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Albury Wodonga wrap

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Albury Wodonga Gift 26th January 2014

The third of the “born again” Albury Wodonga gift carnivals was held on Sunday under brilliant sunshine and a well grassed track for the athletes. The raised, roped lanes, spectator’s tents on the boundary and idyllic surroundings were added highlights to the day. The Little A’s were out in full force and ensured an abundance of talent for future Albury Wodonga gifts.                                        And once again the gift committee, led by the VAL’s very own Tom Burbidge, provided an entertaining and exciting day of racing. Also, the club provided an excellent BBQ and plenty of hospitality after the completion of the day’s events in the clubs social club..... A good time was had by all.


The Albury City Frontmarkers 70 metres  

Marty Sinclair (2.5m), a regular visitor to the Victorian Athletic League carnivals, added another win to his Daylesford gift victory with a comfortable win in the front markers 70 metres at Albury on Sunday. With the handicaps brought back to scratch, Melanie Purkiss (6.25m) recorded the fastest of the heat times with a run of 8.37, against Marty’s time of 8.53. However in the final Sinclair improved to win in 8.37, while Purkiss ran 8.44 to finish second. In third place was the scratch man, Jason Bailey.

Hadar Homes 70 metres Backmarkers

Local Athlete John Adams (4.5m) returned to winning form with a narrow win in the back markers division of the 70 metres at Albury. John showed he wasn’t far off a win with some excellent runs at Wangaratta the day before where he made both sprint finals. At Albury he recorded the fastest heat time of 7.76 and improved on that time marginally to run 7.74 in the final. Adams defeated Edward Ware ( 2.75m) and Luke Whitney (5m).

VRTA under 20s 120 metres

Ryan McNamara (9m) was another to win his first VAL race on the weekend with a stylish win in the VRTA 120 metres under 20s event. Ryan, who shows plenty of form over the 400 metres trip, is well up to handling the straight sprinting as well. McNamara was a clear favourite for the final with his 12.89 heat win, giving him a clear “buffer” over his competitors. In the final he won by nearly two metres from Jack Armour (9m) and Ryan Clohessy (12m) in the time of 12.78. 

Albury Wholesale Chickens 120 metres Veterans’

The final of the Veterans’ 120 metres was an open affair with Kevin Matthews (18.25m), Leigh Phelan (4.25m) and John Hilditch all recording times within inches of each other. Leigh Phelan was the one to finish on top as he came with a very late finish to defeat Matthews and Brian Wright , through with a third in his heat, finishing in third place. The winning time was 13.48.

120 metres Joss Albury Wodonga Gift

The ten heats of the gift created plenty of interest with no real standout for the semi finals. Lee Forrest (5m), the Maryborough gift winner, won the first in a very comfortable 12.59. The second heat was taken out by the exciting new talent on the circuit in Luke “Inside evens” Stevens (5m) with a run of 12.60. Mark Hignett (12m) surprised some with a terrific heat win in 12.60. Noddy Angelakos (12m) was a convincing winner of heat five with a run of 12.64. The best run in the heats came from Matt Carter winning in 12.66 off the tight handicap of one metre. Angelakos defeated Stevens in the first semi by inches and was clocked at 12.50. Matt Carter beat that time in the second semi with a run of 12.45, defeating John Adams and Mark Hignett by slender margins. The first three in this semi were the fastest three qualifiers for the final. In the third semi Lee Forrest had a comfortable win in 12.51. With less than a metre between the six finalists the race was wide open. In the final Hignett quickly raced to the lead and looked all over a winner until a late charge from   “Inside Evens” lifted the first prize cheque from Mark’s pocket. There was only a metre and a quarter covering the field at the finish. Steven’s who started this season in the Melton 300 metres series has certainly earned the tag of the season’s best new talent. Luke is coached by John Henry, making it a weekend double for John in the two major races.   

