The balance of power

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ENERGISED: Snowy Hydro chief executive Paul Broad believes coal seam gas exploration should have a place in Australia’s energy future.HIGHER power bills for households and commercial users alike are here to stay, the Novocastrian head of Snowy Hydro, Paul Broad, has told the Newcastle Herald.

Mr Broad has also come out against the NSW government moratorium on fracking for coal seam gas, saying it was a cheaper and cleaner source of the thermal energy that the Australian grid would still need, even with the rise of renewables and the building of Snowy 2.0 as a power grid “balancer”.

In a broad-ranging interview,Mr Broad said the outcome of Australia’s power debate had huge implications for heavy industrial users of electricity, such as Tomago Aluminium.

“In my view, Australia’s time of having a cheap energy source as a comparative advantage will be no more,” he said. “Aluminium exists where there is cheap energy. The smeltersmove around the world, and we will no longer have the source of cheap energy we once did.”

Asked why other countries were not in the same boat, Mr Broad said that Canada –a current favourite of the global aluminium industry –had “massive” amounts of hydro-electric power. Canada has about 79 gigawatts of hydro-electric capacity, or 10 times the Australian capacity of 7.8 gigawatts.

While Snowy Hydro 2.0 would add another two gigawatts of capacity to the system, Mr Broad said one of its major uses was to help “balance” the grid by providingelectricity regardless of whether the sun was shining or the wind blowing. It was also an important source of “synchronous” power, meaning it would have a major role to play in keeping the “frequency” of the alternating current or AC power grid at the required 50 cycles per second, or 50 Hertz.

Although there are widely divergent opinions among electricity experts as how to best reconfigure the power grid to make best use of renewables, it may require the building of a new direct current or DC transmission system to minimiselosses from a system that would use hundreds of electricity sources, rather than a handful of coal-fired power stations.

A study led by engineering professor Andrew Blakers at the Australian National University last year created headlines for its finding that Australia had 22,000 potential pumped hydro sites. But as Professor Blakers acknowledged to the Herald, his study put the cost of creating a power grid based on wind, solar and pumped hydro at more than $150 billion, with 40 per cent of those costs coming from the construction of a new DC transmission line running from Victoria to Queensland. While Snowy Hydro wasnot associated with the ANU study, Mr Broad said the power grid would need considerable investment to help Australia meet international obligations.

“It’s no longer about cheap electricity with no other considerations,”Mr Broad said.

“The market has moved, the facts have changed. The Australian government has signed up to the Paris Agreement, whether you like it or not, and that means we have to dramatically reduce our carbon dioxide emissions and in the power industry that means renewables and if you want a stable grid you can’t have that percentage of renewables without having a massive storage capacity and that means hydro.”

While batteries would have their place, Mr Broad referred to comments by Tomago Aluminium chief Matt Howell, who in trying to give people an idea of the amount of energy involved, points out that the world’s largest storage battery –the Tesla set-up in South Australia – could only supply the smelter’s 970 megawatt demand for eight minutes.

As Mr Howell told the ABC’s PM program last year: “For large baseload consumers, such as aluminium smelters, they need base load supply. And practically, that means thermal. It can either be coal or it can be gas.

Paul Broad

“And whilst we’re not ideologically opposed to renewables, wind and solar – they certainly have their place in many applications – but there is no aluminium smelter anywhere in the world that is powered by wind and solar. We need continuity of supply and that means thermal.”

Mr Broad, who ran Hunter Water and Sydney Water before Snowy Hydro, said the National Energy Guarantee was likely to lead to a change in power pricing, whereby wind and solar generators would have to put a “firming product” into their prices.

As an example, he said wind could be profitably generated at $40 a megawatt hour, but another $40 for a firming product –to ensure reliability under the NEG –would take the price to $80.

“Which ever way you look at it, power bills are not going to come down again for the foreseeable future,” Broad said. “I’ve always been a very vocal supporter of the Hunter and its industries, and Australia as a whole has a decision to make here. If we can’t maintain an efficient and robust power grid, then the inevitable result will be a de-industrialised society to whatever degree that takes us.”

Under the Paris agreement, Australia has to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 26 per cent from 2005 levels. The electricity market accounts for about 35 per cent of our greenhouse emissions.

