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Nitro Circus’ Jackson Strong injured in fireworks explosion

Original source:The Daily Advertiser
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Lockhart’s motocross star Jackson Strong is one of two menseriously hurt in a fireworks explosion at his home.

Details of the incident are still being gathered, but Mr Strong’s father, Lyndon,confirmed his son had been hurt in a New Year’s fireworks blast.

Strong has made an international name for himself in the daring motocross arena, rising from performing at the Lockhart Show as a youth to bagging swags of medals on the international stage.

PHOTOS: Jackson Strong in action

Strong, the reigning X Games Best Trick gold medalist,has ridden for Nitro Circus and most recently performed in Wagga as part of the Nitro Circus regional tour.

Ambulance media said paramedics responded to reports of a fireworks explosion on Milbrulong Road about 12.10am today.

A spokeswoman said two patients were taken to Wagga Base Hospital.

Jackson Strong, 22,is reported to be the more seriously hurt.

He suffered a serious leg injury as well as chest and facial injuries.

Pictures of Mr Strong’s facial injuries have been posted on his website www.jackostrong南京夜网.

“His left leg around his thigh is the worst part,” a worriedLyndon Strong said.

“He will pull through, no worries at all.”

He was flown into Wagga by helicopter and thenafter treatment at the base hospital was flown by plane to Sydney where he was admitted to the burns unit of St George Hospital.

A second man suffered a lower leg wound.

He is believed to be a good friend of Mr Jackson and was celebrating the new year with him.

X Games gold medallist and Nitro Circus star Jackson Strong has been injured in a fireworks explosion. WARNING: NEXT PICTURE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT

Jackson Strong posted this photo of his injuries on his website, jackostrong南京夜网

Ambulance media said he was a 20-year-old, but a spokeswoman for Murrumbidgee Local Health District said it was believed he was 28.

He is being treated in Wagga Base Hospital and is in a stable condition.

It is believed the incident happened on Mr Strong’s family property, where he regularly spends time and has filmed for a documentary,Headstrong.

In 2012, Strong became the first Australian to win back-to-back gold medals in the X Games Moto Best Trick category after creating history with the first-ever front-slip in competition and unveiling a body varial, The Jack.

Lockhart Shire Council did not have a fireworks display for New Year’s Eve.

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Baby Isaac the first of 2014

THE new year will be filled with hope and joy for Naomi and Jonathan Stucken who on Wednesdaywelcomed their first baby to the world.
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Baby Isaac, 12 days overdue when he was finally born at 1.35am on New Year’s Day, was also the first baby born at Orange Hospital in 2014.

He weighed 4.48 kilograms (9.8 pounds) and was 60 centimetres (23.6 inches) long.

“It’s been a bit of a marathon, but I’m just so happy he’s here,” Mrs Stucken said.

The first-time parents said they were a little nervous leading up to the birth, which was scheduled at Orange hospital instead of their home town in Cowra, due to a lack of an anesthetist over the festive period.

“When you know he’s so big I was quite nervous,” Mrs Stucken said.

“But I was very happy and relieved when he came out safely.

The name Isaac is an ancient translation meaning’he will laugh’, a fact the couple were aware of whentheychose the name based onone of their favourite bible stories.

Mrs Stucken said she had nothing but praise for the staff in Orange hospital’s maternity ward.

“I don’t think you’d have better service in Sydney, their standard of care is amazing,” Mrs Stucken said.

“Staff have been amazing and everyone we’ve spoken to is so helpful.”

[email protected]南京夜网.au

THE BEST NEW YEAR: Naomi and Jonathan Stucken with son Isaac, who was the first baby born at Orange Hospital in 2014. Photo: LUKE SCHUYLER

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Vansittart Park hosts thousands at NYE party

HAILED A SUCCESS: Mount Gambier Community Events Management Inc (MGCEMI) chair Steve Toope was pleased with how the fourth annual New Year’s Eve community celebrations were received. Pictures: BRETT KENNEDY NEED FOR SPEED: Cooper Bobridge (8) got behind the wheel of the go-karts, one of many amusements for the hundreds of children on site.
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VISITORS GALORE: Mount Gambier’s New Year’s Eve community celebrations attracted many visitors, including Adelaide’s Kobi, 8, and Levi Swanson, 5, and Lily Cunningham, 3, who enjoyed building a block tower.

