3.25m) by nearly a metre, a convincing win in any 70 metre event. Michael’s form was further enhanced with a second placing in his gift semi final to eventual winner Peter Walsh. Bolton ‘s only other VAL win was in the 70 metres final at Gippsland before Christmas. Michael is coached by his father, former VAL athlete Paul.

Caribou Publications 120 metres Women’s Handicap.
There were only four heats of the women’s 120 metres at Bendigo but Kate Jones (9.25m) was the winner of the first heat in the time of 14.54, clearly the fastest of the four. Kate made short work of the final when she improved on her heat time to record 14.43 to easily defeat Sarah Blizzard (8.25m) and Susan Sinclair (10m). Kate, in only her second season with the VAL, rarely misses a carnival and adds a Bendigo sash to her Gippsland win in December. Kate, coached by her father, has also qualified for the final of the RACV under 20’s series.

City of Greater Bendigo, Bendigo Thousand 120metres Gift.
After a season of very consistent competition Peter Walsh (8.75m) was able to celebrate another big gift win with a narrow but convincing win in the Gift final. Peter recorded the fastest heat time on Saturday afternoon of 12.59 and with his semi final time of 12.58 was still in with a great chance against the 12.54 recorded by Matthew Mifsud (10.5m). In the final Walsh quickly gathered Mifsud and Doug Greenough (8.5m) to hit the lead mid race and hold off Paul Tancredi (8.25) and Shaun Hargreaves (7.25m) in the
time of 12.39. The Bendigo sash adds to Peter’s wins at Burramine, Furness Classic and two Keilor gift
wins. Walsh is self trained and also trains the fourth placed Kevin Brittain (5.75m).

The Bendigo Bank Black Opal 400 metres.
With the VAL’s best 400 metres competing in the seasons biggest circle event, the Black Opal was the
highlight of the carnival with Josh Mather completely demoralising the opposition through all stages of
the competition. The first seven heats were comparatively even with Jesse Matthews (14m) the most
impressive with a win in 48.18. However in the eighth and final heat Josh Mather (9m) set a scorching
speed off his back mark to quickly reel in the leaders and win the heat as he liked in a very fast 47.6. The
ease of the win was only a start to the dismantling job that Josh was to perform in the next two rounds.
The first semi final went to the Ballarat trained Rory Nunn (19m) in 48.47 from a very close up Matt
Grant (17m) and backmarker Matthew Hargreaves (scratch). Nunn, forced to lead, looked all at sea in
front and will derive great benefit from the experience. The second semi went to Jessie Matthews (14m)
in 48.30 from Tom Paavola (11m) and Simon Fitzpatrick (1m). Matthews won the semi well with
Fitzpatrick railing hard from the home turn to give himself a well deserved start in the final. In the final
semi, Mather(9m) ran from the gun to round up the opposition to defeat his training partner Dominic
Hoskins(12m) and Jayson Hayes-Hornibrook (16m) with absolute ease to record a sensational 47
seconds . In the final Nunn led out and tried to keep the pressure on throughout but Mather who had
been caught wide down the back straight exploded at the 150 metre mark to charge to the lead before
the home turn. He raced away to win by five metres from a gallant Hayes-Hornibrook and Rory Nunn
“pinched” third off Dominic Hoskins on the line. Nunn had dropped back to near last on the home turn
and produced a great second effort to finish third. Mather has had a terrific season winning the rich
Stonnington 550 metres final as well as many other final appearances. He is coached at Braybrook by
Terry McGarity.

RACV 120 metres Novice.
The final round of the RACV heats was conducted at Bendigo and with valuable points on offer there
was sure to be plenty of close finishes. As it turned out Jesse Simpson (18.5m) was able to hold out Tim
Mather (19m) by 1/1000ths of a second to guarantee a place in the final. Third was Lachlan Malloy
(14m) also assuring himself of a final berth. The winners final time was 12.748 against Mather’s
12.749.The race final to be contested at Stawell will be made up with Simon Carey, Lachlan Malloy,
Jordan Keast, Ellie Maguire, Jesse Simpson, Ryan James, Tim Mather and Kate Jones.