The federal government’s greenhouse gas accounts show a slight fall in seasonally adjusted emissions from 2007 to 2013, with a trending increase since then.

The most recent figures, for September 2017, show overall emissions rising by 0.8 per cent in the year to September, with emissions from the National Electricity Market or NEM falling by 3.1 per cent over the same time.

On fracking, Mr Broad said there was clear evidence to show the risks could be managed to provide a cleaner source of energy than coal.

“When I ran Sydney Water we had methane coming up naturally out of the basin,” Mr Broad said. “The moratorium is killing us as far as an energy source is concerned.”

Councils’ choice�0�2on�0�2new rules�0�2for rock fisher�0�2life jackets

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COASTAL councils will be given the option whether or not to enforce mandatory use of lifejackets for rock fishers under state government measures geared towards stemming a tide of deaths in the sport.

Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant announced on Friday that councils will be allowed to choose whether they want the rules to apply in their area.Those who opt in will receive up to $30,000.

The recommendation follows a year-long trial in Randwick local government area, after which an independent evaluator presented the government with recommended options.

“The decision to adopt the law will be one for each council,” Mr Grant said. “This is consistent with other water safety measures, including signage and lifeguard services.”

Troy Grant, NSW Minister for Emergency ServicesMs Catley said the legislation was lacklustre given a further eight deaths, including one at Snapper Point and another at Bar Beach’s Susan Gilmore beach, had occurred during the Sydney-based trial.

She said the government had failed to take responsibility on the issue.

“First we had a trial, then we had an extension of the trial, and now we have the government saying councils can choose whether or not they want the legislation to apply,” she said.

“The government is passing the buck back to councils to avoid having to actually make a call.”

Both Port Stephens and Newcastle councils said they would review the detail of the act before making a decision.

“It may well be the case that Newcastle City Council will use its new powers to make life jackets mandatory for rock fishing,” Newcastle City Council chief executiveJeremy Bath said.

“We will review the legislation over the coming weeks to ensure it’s as straightforward as it sounds.”

Kevin Mack elected Albury’s mayor, Amanda Cohn as deputy

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NEW TEAM: Kevin Mack as Albury’s mayor and Amanda Cohn as deputy. Picture: MARK JESSERKevin Mack was elected Albury mayor in a 5-4 vote on Monday night, indicating he would likely resign from Wodonga police after more than 35 years of service.

Cr Mack won the two-year term thanks to his ticket members, John Stuchbery and Murray King, Labor Cr Darren Cameron and Greens Cr Amanda Cohn, who was elected deputy mayor in another 5-4 vote.

Cr Mack denied offering incumbent Cr Cohn the deputypositionfor her vote,and said she had mustered support herself, which included that of Cr King, CrCameron and Cr Stuchbery, whose votes ousted former deputy mayorDavid Thurley.

“I thought David did a wonderful job,Daviddidn’t want that support and essentially Amanda was certainly the one Ifelt (would)best represent the new group,” Cr Mack said.

Cr Cohn is Albury’s youngest deputy mayor in history at 26.

The junior doctor, who also ran as a Greens candidate for Farrer in the federal election, said her appointment“was a huge privilege and a huge opportunity”.

“I feel really honoured to have not only the support of the community as a councillor but the support of my fellow councillors as deputy mayor, and it’s a role that I’ll take really seriously,” she said.

Cr Cohn said she had already made arrangements to now work part-time at Albury Base Hospital to make way for her new role.

“I don’t think you necessarily need experience to be the deputy mayor,” she said.

“Ithink there is certainly a view from the community that we need some fresh ideas and some fresh perspective.”

She listed environmental sustainability,action on climate change, and theinclusion of diverse groups on the Border as priorities.

Cr Mack agreed with Cr Cohn’s partner and running mate Geoff Hudson’s argument that council ought to be more than “roads, rates and rubbish”, citing the NSW government’s rate of cost-shifting.

“Ithink it’s 10 per cent at last count, it’s looking at 20 per cent the next three to four years, that’s to offset the money they need to pay the residentsso there’s more things that we do as a council than people give us credit for,”he said.

But Cr Mack downplayed the notion that Albury council’s relationshipwith the NSW Government was damaged after outgoing mayor Henk van de Ven andAlbury MLAGreg Aplin had publicly lambasted each other over the level of funding allocated to the city.

