Hucker gears up for world champs

FLYING ALONG: Mountain bike star Robbie Hucker races downhill.REIGNING Australian champion in the junior class, Strathdale teenager Robbie Hucker is gearing up for the biggest race of his mountain biking career.Hucker, 18, will be racing for gold at next month’s world championships in Val di Sole, Italy.Racing on the Italian alps will be between June 17 and 22.Another of central Victoria’s and the country’s best, Barkers Creek-based Lachlan Norris will compete in the under-23 class at the world titles.Hucker said yesterday that selection for the world championships had been a lifelong dream.‘‘To represent your country and in a sport I really enjoy means a lot to me.’’ Hucker hopes the Italian hit-out will be the first of many international campaigns.‘‘Next year’s world championships will be in Canberra, but by then I will be in the under-23 class, so that will be even tougher.’’ A big summer for Robbie included criss-crossing the country to compete in the national series.He won rounds in Queensland and Adelaide and achieved a third placing, and fourth on two occasions.Hucker showed plenty of fight in the national championship race at Mount Stromlo in Canberra.Although a broken chain derailed his race, he fought back to be fourth overall.Hucker said the world championship showdown would be a huge challenge.‘‘There are likely to be more than 150 riders in the race, and the Italians and the French are likely to be the strongest.‘‘In Australia the fields are much smaller.’’ The cycling star will have to negotiate his way around many rivals and also the tricky descents, and daunting climbs.Although he is supported by Cannondale Sram, Hucker is banking on more support for what will be a self-funded campaign to the worlds.The keen teenager has gained plenty of support from his parents, Adrian and Jenny.Any prospective backers of Hucker’s campaign, whether they be individuals or a business, can contact him on 5441 6169.In the lead-up to the worlds, the keen cyclist will spend many hours riding on the hills and the roads.‘‘We had a training camp at the national team base in Launceston a couple of weeks ago.’’ In recent weeks he has put in about 18 hours a week training.‘‘The intensity at training lifts a lot in the next couple of weeks.‘‘There will be a lot more hill-climbing and efforts,’’ Hucker said of warming up to race in the green and gold for the first time.
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Speedy Santas lay down the challenge to nearby mayors

RED-HOT: In serious training for this year’s Santa Run are Central Coast Mayor Jan Bonde, Enormity president Chloe Spicer and Sue Smith MLC. Picture: Grant Wells.ULVERSTONE is soon to become a sea of red and white but if organisers of the annual Santa Run have their way the town will challenge Burnie and Devonport as the sporting hub of the Coast at the same time. Enormity’s third annual Santa Run will occur next month and this year the municipality is challenging its neighbouring councils. Enormity president Chloe Spicer said the group had written to Burnie Mayor Alvwyn Boyd and Devonport Mayor Lynn Laycock and their aldermen to don a Santa suit and run or walk the 5km. “The most councillors from each council will be the winner,” Miss Spicer said. Central Coast Mayor Jan Bonde and Cr Cheryl Fuller have already registered for the event – which puts the Central Coast council in the lead. “It’s a different event and well worth it,” Cr Bonde said. Miss Spicer said Ulverstone has a strong basis for its claim to the title of local sporting hub as the Ulverstone Santa Run sits comfortably among other runs all around the world. “We are competing with Santa runs all around the globe, plus now Kingston in southern Tasmania, to become world champions,” she said. “Currently Enormity is also working with the Launceston City Council to create a northern Santa Run in 2011 and will host representatives from Liverpool and Las Vegas – the two largest Santa runs in the world – to launch the 2011 World Santa Challenge at our annual Jingle Ball in August next year.” In her letter to the mayors Miss Spicer writes: “We hope that you see the fun and Christmas spirit associated with this event as well as the benefit of promoting our region worldwide and advise we have a Santa suit ready for your registration.” All money raised from the Santa Run will go to the Royal Flying Doctors Service. The Santa Run will be held on December 12 at Ulverstone. Visit www.santarun南京夜网.au to register for the Santa Run.
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Lessons in educationare worth the effort

I ACCEPTED Bendigo South West College’s invitation to attend a parent forum on the Bendigo Education Plan presented by Professor Loretta Giorcelli.The presentation focussed on education in the 21st century, learning styles of children today, how new school buildings are vital to their personalised learning, and the family’s role in supporting a child or sibling.It was a great opportunity to hear about what’s happening in our secondary education from such a highly acclaimed educator.Those present came away much more informed and equally excited about the forthcoming years.I urge all parents with children, either in secondary or primary years, to accept their college’s invitation to these information sessions.The next sessions are at Bendigo South East College on May 28, from 7 pm to 9 pm, and at Weeroona College on May 29, from 7 pm to 9 pm. SANDRA DAVEY,President Interim School Council Bendigo South West & East CollegesKangaroo Flat
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Quicks will be licking lips over pitch