HEAVY HITTING: The Riot City Wrestling crew was once again a smash hit with the crowd, as many cheered on GD Grimm, who outmuscled his opponent.

BUBBLE TROUBLE: Cassidy Lynagh, 5, was extra bubbly Tuesday night at the Mount Gambier Community New Year’s Eve celebrations.

NO SEATING ROOM: Adelaide-based Circus Elements entertainer Scott Griffin got the crowd involved in his performance.

VANSITTART Park hosted thousands of revellers on New Years Eveas families and friends came together to usher in 2014 at the fourth annual Mount Gambier Community New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Residents flocked into the venue from the Wehl Street entrance, making their way to the centre of the oval where jumping castles, merry-go-rounds, musicians and wrestlers waited to entertain the festive crowds.

Mount Gambier Community Events Management Incorporated chair Steve Toope said he was happy with the community response.

“I think it all went pretty well, the weather gods were definitely smiling on us,” Mr Toope said.

“You only have to look out the window today (Wednesday) to realise we were lucky.

“At the end of the day we didn’t have any hassles or hitches.

“We aim to get about 3500-4500 people and at a rough guess I’d say we were around the mark.

“It was a similar size crowd to 2012.”

Mr Toope said he received positive feedback from residents throughout the night.

“The fireworks were obviously well-received and everyone seemed happy with the range of entertainment,” he said.

“From an organiser point of view, I’ve really got nothing to complain about.”

Mr Toope said the central Vansittart Park location once again proved to be a winner.

“The one thing I see on New Year’s Eve when I’m walking about the area is that from a family perspective, it’s a good venue to go to,” he said.

“The kids can go off and parents know they will be safe and you see all the extended family catching up with a rug on the grass.

“From my point of view, I look at it as one of those events that friends and families can really come together, sit down and have a chat to catch up.

“From a parent’s perspective, if the kids are being entertained, then that can mean the parents or grandparents are in for an easier night.”

With live music a strong feature of the night, Mr Toope said the committee’s gamble on securing the services of Adelaide band Platinum Plus paid off.

“I think they went down really well, they were a tight outfit,” he said.

“We sort of punted that they’d fit the demographic and that’s exactly what happened.

“It was very easy listening and family friendly, so they were a good fit.”

While a large portion of the crowd left after the early fireworks, Mr Toope said organisers were prepared for the exodus, with other people still entering the venue right up until the stroke of midnight.

“That’s how we’ve designed the night, because we understand a lot of people have younger families,” he said.

While the committee has barely had time to celebrate the beginning of 2014 with plenty of packing up done yesterday morning, the next installment is already on their minds.

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Wanderers to be sold

Wellington stun Western Sydney with comeback win
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Football Federation Australia is on the verge of selling the Western Sydney Wanderers after a sale price was agreed with a private consortium headed by Primo Smallgoods boss Paul Lederer.

Lederer has long-been mooted as the likely candidate to buy the Wanderers’ and has been in discussions about a financial stake in an A-League club for several years. He has submitted a joint offer alongside Pirtek founder Peter Duncan and a mystery Chinese businessman to take over the club.

Despite appointing equity firm UBS to find a potential buyer, the FFA has been in no rush to complete the proposed $15 million sale after the seeing the club’s surging popularity continue this year. The FFA has not disclosed if their valuation, which was formulated several months ago, has been met or exceeded.

There is a chance the deal could be completed as early as March but if the FFA is not satisfied with the arrangement, a sale may be held off until the end of the season.

That was only the positive news for the club to emerge from Parramatta Stadium on New Years’ Day as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat to Wellington Phoenix.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was at a loss to explain their capitulation in the final 25 minutes, where they conceded three times.