“There’s no divide –this is just part and parcel of politics,” Cr Mack said.

“I don’t think friendships need to be tarnished because of aspirational ideas.”

Cr van de Ven had gone into the meeting on Monday night with an intention to remain mayor butCr Mack thanked him for leaving Albury council “in good shape”.

After the vote, Cr van de Ven shook Cr Mack’s hand and gave him a pat on the back in congratulation.

The new mayor said addressing a soft employment market and retaining the Lavington pool would be priorities.

Curtis Cheng’s widow Selina speaks about his death for the first time

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Selina Cheng dabs her eyes as she speaks about her murdered husband. Photo: Nine News Curtis Cheng and his son Alpha (left) was shot dead by a 15-year-old boy outside NSW police headquarters last year. Photo: Supplied

Mrs Cheng with her children Alpha and Zilvia at her husband’s funeral in October 2015. Photo: James Brickwood

Mrs Cheng said she felt guilt and despair after her husband’s death. Photo: James Brickwood

Flowers outside NSW Police headquarters in 2015, in tribute to Curtis Cheng. Photo: Steven Siewert

Almost a year after her husband was gunned down as he left work, Selina Cheng has spoken publicly for the first time.

Curtis Cheng, 58, a police accountant, was shot from behind as he walked away from�0�2NSW Police headquarters in Parramatta on October 2 last year.

Selina Cheng told Nine News on Monday that she felt immense guilt after the tragedy, as her husband had almost left work early that day.

Mr Cheng had offered to take his wife to see the doctor, but in the end she didn’t need to make an appointment.

She could not have known that�0�2her husband leaving work at his usual time would put him on a collision course with�0�2radicalised�0�215-year-old�0�2Farhad�0�2Jabar.

“Was it fate? … I don’t know,” Mrs Cheng said.

“I was so guilty. I was very guilty.�0�2I thought I give my husband more time at work. He wanted to look after my health, but he didn’t take off and the tragedy happened.”

In the months following her husband’s death, she constantly questioned why he went to work and didn’t come back.

“I don’t want anyone to suffer like me, as a widow,” she said.

Mrs Cheng said she fell into “total despair” after her husband was killed, and felt that she was living in darkness. Then, as she was supported by police officers, victims’ support groups and friends, a “beam of light” made its way into her life.

“Without those people I don’t think I can be able to walk on,” she said. “I know they will be beside me to continue the journey in life.”

Seconds after her husband was shot dead, his killer was also fatally shot by one of several�0�2special constables who were protecting the building.

Mrs Cheng said she has met with the man who shot Jabar, and the pair�0�2had “a big hug” and cried together when she said she understood that he wasn’t able to save her husband.

“You saved the rest, you saved more people,” she recalled.

“I remember, I really remember that moment. Both of us just burst into tears.”

As NSW Police plan to rename the Parramatta building where he died after Mr Cheng, Mrs Cheng said her “inspirational” husband will always have�0�2an impact on the lives of his family.

The inscription on his grave reads: “Your kindness, gentleness and patience will continue to guide us”.

Pub gunman denied bail

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POLICE allege a man who wielded a shortened shotgun at patrons in a pub usedthe firearm two days before the bizarre incident near Gunnedah.

Phillip Jason Winsor chose not to appear in Tamworth Local Court on Monday afternoon, and instead remainedin the police cells when his case was called.

The 43-year-old is facing 11 firearm-related charges and made no application for bail during the brief proceedings after his solicitor said he needed more time before he lodged a fresh bid for release.

“I have instructions …we need to make some further enquiries in relation to bail,” solicitor Geoff Archer told the court.

The charges stem from incidents between September 20 and September 22 in Mullaley and Gunnedah.

Detectives allege Winsor had a 410 loaded shortened shotgun in his possession on September 20 and fired it as hetravelled along the Oxley Highway at Mullaley.

Winsor was allegedly carrying the firearm with disregard for his safety and others while he was in a black Holden Commodore along the highway.Police then allege between 9 and 9.25pm on Thursday, Winsor wielded the shortened shotgun at the Post Office Hotel, and then in the beer garden.