GREEN ACRES: Coastal batting great Danny Buckingham after viewing the pitch (under the covers). It looked a bit green for the tastes of the former batsman. Picture: Kelly Slater.WHAT is the last thing an opening batsman wants to see before going out to face Brett Lee – or any fast bowler? A pitch greener than passengers aboard the Devil Cat crossing a choppy Bass Strait in the summer of `98. That very scenario could be awaiting Tassie’s openers when they make their way out to the middle to take on New South Wales at West Park on Saturday. Few on the North-West Coast would be more qualified than Danny Buckingham to know exactly what to expect out of a West Park wicket. He played 83 first-class matches for Tasmania, notching up nine centuries, 24 50s and 4769 runs at an average of 37.25, so he’s seen his fair share of pitches. Yesterday he viewed the pitch and The Advocate asked his opinion on how the wicket would play this Saturday. “Basically by now, what is it Monday? You should be really cut ready to go. “It should be hard, for a one- dayer you don’t want any grass on it,” the former batsman said. “Really you want the best opportunity for a high-scoring game. “You really need it to be shaven, starting to die off so you can get some more rolling onto it.” Getting a pitch up is a fine art, as all curators would know, so is there method in this madness? Buckingham didn’t think so. “Not really, I think maybe the weather has hindered them a little bit over the weekend,” he said. “Obviously Saturday was a bit wet, and I imagine he has tried to leave a bit of grass on there so it wouldn’t dry out too much. “But yeah it should be so you’re not seeing any green tinge at the moment, being so close to the game on Saturday.” Buckingham is expecting the wicket to have plenty to offer bowlers on both sides. “It’ll be sporting I dare say,” he said with a laugh. “Both bowlers are going to have the same, the difference being there is going to be some world- class bowlers on one team. “Tassie’s attack is not quite as menacing as NSW. I know who I would prefer to be facing.”
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Drought proof does not spell future proof

SWITCHING on the pumps of the Goldfields Superpipe, Mr Brumby said Ballarat was now drought proof. In 1955, when Henry Bolte opened the Eildon dam, Victoria’s irrigators were told the same thing.In fact, the plaque on the dam wall told how the dam was constructed by Victorians for the future security of Victorian irrigators.Unfortunately, for most of this century, due to the mismanagement and greed of state governments and its authorities, the dam has been unable to fulfil its potential, and we are now faced with the situation where two major economic regions of the State are dependent on the same dwindling supply. Should Mr Brumby and Mr Holding continue with their farcical plan to take a further 75 billion litres of water out of the Goulburn catchment to secure Melbourne’s water future?One would have to seriously consider whether Goulburn-Murray Water is adhering to its mission statement to “deliver sustainable water services that meet customer and stakeholder needs and support regional economic growth, while balancing social, economic and environmental considerations”. It was also interesting to note that Mr Brumby was careful to comment that the new Superpipe was pumping water to Ballarat from the Sandhurst Reservoir near Bendigo. He neglected to mention that the Bendigo reservoir is filled by stage one of the goldfields pipeline, pumping out of the Waranga-Mallee channel in the Goulburn Valley! NEIL PANKHURST,Tongala
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Halt on imports rocks fishing industry

NOWHERE TO GO: Sunday at midnight China announced without warning Australian rock lobster imports would no longer be accepted in the country, supplying no reason for the decision and no timeframe for the ban.CHINA’S decision to halt all imports of Australian rock lobster will bring the entire industry to its knees.On Sunday at midnight China announced without warning Australian rock lobster imports would no longer be accepted in the country, supplying no reason for the decision and no time frame for the ban.The news came after Australian access to the export market through Hong Kong was restricted on November 15. Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishermen’s Association chief executive officer Rodney Treloggen said the ban would have a disastrous impact on the rock lobster industry and flow-on effects would damage the Tasmanian economy.The ban will hit fishermen hard as more than 90% of Tasmania rock lobsters are exported to China.”Some fishermen haven’t been paid since the end of September, they’ve gone eight weeks with all expenses and no pay,” Mr Treloggen said.”Some are sitting out there with product on their boats that they can’t unload as the processors are full…some have been told to stop fishing and stay in port … there are a lot of boats sitting out there that can’t unload.””Prices have dropped but a lot of buyers aren’t taking fish at any price, there is just no market for it.”Wynyard commercial rock lobster fisherman Peter Smith said the halt on exports to China could hit the industry harder than the SARS scare.Mr Smith headed out to sea yesterday and hopes there will be a market for his catch when he returns.”Most fish we catch this time of year would be exported to China … there’s an issue in 10 to 12 days time when we get a load; what will we do with it?” he said.”We were hoping for about $40 a kilo but I heard phone calls today saying it could be $25, but they’re not even giving a price at the moment so it’s not worth anything.”Mr Smith said many rock lobster fishermen couldn’t afford to tie up boats and stop fishing and would keep working with hope the ban will soon be lifted.Other rock lobster fishermen and processors contacted by The Advocate yesterday declined to comment, saying they didn’t have enough information.Mr Treloggen said fishermen had a time limit to catch their rock lobster quota and if China continued to enforce the ban their profit would be severely reduced.Primary Industries and Water Minister Bryan Green met with Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishermen’s Association late yesterday to discuss impacts on the industry and said finding alternative markets for rock lobster fishermen was a pressing concern.Shadow parliamentary secretary for fisheries and forestry Richard Colbeck said there was no benefit in laying blame over why the ban happened and the government needed to pull out all the stops to find a solution.
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Hurst horror