“It wasn’t our best [performance]. We scored first but they got a good equaliser and then we got punished for our mistakes,” Popovic said. “It’s the first time we’ve played at home this season and have lost. We’ve got to learn from it, which we will, and we’ll move on quickly.”

Popovic said his side was so keen to find a winning goal that they let their defence slip.

“At 1-1, I was still comfortable but I think we tried too hard and tried to force the issue,” he said. “They took advantage and that’s a credit to them. It’s a first for us and the players are disappointed. We’re not going to look too deep into it.”

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick said such a performance from his side was certainly due.

“The boys tell me they can’t remember being a goal behind and coming back to win but I think that’s to do with the mental approach they’ve got now. We’ve been working on that day since one of pre-season,” he said. “All round we’ve been playing good football [this season], I think there’s only two games we haven’t been played well but the law of averages says it’s got to come good and it did tonight.”

Merrick said 19-year-old substitute Tyler Boyd, who scored one and set up another after coming on, would take his game to the next level after that performance.

“He played a fair bit last year but didn’t seem to have a sense of purpose about him but now he understands more about the job and he has a sense of purpose on the field,” Merrick said. “He did a very good job tonight. I couldn’t ask anything else of him.”

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Partnership needed to drive game ahead

TO anyone on the outside, it may have appeared strange that for the past 92 years Newcastle district cricket and Newcastle City and Suburban cricket have operated as separate entities.
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Since C&S was launched in 1921-22, the two associations have at times had a bitter relationship, and many players are ardently opposed to the rival competition. Any cross-over was deemed impossible.

The latest proposal to amalgamate the competitions, their respective umpires association and Newcastle Junior Cricket Association into one governing body is long overdue.

Cricket in Australia faces plenty of challenges to remain the nation’s No.1 summer sport. Due to changing work hours and family pressures, the free Saturday afternoon to chase around leather in the hot sun is a luxury that is becoming increasingly unavailable to many people.

Both the NDCA and C&S are in the business of promoting cricket, so it makes sense to pool their resources to face these challenges together instead of in competition.

Already the links forged between district and C&S clubs are proving beneficial and creating more flexibility for cricketers, especially those who cannot commit every Saturday.

Under a new proposal, an elected eight-person board of directors would appoint a paid general manager to run Newcastle cricket. This is another overdue step.

As long as the position is affordable long-term, it should benefit Newcastle cricket.

Local rugby league, rugby union, AFL, football and basketball all have a general manager or chief executive.

In recent years the NDCA, C&S and junior committees have worked diligently to further the sport, but they are all volunteers.

Due to a lack of time they are unable to dedicate the necessary manpower to grow cricket to its potential.

That includes boosting sponsorship, lobbying government for upgrades to No.1 Sportsground to cater for more elite cricket and introducing midweek competitions.

Plenty of negotiating and fine-tuning of the details will need to occur before one governing body is running Newcastle cricket.

It could be three or four seasons before it comes into operation.

In the meantime it is a proposal worthy of discussion.

POWER OF ONE: Cricket in Newcastle could come under the control of one administrative body. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

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Rising Phoenix stun Wanderers at home

STEIN Huysegems and Tyler Boyd combined to sink Western Sydney Wanderers’ undefeated home record and continue Wellington Phoenix’s remarkable A-League mid-season resurgence.
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The Phoenix scored a 3-1 come-from-behind win over the Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium last night with Huysegems scoring two goals and setting up one for Boyd.

The Phoenix duo put on an attacking clinic after the home side had gone up 1-0 in the 62nd minute through Mark Bridge after great a deft chip from Shinji Ono.

But Boyd struck back in the 68th minute before Huysegems’s brace came in the 78th and 83rd minutes, the second a stunning back heel.

The win is the third straight for the Phoenix after previously enduring a winless start to the season.

The loss was the Wanderers’ first at home since January 6 last year.

With Ono and Tomi Yuric back and Michael Beauchamp wearing the captain’s armband, the Wanderers controlled much of the contest until after their first goal.

The hosts probably should have gone into the break ahead.

A Juric header flew over the bar in the 14th minute after he was incorrectly ruled offside, before a powerful shot from Aaron Mooy was deflected wide by Phoenix goalkeeper Glenn Moss.