He’s also accused of being armed with the firearm during anaggravated enter dwelling of a residence of Nombi St, Mullaley, at the same time and being armed with intent to assault a man at the location.

Fairfax Mediaunderstands the firearm has not been recovered by police andWinsor has not been charged with robbery or stealing.

Winsor has been in custody since he was arrested by Gunnedah detectives at about 1.30pm on September 23.

“He’s had a prior bail application,” Magistrate Robert Williams said, examining the court papers on Monday.

Winsor was denied bail on Saturday in an out-of-sessions bail hearing in a Tamworth court after the court found he had not shown cause why his detention was not justified.

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Waterwise project blooming

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John Dymock, Melissa Henry, Lydia Jarvis, Roz and Rod Gibson, Roger Warren, Rosemary Nicholls, Jo Snelling, Steve and Peter Jarvis tidied up the Waterwise garden at the Boorowa Hospital recently.Back in 2008, Boorowa Community Landcare Group (BCLG), with assistance from local business, started to develop a ‘Waterwise’ native garden at Boorowa Hospital.

The aim was to provide a peaceful, wheelchair friendly, outdoor setting for patients and visitors. Since 2008 an area to the east of the hospital has gradually been landscaped with native plants, a pathway with a handrail and outdoor seating.

Early in December, a group of Landcare volunteers got together to do some tidying up; weeding, pruning and spreading more mulch. BCLG would like to thank Boorowa Council for supplying the mulch for this ‘spruce up.’ Light rain prevented the group from painting the handrails and this has been postponed until a later date. BCLG also hopes to replant some areas of the garden in autumn.

This is an ongoing project and more volunteers are always welcome. For information please contact the Boorowa Community Landcare Group on 0459 681 018, by email on [email protected], or drop in and visit the Landcare Support Officer in the Boorowa Council building on Market Street.

-Boorowa Community Landcare Group

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Sport, tragedy and ‘Where is Perth?’ top Google searches in 2014

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Sport, tragedy and ‘Where is Perth?’ top Google searches in 2014 A part of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 which was blown out of the sky by a missile about Ukraine.

National Memorial service for victims of MH17 at the St Paul’s Cathedral. Photo: Eddie Jim

Perth children Evie, Mo and Otis Maslin and their grandfather Nick were killed on MH17.

Australian Federal Police officers prepare to search the crash site of MH 17. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Experts believe Australia is well equipped to handle any Ebola outbreak.

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Staff from Coastal Automotive Centre Bunbury taking on the Ice (Cement) Bucket Challenge. Pictures by Andrew Elstermann.

Staff from Coastal Automotive Centre Bunbury taking on the Ice (Cement) Bucket Challenge. Pictures by Andrew Elstermann.

Staff from Coastal Automotive Centre Bunbury taking on the Ice (Cement) Bucket Challenge. Pictures by Andrew Elstermann.

A Royal Australian Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft takes off to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, from RAAF Base Pearce north of Perth March 21, 2014. Photo: Reuters.

Royal Australian Air Force Flight Engineer, Warrant Officer Ron Day from 10 Squadron, keeps watch for any debris as he flies in an AP-3C Orion over the Southern Indian Ocean during the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force on March 20, 2014.

A family member of a passenger from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 waits for news at the Lido Hotel on March 20. Pic: Getty Images

Peaches Geldof. Picture: Getty Images

Peaches Geldof. Picture: Getty Images

Cricketer Phillip Hughes. Photo: Getty Images.

Cricketer Phillip Hughes. Photo: Getty Images.

Cricketer Phillip Hughes. Photo: Getty Images.

Actor Robin Williams. Photo: Getty Images.

Actor Robin Williams. Photo: Getty Images.

Actor Robin Williams. Photo: Getty Images.

Mario Gotze and Thomas Muller celebrate after Gotze’s winner. Photo: Getty Images

The moment: Mario Gotze, of Germany, slides the ball across the Argentine keeper to score the winner. Photo: Getty Images

The German players celebrate winning the World Cup after the final whistle. Photos: Getty Images

TweetFacebookThe World Cup action stole Australians’ hearts in 2014 as the most searched-for term on the world’s number one search engine, Google.