SORRY SIGHT: The QEO scoreboard shows how bad Sandhurst’s day was on Saturday as South Bendigo’s Jackson Ireland grabs possession of the ball.SANDHURST was dealt what is believed to be the worst loss in its 148-year history after South Bendigo humiliated the Dragons by a massive 211 points in their Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football League clash on Saturday.The Dragons, the equal most successful club in BFL history, were non-competitive against their Queen Elizabeth Oval co-tenant as their season went from bad to worse with a 36.27 (243) to 5.2 (32) defeat.Since the start of the 2004 season, the only bigger margin in a BFL game has been the 249 points Golden Square beat North City by in the final round of 2006.The winless Sandhurst was outplayed in every facet of the game by the ruthless Bloods, who boosted their percentage from 185 to 244.84, with the victory also propelling South Bendigo from fourth to second on the ladder.The Bloods massacre of the Dragons headlined a one-sided round six, with all four BFL games decided by 80 points or more.But it was the demolition job by South Bendigo on the hapless Dragons that was the talking point.‘‘It was a really disappointing day for us and I don’t really know if there is a heap we can take out of it,’’ Dragons coach Kieran Nihill said.‘‘As a collective, I guess this is a game we need to erase and go back a couple of weeks to some of our efforts where we have been better.‘‘We spoke last week about where there have been times in each game where I thought we’ve gone all right, but I don’t think there was a time today where we went all right.‘‘Maybe that was because we weren’t allowed to come into the game.‘‘South Bendigo was very impressive and their strength showed out.’’While finding players to put in Sandhurst’s best was a near impossible task, South Bendigo, which had 11 different goalkickers, didn’t have any passengers.Full-forward Dayne Frew continued his outstanding start to the season, booting 12 goals from 15 shots, while returning half-forward Brad Rohde kicked five goals in an impressive performance.The midfield was led brilliantly by Shaun Bergin, who was particularly damaging in the first half, Brady Childs and Gavin Bowles, with the on-ballers able to capitalise on the dominance of rotating ruckmen John Hardinge, Ben Allen and Brett Strange.And the backline was superb, with Deon Jones, Brad Wright, Michael Leech and Eddie Dickins generating plenty of run, while also holding Sandhurst to just five goals.Remarkably, the in-form Leech also kicked five goals, despite playing the majority of the game at centre half-back on Sam McGee.The Bloods’ bigger bodies was one of the telling differences between the two sides.South Bendigo constantly won the contested ball, while Bloods’ players were regularly able to break the tackles of their Dragons’ opponents with ease.‘‘I don’t think it’s an effort thing, and I’m not going to go down the path of saying they (the players) aren’t having a go because I think they are,’’ Nihill said.‘‘But the physical difference was clearly visible today . . .we went to tackle them and we just got brushed aside because they are big, strong men.’’At times, the way the Bloods were able to win the ball out of the centre and deliver to a forward resembled a training run.As well as what appeared to be a lack of confidence and communication out on the ground, the Dragons afforded their opponents too much latitude.Bloods’ prime-movers in Bergin, who had close to 20 possessions in the first half, Bowles and Childs were consistently able to win the ball in space, with the trio combing for eight goals.South Bendigo led by 38 points at quarter-time, but it should have been more as the Bloods squandered opportunities, only kicking 5.9 to Sandhurst’s 0.1.It was then a procession of goals over the final three quarters as South Bendigo added 11.6, 12.3 and 8.9, finishing the match with a staggering 63 scoring shots to just seven.The longest the Bloods went without a goal was eight minutes, between the third and 11 minute mark of the first term.The Dragons took until the 22-minute mark of the second quarter – or 50 minutes of actual game time – to kick their first goal through McGee, who finished with three from limited chances.By that time, the Bloods already had 14.13 (97) on the board, and by half-time, their lead was 104 points.The Bloods went inside their forward 50 m arc 79 times to the Dragons’ 25.South Bendigo won the centre breaks 29-14, while another telling statistic was Sandhurst’s turnovers in its defensive 50.The Dragons turned the ball over 33 times in their defence, which directly resulted in 15 goals.
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Biggest game in years