Borderbandag Tyre Service 120 metres women’s

One of the highlights of the day was the performances put in by Australia’s best female sprinter, Melissa Breen, to win her heat and final of the women’s gift. In her heat, running from half a metre behind scratch, Melissa recorded the fastest heat time of 13.94, a metre to the good of Celia Cosgriff’s heat of 14.02. Karlee Bailey (11.75m) was the third fastest in the heats with a run of 14.18. In the final Melissa scorched down the inside lane to gather in Cosgriff in the last few metres to record a half metre victory with Bailey in third place. The winner is coached by Matt Beckenham. Melanie Purkiss (8m) was a late scratching from the final.


400 metres Sportzbiz Novice

Ben Mason (40m) could only finish fourth in his heat of the Sportzbiz novice but still managed to qualify as the fourth fastest for the final. The fastest qualifier was Carrick Gill-Vallance (52m) but the final had many chances. Danielle McDowell (92m) maintained a big lead early in the final and still looked a winning chance in the shadows of the post but the big frame of Ben Mason charged down the outside to eventually defeat Gill-Vallance and Troy Carey (44m). The winner is part of the Hippo Athletic club and his winning time was 48.62.

The river 105.7FM Border Radio 400 metres Open

105.7fm Border Radio provided a lucrative prize pool of $4000 for the open 400 metres and a classy field assembled for the final after some strong heat performances. Ryan Camille (29m), a placegetter in last year’s Stawell Gift, was the first runner through with a run of 48.8. Ryan McNamara (22m) a first season young gun, was next through with a heat win in 48.46. In the first two heats, three place getters, Brady Lehmann (24m), Steve Fabris (23m)  and Mitchell Palmer (28m) qualified for the final with their times. Heat three was over from the start when Jacob Reed (40m) cleared out to run the fastest of the heats with a run of 47.76. Heat four and the very consistent David Fenollar (29m) won clearly in 48.38. Heat five, the final heat, saw stable mates Michael Marantelli (29m) and Cameron Clayton (26m) hit the line locked together with Marantelli getting the verdict. However a false start did put the “Claytonator” back to 24m in this heat. In the final Reed sailed along in front and just as he looked in danger on the home turn, he found and raced away to win by six metres. Fenollar battled on well for second and Marantelli grabbed third place. Steve Fabris was in fourth place, but twenty four hours later was the owner of a $3000 cheque from his win in the Gillette Dash 4 Cash at the MCG. Jacob Reed winner is coached by Matthew McDonough.

Yes Optus 300 metres Women’s and Veterans’

Lauren Boden won her first Victorian Athletic League sash at Albury when she came from last before the home turn to storm down the outside to grab Belinda Carusi (47m) right on the line. Lauren went into the final with a handy ‘break’ on her opposition with a heat run of 36.36, the only heat under 37 seconds. In the final Dale Jones (60m) had to withdraw from the event just after the start with an injury. This left the Armour family, Cherie (90m) and Martin (76m) with a handy lead coming to the home turn with Belinda Carusi taking over as the field straightened for the run to the finish. Just as Belinda was being called the winner Lauren Boden pounced and with a desperate throw gained the verdict. Stephanie Mollica ( 28m) ran on well for third place. Lauren’s win was another to the Matty B Department, her winning time was 37.58

Quest Albury 1600 metres

Phillip O’Brien (140m) avoided the Wangaratta 3200 metres event the night before and produced his best form to win his first open event with the Victorian Athletic League. It was Phil’s first win since a novice 1600 metres win a few years ago, although he has been plagued by injuries, over that period. On Sunday Phil only came into contention as a winning possibility in the final five hundred metres as he was well back in the early stages. Stefan Catalano (320m), as is usually the case, took off at a solid tempo to hold a handy lead from Mark Hipworth (225m) with Charlie Brooks (195m) handy enough to be in contention. Not a lot changed until Brooks took the lead at the 300 metres point only to be challenged solidly by O’Brien down the back straight. O’Brien charged past the leader coming to the 200 metres and opened up a handy break with Brooks sticking to his task. In the run to the line Phil O’Brien was able to win by seven metres from Brooks with a further ten metres to David Haigh (155m) in third place. Phil is a member of the Mark Hipworth coaching group.