800 metres Ray Foley Memorial.
The final of the open 800 metres was an exciting race with Derek Collinge (12m) overtaking Cody
Williamson (16m) in the final few metres to record a very commendable 1.54.16. Derek made the final
only by way of a fastest placing in Williamson’s heat but was able to turn the tables in the final. After the
event Collinge was fined by the stewards panel for the vast improvement from heat to final. Cody
Williamson ran a great tactical race, gaining a rails run after the bell to switch around the leaders at the
300 metres mark and kick to the lead. However Collinge was able to stick with Williamson and with his
classier sprint capabilities (former winner of Ringwood and Burramine Gifts) he was able to wear down
Cody in the home straight. Williamson’s second continues a heart breaking run in his home town final with seconds also in 2009 and 2011.Collinge is trained by Matt Beckenham in Canberra. A first class effort was turned in by the backmarker and veteran, Justin Murphy who recorded 1.56.72 off the scratch mark.

The Noden Family 800 metres Women’s and Veterans.
The field for final of the women’s and veterans 800 metres was strung out over a large part of the track with David Haigh on scratch and Greg Whitecross the out marker on 124 metres. Craig Harris (28m) worked his way through the field to take the lead down the back straight and opened a good gap on the field with Peter Cowell (76m) holding on to second at the 200 metres mark. Just after this point David Haigh unleashed a terrific finishing burst to set sail out after the leader and for a stride looked a definite winning chance only for Harris to settle and battle to the line very strongly. Craig has had an extremely consistent season with the Bendigo win his second for the season to add to another thirteen “top 5” finishes. “Haighys” effort was full of merit but alas with the Haigh/Wilson combination only finishing with a pair of seconds over the weekend a more exacting training schedule will be needed this week to get the “exes” at Burramine. The winning time was 2.01.82.

Win TV Backmarkers 1600m
Josh Nolan (75m) returned to his former home town of Bendigo to record his second victory in the backmarkers 1600 metres, defeating Andrew Patten (75m) and Michael Marantelli (90m) in 4.03.08. Also a winner in 2010, Josh came from well back at the bell to hit the front in the shadows of the post to post his fourth win with the VAL. Early in the race Daniel Lawlor (155m) and Phil Noden (155m) went to the front with Matthew Smith (145m) sitting quietly behind them just ahead of Michael Low (120m) and Trent Lowry (120m). The backmarkers led by Marantelli and Matthew McDonough (90m) were well bunched but still a long way from the leaders at this stage. Nolan was in this group as was Cody Williamson (70m) and Patten. There was very little change in the order by the 800 metres but Marantelli had narrowed the gap to 25 metres, still leading the main challengers. A major change came over the race at the 600 metres mark when Marantelli made a quick move into third place with only Lowry and Patten appearing to chase after him. Nolan and McDonough, at this stage looked unlikely to take any part in the finish. Going down the back straight for the last time Marantelli surged to the front with only Patten to challenge him when, with 130 metres to travel, Josh Nolan produced a solid burst of speed to quickly join the leaders on the home turn and speed to the lead. Matthew McDonough started to pull ground off the placegetters over the final stages and would have run third in a few more strides. The placegetters are all coached by Mark Hipworth, undoubtedly the leading trainer of distance athletes in the VAL.

The Bendigo Advertiser Frontmarkers 1600 metres.
As was the case at Braybrook last week, Scotland’s very own John Thomson (70m) never looked in danger as he cruised to the line a comfortable winner from Matthew Sandilands (15m) and Gordon Muir (5m) in 4.37.13. With 800 metres to travel the frontmarkers were setting a fairly solid tempo with Kerrieanne Hocking (300m) 40 metres clear of Ellie Tossol (260m) and a similar gap to Sean Beer (230m)
At this stage Thomson was still over 100 metres from the leaders but steadily making up the leeway. Sean Beer went to the lead before the bell from Corina Kapusta (195m) and Glenn Weston (200m) with Thomson in fourth place. Matthew Bateman, fifth at this stage appeared to be Thomson’s only danger. The backmarkers were still a long way from Thomson as he crunched to the lead from Matthew Bateman (65m) as he entered the back straight. As Thomson cleared out with a good lead Matthew Sandilands and Gordon Muir ran passed a tiring Bateman to fill the minor placings. Not only has “Thommo” been accumulating his travelling expenses in the last two weeks, but has obviously been making plenty of friends, judging by the twenty offers from distance runners to drive him personally to the airport. John heads up the highway to this weekend to compete at Burramine and Euroa. Although this event was a front markers event the handicaps were pulled back to accommodate a scratchman, making the winning time slower than usual.