Then, in the final minute of time in the opening half, an Ono header hit the bar.

With Youssouf Hersi constantly threatening the Phoenix defence after the break, the Wanderers always looked likely to score, and it was a well-deserved lead when they went 1-0 up.

But then the game turned on its head as Boyd and Huysegems dominated to secure the upset win for the Phoenix to give Wanderers coach Tony Popovic plenty to ponder in the new year.

Boyd slid in at the far post to guide in a low Huysegems cross from the right.

The bald Belgian then dispossessed Mooy and rammed home a low left-foot finish inside the far post before Boyd drove in a low cross, which Huysegems flicked in deftly past Covic.

● Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said his only fear for the 2014 World Cup was players gloating over past victories and failing to be humble in the face of the great challenge ahead in Brazil.

‘‘We have to forget the past and not gloat over what we have won in previous years,’’ Del Bosque said.

‘‘Humility is not an empty word. When I ask for it, it is because it is the path to success.’’

Spain, champions of Europe in 2008 and 2012 and World Cup winners in 2010, face fierce competition in the tournament, which kicks off in Brazil on June 12.

‘‘The players have won a lot, almost everything, and their vision is not the same as it was five or six years ago. That is my only fear. We come back to humbleness. You have to be humble, sportsmen, and good lads.’’ AFP

AIRBORN: The Wanderers’ Michael Beauchamp tackles Wellington’s Louis Fenton at Pirtek Stadium last night. Picture: Getty Images

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One new year’s resolution for Johnson

Mitchell Johnson doesn’t deal in new year’s resolutions. And when you’ve been travelling as well as the reborn Australian fast bowler over the past few months, why bother changing a thing?
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Even as a new year has arrived, Johnson is still coming to terms with what he accomplished at the tail end of the last.

“I haven’t stepped back and had a look at it yet,” said Johnson, who has 31 wickets for the Ashes series with Friday’s fifth match in Sydney to come. “That’s something that when I’ve retired or finished this series I can have a look at and be really proud of.

“I’m proud of it at the moment but I don’t think it’s really sunk in. Even winning the Test in Perth, I don’t think it’d really sunk in yet that we’d won the Ashes so that’s why I think we want to win 5-0. We’ve got that hunger there.

“We want to go on with it so that desire is still there and it’s something we’ll look back in years to come and be really proud of and hopefully be one of the greatest teams to have played in the modern era.”

That final statement sums up what an astonishing turnaround Johnson and Australia have managed to stage this summer. He was there in India when they were dubbed the worst team to tour there nine months ago, and wasn’t even part of the squad that was then beaten 3-0 in England.

Number one in the world, a place in the history books – Michael Clarke’s Australians had kept their lofty ambitions in check for much of the series. But now that England are thoroughly buried and they have their own mojo back, they want to make sure it doesn’t go the way of Johnson’s ‘mo, which will finally get the razor treatment after Sydney.

Just how realistic their goals are will be determined next month when they meet the world’s best side, South Africa, on the Proteas’ turf. It was in Johannesburg more than two years ago that Australia last won a Test away from home against one of the major powers of world cricket – South Africa, England or India – and their record on the road last year showcased just how challenging they have found it to excel in foreign territory.

With a new lease of life Johnson, at 32, can hardly be blamed for feeling as if he can conquer the world.

“It’s just staying as fresh as possible mentally and physically. We’ve got a little bit more time off this year,” he said. “So it’s just having those times when I’m able to get back home and do the right things back home.

“One of the big things for me has been to be able to keep my gym work up. Keep that strength going, just keep being around positive people and keep enjoying my cricket. Which is what I have been doing over this past year. It’s pretty simple really, I don’t want to over-complicate it.”

That is exactly what Clarke has endeavoured to do in his management of Johnson against England, with spectacular results.

Reaching speeds of 155.8km/h in the Boxing Day Test and having used the short ball to devastating effect since the series began, Johnson’s hold over the opposition can be traced back to a basic tactical instruction from Clarke: Bowl fast.

