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March, 2019

Vixens netball panel for Sunday

ANZ Championship, round 4:
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Adelaide Thunderbirds v Melbourne Vixens

Netball SA Stadium, Sunday, 11.48am

Head-to-head: Thunderbirds 6, Vixens 12

Last time: Vixens 48 defeated Thunderbirds 39, Melbourne, rd 2, 2015

Linda Pearce predicts:

A rematch of the slightly scrappy encounter from just two weeks ago sees the winless host the unbeaten, with no compelling reason to suggest the round-two result will be reversed. No teams have met more often in league history, but the Vixens’ advantage extends even to Adelaide, and the individual match-ups continue to serve Melbourne well. Much depends on the form and confidence of T-birds shooter Carla Borrego, who was dragged after a 13/25 effort the last time, and will again attract Geva Mentor’s strong attention. Vixens by 7.

Other matches: Sunday – Magic v Tactix (Hamilton). Monday – Swifts v Fever (Sydney), Mystics v Pulse (Auckland). Bye – Firebirds, Steel.

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Crowds in for a record-smashing pumpkin at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show

The 728-kilogram pumpkin arrives at the produce display at the Easter Show. Photo: Dallas Kilponen Workers at the produce display inspect the pumpkin that came in at 728 kilograms. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
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Northern District produce display manager Arthur Johns with the winning pumpkin. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

It’s the 728-kilogram record-breaker that so very nearly might not have been.

Australasia’s largest-ever pumpkin, an Atlantic Giant grown by Dale Oliver, slipped from a harness when it was being taken for a weigh-in back in January.

“We were just lifting it and something broke,” said the farmer from Knockrow, a village near Bangalow in northern NSW.

“We just thought ‘oh no, it’s going to be cracked or something.'”

But the mega-gourd sustained only a small gash, to be declared on Saturday the biggest pumpkin to ever grace a Sydney Royal Easter Show, which opens for its 193rd year on Thursday.

The dominant pumpkin smashes the previous 618-kilogram record, also held by Mr Oliver and set in 2013.

This year’s champion was at one stage an even heavier 743kg. “It’s lost weight because it’s just been sitting around,” Mr Oliver said, adding he had another 660kg whopper in reserve.

“I just cut the other one up last week and fed it to the cattle and it was as good as gold.”

The record-holder will take pride of place at the Great Backyard Pumpkin Challenge in the flower and garden pavilion at this year’s show, rather than among 50,000 other pieces of fruit that make up the five district exhibits at the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome.

Its absence will not be felt by Arthur Johns, the manager of the Northern District exhibit, who said the pumpkins did not have a reputation for meeting gentle ends.

“I’m never very fussy about putting them in a display for that reason,” Mr Johns said.

“They can look lovely today and overnight they blow up and when you come to work the next morning you’ve got a big mess.”

But this pumpkin might last longer than its record.

Mr Oliver said another pumpkin, believed to be about 700 kilograms, was due to be weighed in New Zealand in the next week.

“It’s going to be close,” Mr Oliver said. “We’ll see what happens.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Operation Slipper Welcome Home parade marks end of Afghanistan commitment

Chief Petty Officer Damian Tawlenko with wife Michelle and sons Cristian, 7, and Darcy, 21 months. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams Families of Defence personnel who died during Operation Slipper lay wreaths at the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams
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Members of the Royal Australian Navy march along George Street on Saturday. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams

Three tours of duty in Afghanistan have taught Chief Petty Officer Damian Pawlenko the value of family and the Australian lifestyle.

“I’ve learned I’ll never take anything for granted again,” CPO Pawlenko said at the Welcome Home parade in Sydney on Saturday, which marked the end of Operation Slipper.

He marched with the navy contingent, watched by wife Michelle and sons Cristian, 7, and Darcy, 21 months.

About 9000 army, navy and air force personnel, Australian Federal Police and Public Service employees marched through the city, taking the same route along George Street as veterans will take in five weeks to mark the Centenary of Anzac.

Operation Slipper proved to be Australia’s longest military operation, stretching from 2001 to 2014. It saw 34,500 Australians deployed to Afghanistan.

The families of the 41 Australians killed in Afghanistan during the operation were guests of honour at the ceremony.

They listened as the names of their husbands, fathers and brothers were read out, and laid wreathes at the war memorial in Hyde Park.

A further 262 Australians suffered serious injuries during Operation Slipper.

Mr Pawlenko was first deployed in 2006 on HMAS Manoora and then twice more on the ground in Afghanistan at Tarinkot, the staging base where he worked in public affairs and from which he went outside the wire.

As well as missing his family, he said conditions could be extremely uncomfortable in the height of summer.

“When you are out there you realise what a good lifestyle we have in Australia. You come home and realise that you are never going to take it for granted again.”

His thoughts were echoed by Commander Damien Scully-O’Shea, who spent more than nine months away from home in Dubai and Afghanistan.