Flack Advisory Services Women’s 400 metres handicap.
After running second in the Victorian Championships on Saturday Stephanie Mollica (15m) made the trip to Bendigo on Sunday and assured the win with a barnstorming finish. Stephanie was last at the 200 metres mark but only 8 metres off the leaders when she produced her finish that saw the early leader Kim McDonough (44) and Eleni Gilden (32m) relegated to minor placings. She raced wide around the last bend but was too strong in the home straight. Stephanie recorded the time of 53.44 and is coached by Mark Hipworth. The three placegetters head to Burramine this Saturday to compete in the Broo Series 400 metres final.

400 metres SportzBiz Novice.
Once again at Bendigo the SportzBiz heats were very even with the fastest time 47.54 and the slowest 48.62. Nicholas Cross (32m) was able to record his first victory with a narrow but convincing win when he defeated Sam Vickery (40m) and Justin Cohan (38m) in the time of 47.74. As the field hit the finishing line there was only eight metres between first and last with most runners appearing to have a winning chance before the home turn. Nicholas finished second in the Keilor division and with the Bendigo win is assured of a place in the final field at Stawell. Unfortunately Vickery’s second left him one point shy of a final spot. The series backmarker Buddy Williams, although finishing only sixth at Bendigo, gained enough points to take the last place in final field. The Stawell field is Travis Pike, Conor Nunn, Nicholas Cross, Liam Linane, Tim Sayer, Kasey Moore, Clint Anderson, Lachlan Malloy, Justin Cohen and Buddy Williams. The emergencies are Daniel Khobyar, Luke Wilke and Thomas Skinner.

Spike notes;
This week sees the final of the “Broo” 400 metres women’s series at Burramine on Saturday. The final field is quite possibly the best group of female 400 metre athletes that the VAL has ever assembled with many nationally ranked girls taking part. The sponsor and handicapping panel are to be commended on the way that they have been able to create a great deal of continued interest in an event that, at times, has been an after thought for the girls. If it isn’t the main event on Saturday it will certainly be the race
where the most reputations are on the line. Burramine , in its 61st year, has many of the VAL’s longest running events on the program. Races such as the Leo Burke Memorial, Tungamah 400 metres and John Gleeson Memorial have been conducted since the days of yore. Anyone wishing a “brief update” on the history of Burramine and surrounding district are obliged to ask Frances Connell, but don’t mention the water situation. Any kids wishing to enter the Burramine kids events hopefully have already entered but if you haven’t it may be worth trying; Mr. Chris Whitelock: 8 Steneker Cresc. Yarrawonga 3730. Ph: 03 5744 2648 Entry is free.
Sunday, the racing moves just down the road from Burramine to Euroa where eight events are up for grabs. The main event is the $3000 gift with a very good support program. The 70 metres has been divided into a front and back markers race giving an opportunity to many who don’t normally compete in the open sprint events. Also an open 1600 metres event is also on the program, which provided plenty of highlights last year.

Runners, don’t forget Cricket Willow is conducting a great meeting on Sunday 25th of March, the last chance before Stawell. Cricket Willow has programmed events which are non penalty for Stawell.
If you have ever wondered how athletes like David Page, Craig Harris, Wayne James and many more hold their form right throughout the VAL season, look no further than the Victorian Cross Country League. The registration forms for the Victorian Cross Country League season will be available at the colour tent for the next two weeks. Registration for first time runners is free and weekly events are conducted at various parks throughout the metropolitan area. Next season don’t think “I should be ready to run my best after Christmas”, get a jump on everyone and be ready from the start.

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