“My role has been very clear,” Johnson said. “In the past I’ve felt I’ve had to play different roles, and sometimes that still happens where you have to back off a little bit and maybe tighten it up a little bit.

“In general my role has been to go out there, bowl fast, be aggressive, bowl in short spells. I’m very comfortable with that.”

An SCG wicket with a healthy tinge of green awaits him on Friday, and against a hungry quick with an eye on a whitewash that could be more bad news for England.

“There was a lot of talk about 5-0 the other way,” Johnson said. “I’ve been involved in a lot of losses against England [so] we really want to make it 5-0.

“And to be at this ground in Sydney, the wicket is looking pretty good for us fast bowlers so would be nice to go away from this 5-0 up and be one of the only teams in history to do that.”

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Sydney Thunder left dumbstruck by incredible run of outs in loss to Melbourne Stars

Match stats / As it happened
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As if coming up against the international standard Melbourne Stars wasn’t hard enough, the weather toyed with Sydney Thunder on Wednesday night at ANZ Stadium, throwing out captain Mike Hussey’s plans to finally crack a win for the hapless side.

Defending a decent score of 6-155 on a two-paced drop-in deck, Hussey was given advice that rain was coming, leading him to turn to his strike bowlers early.

“Our plans changed quite a lot throughout the night,” a frustrated but composed Hussey said.

“We were told there was quite a bit of rain coming. So we wanted to use our good bowlers up front and try and keep them behind the par score. Then the next message came out that ‘No, no, there’s not going to be any rain’. Obviously things changed quite a bit.”

Hussey said it was “obvious” that the Stars would target Tillakaratne Dilshan, but the Thunder was left with no option but to bowl the Sri Lankan off spinner and medium pacer Scott Coyte in four of the final six overs.

With Brad Hodge (64 not out from 36 balls) and David Hussey (16 off 13) at the crease, there was little chance of the Thunder holding on and the finally relented with five balls remaining.

“It’s frustrating, for sure. I like to win,” Hussey said. “But I’m still very encouraged. We’ve got a choice. We can either bow our heads and feel sorry for ourselves and get down on ourselves and start arguing. Or we can remain positive and keep backing each other and keep trying to play our brand of cricket. I’m sure that’s what we will do.

“We were very competitive again tonight. We were playing against a fantastic team and to push them all the way to the last over was a very good effort.”

Besides the weather, luck deserted the Thunder. Matt Wade (44 off 40) survived a huge appeal from Dirk Nannes when on zero. Later, Dilshan threw down the stumps to catch David Hussey out of his crease – but the bail did not completely dislodge.

“When you’re going well, those little bits of luck tend to go your way,” said Mike Hussey, who scored 66 from 48 in the Thunder’s innings.

“Unfortunately they’re not going our way at the moment. But if we keep staying positive, keep backing each other, keep trying to execute our skills, the worm will turn and those little things will go our way. And when they do, then hopefully a few wins go with that.”

Hodge said experience proved the key at the end for the Stars, who finish a clean sweep of Sydney and return to Melbourne atop the Big Bash League table with three wins from three matches.

“Between me and Huss we’ve probably played about 400 T20 matches, so we probably used our head a little bit to try and think through the situation,” Hodge said.

“I guess experience is worth a lot. That’s probably the main difference in terms of the Melbourne Stars winning more matches in their history than the Thunder.”

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Sophie Stanwell on track for Games qualification

THERE is no time like the present for Georgetown heptathlete Sophie Stanwell as she chases a Commonwealth Games B-qualifier at the NSW Combined Event Championships this weekend.
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The 22-year-old and Maitland decathlete Matt Harris will both defend NSW titles at Campbelltown Athletics Centre with an eye on the qualifying marks for the 2014 Glasgow Games team.

But while Harris is preparing to build his Games selection campaign towards the national titles in April, Stanwell is keen to start 2014 with a bang.

Ranked No.1 in Australia after a strong 2013, Stanwell is in sight of the qualifying mark.

She needs to improve her personal best tally across the seven events by just 44 points to reach the 5600 target.