His wife, Casey, and daughters Isla, 7 and Josie, 5, watched him march through the city.

“It was the longest time I was away from home in my 20 years in the navy,” he said.

“The worse thing about being away is missing your family. The best thing is the meaningful work.

“I think we have made a difference.”

Army Sergeant Derek Isted, 43, was deployed to Afghanistan twice, both times for seven months.

“You miss having normalcy in your life, just being able to go and watch the football on the weekend.

“But it’s a bit sad in a way it’s finishing,” he said about the end of Operation Slipper.

“It’s a bit like being a teacher and not being allowed to go in the classroom.

“But we help to make a lot of people safe.”

Vietnam veteran Tom Campbell, 70, of Campbelltown, came into the city to watch the parade, carrying a sign welcoming home those marching and thanking them for their efforts.

“We used the slogan Welcome Home which we didn’t get,” said Mr Campbell who served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970.

“We had to wait until 1987 when we organised our own Welcome Home parade.

“A lot of young soldiers and sailors have come up today and said thanks very much for welcoming them home.”

Following the march, a commemoration service was held at the Shrine of Remembrance in Hyde Park.

Treasurer Joe Hockey, representing Prime Minister Tony Abbott, told the service personnel that their role in Afghanistan had been extremely important to Australians and the people of Afghanistan.

“You have given a proud nation the ability to defend themselves and take control of their lives.

“Australians do not fight to conquer, they fight to help,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Trainer James Cummings happy with decision to steer Shamalia wide of Galaxy

James Cummings came within a whisker of changing tack for group 1 Galaxy earlier this week, but Shamalia’s co-trainer wasn’t upset with the “small fish” consolation prize of the Birthday Card Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.
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Shamalia whizzed past last year’s Golden Slipper winner Mossfun in the final furlong to win the group 3 event by two lengths.

“I did go close [to aiming her at the Galaxy], but I wasn’t going get a run,” Cummings said.

“If Kuro was struggling to get a run, then we were always going to struggle. [But] small fish make sweet eating and we came here very confident she would run well. She was ridden off the speed even though there wasn’t much speed on paper and she exploded late.”

Hugh Bowman settled Shamalia near the tail of the field and quickly wheeled her to the centre of the track in a perfect preparation for the Sapphire Stakes on the second day of The Championships.

“I was a little bit concerned with the speed map, but we didn’t go out there to reinvent the wheel,” Bowman said. Mossfun’s rider Tommy Berry said his mount was “disappointing and just didn’t let down at all”.

Scratching the itch to win

Mick Kent targeted the Epona Stakes with Scratchy Bottom and finally got the result he wanted in the group 3.

Kent had watched Epingle place in the Epona for the past two years but Craig Williams delivered Scratchy Bottom in time to beat odds-on favourite Rising Romance.

Kent, who was questioned by stewards over the improved performance of Scratchy Bottom, is looking at the big picture with his staying mare.

“She needs a mile-and-a-half and finding the right race for her has been tough,” Kent said.

“We might have a go at the Chairmans [Quality] but there are more races for her in the spring at the right sort of distance. As you saw she was very strong through the line.”

Williams thought he would run second 100 metres out until Scratchy Bottom let down into another gear.

“The more I asked, the lower she got and the harder she tried,” Williams said.

James McDonald said he felt the winner coming on the inside of Rising Romance but she couldn’t respond and backing up in the BMW for the Caulfield Cup runner-up would be in doubt.

“Disappointing. If she is going to take on a BMW field she will need to do better than that,” he said.

Buick cops a spray

One of two visiting European-based Godolphin riders for Golden Slipper Day, William Buick, copped a stern rebuke from chief steward Ray Murrihy after he slugged the jockey $400 for weighing one kilogram overweight after the Epona Stakes.

Buick said he had a “swig” of drink in between weighing out and riding in the group 3 fillies and mares race, while also crediting a saturated “pad” from his mount sweating for the gain.

He weighed out 55.4kg and returned at 56kg – a kilogram more than Entertains was supposed to carry in the race allowing for Buick’s vest allowance.

“You’re bordering on a suspension,” Murrihy reminded Buick, who was also spoken to about a similar issue on Coolmore Classic day.

“I don’t know what the score is elsewhere, but come in here and tell us how it is. Telling us your horse is sweating when it’s 22 degrees outside just won’t wash.”

Entertains finished eighth, but only two lengths from the winner Scratchy Bottom.

Quinton gets a thrill

Four-time Golden Slipper-winning jockey Ron Quinton is no stranger to success on Sydney’s signature day as a rider, but he perhaps got just as big a thrill out of Peeping’s win in the listed Sebring Stakes.

“You never forget [those Slipper wins],” Quinton said.

“From the first time I saw her I told the owner Tom Kelly, ‘this is a racehorse’. She’s come a long way in a short time.”

