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Sports News

Grant matches women’s take up of Grafton rugby

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Grant matches women’s take up of Grafton rugby

By Tim Howard

An explosion in the number of girls wanting to play rugby union has made the receipt of a $160,000 government grant timely for the Grafton Redmen.

New Redmen first grade coach Gary Powell said there were 20 girls playing the game in the senior ranks and he couldn’t hazard a guess at the number in the juniors.

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“It’s happening in women’s sport across all the codes,” Mr Powell said.

The Redmen, whose clubhouse at the Hay St fields in South Grafton has witnessed some spectacular scenes of on the field and off it, will be the big beneficiary of the State Government largesse.

“The money will allow us to build two change rooms, including one specifically for the girls,” Mr Powell said.

“And we’ll be able to put in some better lighting, which will also be a big plus for the club.”

NSW deputy Premier venture to Grafton last week to make the announcement of the funds for the rugby club and Grafton Hockey Association.

He noted how important it was to have the right facilities that allowed everyone to play their  sports.

“The increase in the number of women playing sports has grown exponentially in recent times,” he said.

“It’s a no-brainer that we have to provide the facilities to make sure that everyone who wants to play a sport has the facilities to allow them equal access.”

Powell said the grant would free up the club to improve the standard of rugby it’s members could produce.

“It means we can cut fees so members can stop dipping into their pockets to play rugby,” he said.

“And when they don’t have to spend time running raffles to keep the club going we can concentrate on improving our performance at training and in games.”

The Nationals candidate for Clarence, Richie Williamson was handed the opportunity to announce the grant last week.

It was particularly fitting as he had been involved with club officials during the preparation of the grand application.

“The effect of a grant like this is probably only really understood in the regional areas,” he said.

“When you play sport in the bush, you can’t just jump in the car and head down to the Homebush Olympic Stadium,” he said.

“That’s why it’s so important to keep building up the facilities for local clubs, so they can continue to provide an attractive venue for all the people who want to play the game in regional areas.”

Caption

New Grafton Rugby Union first grade coach Gary Powell was entertaining when accepting a $160,000 State Government grant for the club. Nationals candidate Richie Williamson, left and deputy Premier Paul Toole were amused.

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Lismore News

Saffin secures one-off grant for Thistles’ shower cubicles project

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Saffin secures one-off grant for Thistles’ shower cubicles project

 

LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has helped secure a one-off grant towards Lismore Thistles Soccer Club Incorporated’s project to construct and install six lockable shower cubicles at its East Lismore clubhouse.

Ms Saffin, who championed the club’s priority project, thanked NSW Minister for Sport Steve Kamper MP for approving the $15,710 (ex GST) grant under the NSW Government’s 2023-24 Project Support Program recently.

Ms Saffin said Thistles would engage a local contractor to build the six cubicles – three for home teams and three for away or visiting teams – promoting safe and diverse participation for girls and women.

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“The fact that the club owns this site rather than leases it from Lismore City Council has meant they do not qualify for infrastructure repairs or rebuilds under normal disaster funding arrangements,” Ms Saffin said.

“Thistles is a very proactive club but having its clubhouse and fields located in a low-lying area, has meant that it has had to wear the costs of fixing damage caused by the devastating floods of February and March 2022.

“This is one of those small sporting infrastructure projects which will make a big difference to players.

“I thank club officials for their innovative and inclusive approach, particularly Grants Officer Dr Pascal Scherrer.”

Lismore Thistles Soccer Club President Tina Cotroneo said: “This grant is going to make such a difference for players having their own space to shower and relax after a game in a more private environment!

“Our goal at Thistles is to provide a fun, safe and enjoyable sporting environment that encourages all members to reach their full potential.

“This grant supports our efforts to encourage inclusion, provide a safe sporting environment and foster the growing participation of women and girls in football.

“Thank you again to all involved in the process.”

 

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Local News

Rainbows Dragons have success at Kalang Regatta

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Rainbows Dragons have success at Kalang Regatta

 

By Monica Wilcox

Early May, Rainbow Dragons (Lennox Head-Ballina) successfully competed in the Kalang Regatta at Urunga, despite significant rain predicted and vivid memories of the last-minute cancellation of State Championships at Penrith, only a month earlier.

The first event was the 100m Dash, where Rainbows placed 3rd in a field of 14 clubs, followed by 2nd in the 7.5km marathon – testament to Rainbow’s capacity to be strong in both long and sprint events.

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Coach, Brooke Harris reports “Only two clubs finished the marathon less than 40 minutes, the other being another local club – Ballina Dragon Boat Racing Club.”

Then Sunday, with one eye on clouds rolling over the mountains and the other on our weather apps, Kalang regatta organisers fast tracked racing to avoid the predicted rain that thankfully didn’t eventuate. Rainbow Dragons went on to win Womens 20s boat and placed 3rd in the Womens 10 boat.

Kalang regatta is a favourite with the dragon boat community for the fierce racing rivalry and camaraderie, attracting 16 clubs from as far south as the NSW Central Coast and north to Rainbow Dragons. As well, for many dragon boat paddlers, it’s their first ever regatta experience and we all keep coming back.

 

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Alstonville News

Alstonville opens new sporting facility

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'Picklers' test the new Alstonville pickleball courts prior to Saturday's opening
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Alstonville opens new sporting facility

 

Last Saturday’s drizzling rain didn’t dampen pickleball enthusiasts’ excitement when eight new outdoor courts were officially opened at Alstonville.

The tournament-standard courts have been developed by Alstonville Tennis Club at a cost of over $350,000, and were largely financed by the NSW government, complemented by $131,000 from the Club itself.

The Club’s President, Nathan Kempshall, said, “Pickleball is emerging as an extremely popular sport Australia-wide. The Northern Rivers has an increasing number of indoor courts, but major tournaments are played outdoors, so our Club wanted a top class outdoor facility”.

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President of the NSW parliament’s Legislative Council and Northern Rivers local, Ben Franklin, cut the ribbon to officially open the courts. “Ben had keenly supported the Club’s application to the state government for funding, and we were delighted that he could officiate on the opening day,” Nathan said.

Although developed by the Club, the tennis and pickleball courts, which are adjacent Lumley Park, are a Council-owned community asset. Ballina mayor, Sharon Cadwallader, strongly commended the Club’s committee for its vision and commitment in bringing the project to fruition. Tennis NSW, and state and national pickleball associations were also represented at the opening.

Club members were even more thrilled when Tamara Smith MP announced an extra $95,000 state grant for extension of their club house at Wollongbar Sports Field’s tennis complex, which the Club also manages on behalf of Ballina Shire Council.

The Club’s membership has grown substantially in recent months, largely due to pickleballers, or ‘picklers’, joining. The new courts have already been tested by picklers from across the region, and leading local and Queensland players put on an exhibition match at the opening.

“Clubs like the Alstonville Tennis Club play a pivotal role in our regional communities, encouraging the community to be engaged and promoting a more healthy and active lifestyle,” Mr Franklin said.

The new Alstonville courts have an acrylic surface on a cushioned concrete base, and are permanently marked for pickleball. Spectator areas are well provided, and LED lighting has been installed for night play.

Pickleball originated in Washington state, USA, in 1965. It is played using solid bats (‘paddles’) and a perforated plastic ball, across a net on a court about one third the size of a tennis court. Games are played as singles or doubles. Australia already has an estimated 20,000 players, and 163 clubs are affiliated with Pickleball Australia.

 

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