Although there are still several chances left to hit the score, Stanwell believes she can do it at the season opener.

‘‘I want to set PBs in the events I’ve really been working on over the last few months – the two throws and the hurdles,’’ she said.

‘‘If I can do that and do well in the other events, I should get near 5700 points.

‘‘My training all points to that sort of score, the weather should be good, so there’s no reason I shouldn’t be aiming for it.’’

Stanwell made her international debut in July, finishing ninth at the World University Games in Russia.

After a slow start, she was ninth in a field of 19, which included 2011 world champion and London Olympics bronze medallist Tatyana Chernova.

Despite disappointing efforts in the high jump and 100-metres hurdles, Stanwell took plenty of positives out of the performance heading into the biggest year of her career. ‘‘I had a pretty tough start in the first two events, but I did personal bests in the rest of them,’’ she said.

‘‘And I ran the fastest 200m in the competition, so that was pretty special, having my name next to No.1 on the boards ahead of the all those top athletes.’’

Meanwhile, Harris will shoot for an unprecedented sixth consecutive NSW decathlon title this weekend.

The 24-year-old was optimistic about bridging the 300-point gap from his personal best to the men’s Commonwealth Games qualifier this season but was looking further down the track.

‘‘I’m not going as good as Sophie at the moment – she is on fire – but everything is going well,’’ Harris said.

‘‘It will be tough to get the qualifier. I know I’m capable, but everything has to go well for me.

‘‘I’m really looking to build through the season towards the nationals.’’

Although further away from a Games berth than Stanwell, Harris said it was within sight.

‘‘The last one I did I lost 400 [points] in a single event, 200 in a another. And the 1500m I didn’t go too hard in because I’d already lost so many points,’’ Harris said.

‘‘You can pick up or lose a lot very quickly.’’

Both will back up in two weeks to compete in selected individual events at the Hunter Track Classic at Glendale.

HOPES: Matt Harris and Sophie Stanwell, who are defending their NSW titles at Campbelltown this weekend. Picture: Ryan Osland

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Newcastle cricket bodies weigh up amalgamation

ALL cricket in Newcastle soon could be controlled by one governing body with a full-time general manager if a proposed amalgamation of associations is accepted.
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A meeting will be held in February to discuss a proposal to merge the Newcastle District Cricket Association (NDCA), Newcastle City and Suburban Cricket (C&S), their respective umpires bodies and the Newcastle Junior Cricket Association (NJCA) under one administrative umbrella.

The aim is to streamline administration and reduce the duplicity of roles.

All five associations form the Newcastle cricket zone and meet regularly. However, no decisions are made at zone level and the power lies in the separate associations.

Under the proposal, an eight-person Newcastle Cricket board of directors would be elected.

The board would hire a full-time general manager and game development officer to run the competitions, generate sponsorship and liaise with government.

Subcommittees for district cricket, juniors, C&S, umpires, the judiciary and representative cricket will operate but will answer to the board.

District and C&S have always operated separately and historically the relationship between the associations has been tense.

But, under their current committees, the two associations have formed a working relationship and many district clubs have also developed links with C&S outfits.

‘‘I think we all agree it’s a fairly convoluted system at the moment, having multiple associations with multiple secretaries and multiple presidents and judiciaries,’’ NDCA chairman Paul Marjoribanks said.

‘‘Everything is duplicated and triplicated, and I think we need to simplify it.’’

The NDCA, C&S and the juniors pay honorariums to committee members for work and out-of-pocket expenses.

Marjoribanks said that money, plus grants from Cricket NSW, could finance the general manager’s position.

‘‘If somebody was dedicated to just fostering cricket with sponsors, the media, our governments bodies, then it’s just a one-touch point for Newcastle cricket,’’ he said.

‘‘At the moment it’s volunteers doing the best they can outside their normal jobs.’’

Other major sporting codes in Newcastle such as rugby league, rugby union, AFL, basketball and football have long paid general managers to operate their competitions.

C&S registrar Gary Stuart is in favour of the proposal but admits there will be several obstacles to overcome, including costs and the conservatism of some board members.