Quinton has placed his faith in former apprentice Sam Clipperton and the emerging senior rider gave Peeping a peach of a ride, avoiding the early scrimmage caused by Music Magnate, which was described by Murrihy as “some of the worst interference you will see in a race”, before outgunning the same horse by a neck in the drive to the finish.

“It’s a great thrill to get a winner on Slipper day, especially for Ron,” Clipperton said. After beating the boys, Peeping will return to her own sex in the PJ Bell Stakes at The Championships in a fortnight.

Punters in the dark

With much fanfare, the Australian Turf Club announced it was going to return Golden Slipper day to its former glory but it managed to leave stewards and punters in the dark for the first couple of races.

The usual replays on the replay channel following races weren’t available leaving the owners of the Epona Stakes winner Scratchy Bottom searching for their mobile phones to try relive her win.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Cricket World Cup: Glenn Maxwell’s fast scoring unprecedented in World Cups

Glenn Maxwell is scything and swatting his way into the World Cup record books.
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The batsman widely derided for his flighty approach to batting in limited-overs matches is in his most consistent period in the national team, and is generally playing without sacrificing any of his audacity.

The only time Maxwell has failed in the tournament was when he played on to his stumps for one in the Trent Boult-led rout of Australia’s batting line-up in Auckland. He was on track to notch his fifth 50-plus score in six innings but ran out of time as Australia reached the victory target of 214 against Pakistan on Friday night in Adelaide.

Maxwell’s unbeaten 44 took his tournament tally beyond 300 runs. Such a feat is unremarkable in World Cups, but the pace he has scored is truly remarkable.

He is one of five players in this tournament to have scored at least 300 runs at a strike-rate of better than a run a ball. Zimbabwe duo Sean Williams and Brendan Taylor respectively boasted a strike-rate of 109 and 106.91, while Kumar Sangakkara’s plummeted to 105.87 after he was forced to play the anchor role in Sri Lanka’s quarter-final defeat to South Africa. All three are well behind second-placed AB de Villiers with 144.29, but even the South African captain is not – yet – close to matching Maxwell’s strike rate of 183.53. De Villiers has twice achieved the feat at previous World Cups.

Before this World Cup there had only been 11 instances of players scoring 300 or more runs at better than a run a ball, with half coming in the past two tournaments, in 2011 and 2007. Two of the most significant achievements were India’s Kapil Dev scoring at 108.99 in 1983 and West Indies’ Viv Richards’ 107.41 in 1987, because they were so out of kilter with the sedate scoring rates of the time.

The record for a highest strike rate by a batsman to have scored at least 300 runs in a World Cup was India’s Virender Sehwag, who in 2011 scored 380 at a strike rate of 122.58. That record will stand only until this World Cup ends.

Maxwell was spared on five against Pakistan after Sohail Khan spilled a tough chance at third man. The chance was created by a bizarre sliced shot at the peak of Wahab Riaz’s fearsome spell. The affable all-rounder joked on Twitter it was “called the back away, look away, deliberate cut through point,” before praising the left-armer for his hostility in the spell that claimed the scalps of David Warner and Michael Clarke and created the chances from him and Shane Watson that were put down.

The form of Maxwell is vindication for the national selectors for maintaining their faith despite his form woes late last year.

MASTER BLASTERSBatsmen who have scored at least 300 runs at a strike rate of better than 100 in a World Cup

* Glenn Maxwell (Aus) – 301r at 75.25, s-r 183.53. 2015 WC. * AB de Villiers (SAf) – 417r at 83.4, s-r 144.29. 2015 WC. * Virender Sehwag (Ind) – 380r at 47.5, s-r 122.58. 2011 WC. * Sean Williams (Zim) – 339r at 67.8, s-r 109. 2015 WC. * Kapil Dev (Ind) – 303r at 60.6, s-r 108.99. 1983 WC. * AB de Villiers (SA) – 353r at 88.25, s-r 108.28. 2011 WC. * Aravinda da Silva (SL) – 448r at 89.6, s-r 107.69. 1996 WC. * Viv Richards (WI) – 391r at 65.16, s-r 107.41. 1987 WC. * Brendan Taylor (Zim) – 433r at 72.16, s-r 106.91. 2015 WC. * Kumar Sangakkara (SL) – 541r at 108.2, s-r 105.87. 2015 WC. * Adam Gilchrist (Aus) – 408r at 40.8, s-r 105.42. 2003 WC. * Graeme Smith (SAf) – 443r at 104.48, s-r 104.48. 2007 WC. * Adam Gilchrist (Aus) – 453r at 45.3, s-r 103.89. 2007 WC. * Matthew Hayden (Aus) – 659r at 73.22, s-r 101.07. 2007 WC. * AB de Villiers (SAf) – 372r at 37.2, s-r 100.81. 2007 WC. * Herschelle Gibbs (SAf) – 384r at 96, s-r 100.78. 2003 WC.

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