THE argument might be raging about whether or not it’s officially a first- class cricket game, but next Saturday’s Ryobi One-Day Cup match between Tasmania and New South Wales at West Park in Burnie is the biggest cricket game on the Coast for years. Consequently, it will be standing room only. That’s because organisers are expecting a crowd of anywhere between 3000 and 5000 and grandstand seating at West Park only caters for about 2000. So if you’re planning to attend, either bring a fold- up seat or get there early. Patrons with pre-paid tickets won’t have to queue though and will have easy access through the two entrance points at the western end of the ground and on the northern (sea) side. Admission prices are $15 for adults, $8 for children or students over 16 and $8 for concession. Pass outs will be available. No BYO alcohol is permitted, but light and mid- strength beer will be available inside the ground. The bar, at The Point function room, will be restricted to Cricket Tasmania sponsors and guests during play, but will be open to the public at the end of the day. All other alcohol must be consumed (from plastic cups) in the designated wet area on the eastern side of the ground. Police and security will be in attendance. Gates will open at 8.45am and play will start at 10am, with a lunch break at 1pm and ending around 5pm. The venue will be family- friendly and the Tassie Tigers jumping castle will be set up for children. A range of refreshments and food will be available inside the ground.
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World titles filling up

WET AND WILD: Action from this year’s Australian qualifying race near Cairns for the Adventure Racing World Championships in Tasmania next year.ENTRIES are starting to flood in for the Adventure Racing World Championships, to be held in Tasmania next year. International teams of elite athletes from Canada, the US, UK, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, France, Hong Kong and Indonesia have already entered, along with several teams from Australia. The course for the 700km championship won’t be finalised until January and Burnie is still in the running with a chance to host the titles. Burnie Sports and Events executive officer Brett Whiteley said BSE held discussions with race director Craig Bycroft when he visited Tasmania last week. “He was very receptive and welcoming of our expression of interest and recognised the potential for this part of the state to host the championship or stages of it,” Whiteley said. “However, we do face a significant challenge from the south of the state as to where the event will be based. “But we are up for the challenge and we will continue our discussions with organisers.” Bycroft said yesterday almost 60 elite and special interest teams had applied for spots in the championship. He said a number of Australian teams were accepted based on outstanding results in domestic races. Along with the 30 application spots, teams may also gain an entry to the event by finishing either first or second at one of 12 qualifying races in the world series (totalling 24 spots). Tasmania hosted a qualifying race in 2006, based in Hobart, but which utilised a number of stages on the North-West Coast, including the first stage of a descent (running) down The Nut at Stanley. The Australian leg was held in Cairns and winners Blackheart南京夜网.au (Australia) and Merrell Adventure Addicts (South Africa) have already accepted their spots in next year’s world title. UK-based team and 2008 world champions, Adidas Terrex, who won the second qualifying race in the UK, have also entered, along with reigning world champions Buff Thermocool (a composite French-Spanish team), who will defend the title they won in Spain this year. With application spots and world series qualifying spots all filled, only 20 places in the general entry section will be available from Wednesday. “These spots are open to any team brave enough to face the challenges of an expedition race and the world championships,” Bycroft said. A total of 70 teams of four athletes from around the world will race day and night over a 700km course in the disciplines of trekking, kayaking, mountain biking and roping, vying for a share of $75,000 in prize money.
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New home for old mobiles

THOUSANDS of redundant CDMA mobile phones gathering dust in kitchen drawers and cupboards across Australia will be given the chance to grow – to grow trees, that is.Until World Environment Day on June 5, a tree will be planted for every mobile phone recycled.An estimated 16 million old mobiles clutter homes and offices nationwide.Australians are replacing their handsets on average every 18 to 24 months and, as chemicals in the batteries are hazardous to the environment if left unchecked, the need for recycling is great.”The campaign is a fantastic win-win initiative,” said Rose Read, manager of the official Australian mobile phone recycling program MobileMuster.”People can safely recycle their old mobiles and also help restore and repair degraded landscapes.”She said the Old Phones, More Trees campaign had come at a great time following the closure of the CDMA network. City of Greater Bendigo mayor David Jones said a lot of people still had CDMA handsets.”There are some quite precious metals in mobile phones and, while they are sometimes hard to extract, the more people recycling, the less demand on these raw materials,” he said.About 90 per cent of materials in mobile phones, batteries, accessories and chargers can be recycled.”There’s less waste in landfills and it helps reuse old materials; it’s a great initiative,” Cr Jones said.Mobile phones can be recycled at mobile phone retailers Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, 3 Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Crazy Johns and selected ANZ branches.Free recycling satchels are also available at participating Australia Post outlets.”I think it would be quite interesting to see how much Bendigo gets behind it,” said Cr Jones.”I’ve actually got one in my desk come to think of it; I’ll have to drop it in,” he said.
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