Stuart said he would invite Marjoribanks to address the C&S committee’s monthly meeting on January 20 to explain the proposal in greater detail.

‘‘For C&S it will all come down to cost and what they will get out of it for an increased cost,’’ Stuart said.

‘‘That, I think, will be the stumbling block C&S-wise as 70per cent are just pub teams.

‘‘They pay their $100 a year and their pub picks up the rest.

‘‘If there’s an increase, they will be asking questions about why.’’

Three seasons ago, Newcastle Junior Cricket Association employed a part-time administrator in Sharyn Beck.

Secretary Jason McKendry said the appointment had helped boost playing numbers and created new midweek competitions.

‘‘The juniors do have a part-time administrator working for us, and while I know the senior bodies pay honorariums, at the end of the day the game is still run by volunteers,’’ McKendry said.

‘‘In the modern world realistically we’re probably not doing the best for the game in the region by not having a management structure through the zone to best look after the game.’’

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Stud industry loses stalwart Cliff Ellis

A PILLAR of the Hunter’s horse industry has died just days after his 87th birthday.
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Long-standing horse industry TAFE teacher Cliff Ellis, whose career as a horse breeder and breaker earned him the admiration of the horse industry, died on December 30.

Retiring to Scone in 2000, Mr Ellis retained his passion for all things equine after a lifetime working with horses in and around the Upper Hunter.

He was a regular in the Scone Horse Festival until 2011 and an inaugural committee man for the Hunter Valley Breeders Association.

He also served on the Scone Race Club committee and was recognised as Scone Horse Week VIP in 1999.

He also received a Hunter Valley Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association Service to Industry award in 1987.

Born in Denman, Mr Ellis undertook his high schooling by correspondence during World War II. His formal education was cut short due to his father’s inability to find help on the farm.

That need drew Mr Ellis, 14, closer to his eventual career working with horses.

He began in the industry after the family farm was sold in 1949, taking work at Holbrook as a horse breaker.

In 1953 he moved on to Oakleigh stud, where he bred 1959 Scone Cup winner Johnno, a horse that earned notoriety after swimming to safety in a major flood in the Hawkesbury.

Mr Ellis married his wife, Jenifer, in 1961 and the pair welcomed son Tim in 1966 during a stint working in Emu Vale.

During that period away from the region he bought Kingdon Farm before returning to the Hunter in 1971 as stud manager at Yarraman Park.

He eventually left that job to establish Kingdon Farm as a base for preparing yearlings for sale.

The property was also used for spelling and foaling, with stallions including Blazing Ruler and Sungazer standing at the property.

Mr Ellis’s funeral service will be held at 11am at St Luke’s Church in Scone on January 7.

HAPPY AT THE RACES: Ellis, who bred 1959 Scone Cup winner Johnno, at Scone.

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Region missing out on Chinese tourists

THE Hunter remains a drawcard for travellers from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the United States and within Australia, rather than the booming Chinese tourism market that has hit Sydney with force, new figures show.
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But that should be about to change, the region’s tourism boss says, and we should smarten up our act to prepare, particularly ahead of the planned expansion of Newcastle Airport opening the market to south-east Asia.

Figures released by Destination NSW show a 20per cent fall in the amount of money international travellers staying overnight in the Hunter spent in the year to September.

The drop, of about $35million in a year, is being blamed on the high Australian dollar and was despite the number of international tourists staying overnight growing slightly – to 115,000 or a 3.9per cent share of the NSW market.

The region’s performance was stronger on the home front, with a 6.1per cent increase in domestic overnight travellers.

The growth was above the statewide rate of 5.4per cent, but the number of domestic overnight visitors to the Hunter was only slightly higher than levels in 2001.

Overall, tourist spending in the region in 2013 totalled $1.4billion, down $110million from 2012.

The government declared this week that the state was experiencing a ‘‘Chinese tourism boom’’, with an 18per cent increase in the number of tourists from mainland China visiting NSW.

However, the figures suggest Chinese tourists are squarely focused on Sydney and few are venturing to the Hunter and other regional areas of the state.

China did not rank among the top five sources of international tourists visiting the region.

Will Creedon, chairman of the Hunter Visitor Economy, formerly Tourism Hunter, said he was confident the number of tourists from China and other Asian countries would increase in the next few years as they made repeat visits and ventured further afield.

To capitalise, the region needed to prepare by developing a greater awareness of other customs and cultures, and boosting translation services and tourist information available in other languages.

‘‘Tourism in the Hunter has long been synonymous with Europe and America,’’ he said.

‘‘However the world is shifting and we should ensure we shift with it.’’

Hunter Visitor Economy, formed earlier this year, involves the region’s 11 councils and aims to co-ordinate tourism strategies and spending between local government areas that should give the entire region a competitive advantage in attracting visitors and government funding.

Mr Creedon said the organisation would focus its efforts this year on improving the quality of digital information about the region, and targeting events, festivals and business tourism.

Hot air ballooning over Cessnock’s wine country.

post by admin | | Closed

TOPICS: It’s dog nil, duck one

OUR year is off to a perfect start because we’ve received an email with the subject line ‘‘Duck beats dog’’.
Nanjing Night Net

It’s from Col Maybury, our trusted Kurri Kurri correspondent, and it’s about a drama (pictured) that’s unfolding in his yard. A fox, reckons Col, has put a grisly end to a mother duck and some of her ducklings.

But the surviving ducklings have a fighter in their corner.

‘‘George, our father wood duck, raised the three,’’ says Col.

‘‘They are teenagers now and eat from our hands. Sophie our dog is terrified of them. Today, George savagely attacked. Score: dog nil, duck one.’’

Punitive gifting

A READER, who doesn’t wished to be named, reports that she was one of the legion of Hunter shoppers who bought gift cards this festive season (Topics, December27).

Unimpressed by a lack of recent phone calls from her son, our reader sent him a few vouchers for Christmas. But there was a catch.

‘‘I posted my son a nice Christmas card with four $100 uncharged gift cards enclosed,’’ she says.

‘‘One from Just Jeans, one from Westfield and two from Visa. I actually think this is funnier than giving someone scratched ‘scratchies’.’’

Topics wonders if she has since heard from her son.

Brother, it’s tough

JANUARY1 was a big day for the Hangover Brothers, as customers pelted the mysterious fast-food delivery crew with demands.

‘‘Is Hamilton pide shop open?’’ wrote one on the Brothers’ Facebook page. Good news: it was.

‘‘Can you bring me beer yet?’’ asked another. They couldn’t.

Another customer, perhaps overcome by the festivities, had an understandable enquiry.

‘‘Do you guys babysit?’’

Extended August

YESTERDAY, Topics gave you 14 reasons to love 2014.

We kind of ran out after six, but we got there. Today, reader John offers a reason to love August 2014.

‘‘August 2014 will be unique insofar as it will have five Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,’’ he tells us.

‘‘Now that’s a long weekend.’’

John says it won’t happen again for some 823 years.

Urban creepies

OK, what’s going on here?

First Topics hears that, thanks to fierce bushfires and record November rain, the number of snakes migrating to the suburbs has skyrocketed (Newcastle Herald, December18).

Then we find out there’s a thing called ‘‘funnel web season’’ (Herald, January1), which sounds like mango or apricot season except that instead of biting into delicious fruit, you might get bitten into by things from your nightmares.

With all the creepy-crawlies around, we’d like to hear about the worst place you’ve found a spider or snake. It might’ve been the pool, a gumboot, the glovebox …

We’ll start. The setting is Brisbane’s outskirts, 1991. A young Topics is playing with our cousin, who owns a toy car garage which has an elevator shaft. Except that when the toy elevator reaches its top floor, the door opens and out slides the head of a black snake.

We’ll never shake that image. Send your snake or spider tale to [email protected]南京夜网.au.

LAW OF THE JUNGLE: As the surviving ducks try to just get on with it, father duck George shows Sophie the dog who’s the real boss of the Maybury menagerie.