It was otherwise a macabre top five, however, with downed aeroplanes MH17 and MH370 seeing Malaysia Airlines at number two, and comedian Robin Williams, media personality Charlotte Dawson and cricketer Phil Hughes, all of whom died before their time this year, rounding out the top five.

MH370 and Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and campaigner Bob Geldof, and who died of a heroin overdose, were also the top two trending news searches.

Hunger Gamesstar Jennifer Lawrence was the top-searched celebrity – no doubt spurred by news of the mass leak ofnude celebrity photosby hackers, of which she was a prominent victim.

Topping the list of “Where is…?” search locations was Sochi, the little-known Russian city sparking Australian curiosity as the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

MH370 ranked second, while “Where is Perth?”, curiously, ranked third.

Either we’re stupider than we look, or people were searching for some geographical context in relation to the missing MH370 flight, which is believed to have disappeared into the Indian Ocean off the coast of Perth.

“This is where the surface analytics of Google’s top 10 trends can be misleading – we should understand that Google releases these figures as much to promote its own business,” saidDeakin University Professor of Internet Studies Matthew Allen.

Far from the internet making us stupid, Professor Allen said today people mainly used search engines to drill down further into the 24/7 news cycle and find in-depth information about current events, rather than trying to find out something they did not already know, as they might have 10 to 15 years ago.

“These are people who know things are going on and want rapid access to a whole bunch of links to news providers or Twitter streams, and the simplest way to do that is go to Google and type it in,” Professor Allen said.

The data also showed an “ecology” had grown between social media, traditional media and search, he said.

Phillip Hughes’ death was also the most popular subject of discussionon Twitterin 2014 in Australia.

“Alex from Target” – the humble young Texas retail worker whose photographwent inexplicably viral on social media- was the sixth most searched-for news item of the year.

And, after Ebola, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,also known as motor neurone disease) was the second-most searched for “What is…?” term, boosted by the viral success of the Ice Bucket Challenge campaign on social media, which was launched to raise awarenes of the condition.

WATCH: The team from theCoastal Automotive Centre Bunbury take on the Ice Bucket Challenge with a cement mixer.

Google’s Shane Treeves said the increasing use of search terms reflecting natural speech – such as “What is”, “Where is”, “Who is” and “How to” – reflected both how Google’s algorithms had evolved and also the increased use of mobile and voice search apps.

“We are seeing more downloads of the Google search app across Android and iOS – more people are using Google on smartphones and tablets, not just on their desktop or browser,” Mr Treeves said.

Other popular search terms point not to news events but changing national trends.

Paleo Recipes slipped in at number 10 of the top recipe searches – the only diet that ranked anywhere – while apparently the humble pancake is back on the menu at number one.

Crochet, knitting and meditation were among the top five “how to” searches.

And in the constantly changing world of internet trends, 2014 was the year that popular hook-up app Tinder became mainstream.

It was the top trending digital/internet slang word, and also ranked number five among “What is…?” searches.

Google’s “Trending” searches are calculated by how much a term has spiked in use compared with the previous year, the company’s Mr Treeves said.

It was the second year that micro-video app Vine, and virtual currencies Bitcoin and Dogecoin, made it into the top 10 tech search trends.

Rival search engine Bing, powered by Microsoft, did not release its top 10 overall search trends, opting instead to list popular categories.

Its most popular celebrity search was Australian model Miranda Kerr, with Robin Williams coming in at number three and Jennifer Lawrence at number five.

MH370, Ebola and MH17 topped news and current affairs searches, and the World Cup was the most searched-for sports term.

Bing’s top three tech searches were the iPhone 6, Xbox One and iPad.

Show of appreciation for Boorowa Hospital Auxiliary volunteer

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Jocelyn Scott was thanked for her generous involvement and support at the recent Boorowa Hospital Auxillary meeting.At a recent meeting of the Hospital Auxiliary, an afternoon tea was given to Jocelyn Scott in appreciation for her generous involvement and support of the Boorowa Hospital Auxiliary.

Jocelyn has been a tireless worker supporting the hospital over many years. Both Auxiliary members and hospital staff were present to thank Jocelyn, and she and Dr Scott both shared some wonderful stories.

Last Thursday the Auxiliary held their annual Christmas Party at the Ex Services Club and a delightful meal was served by Richy Didge.

On Friday the Christmas Raffle was drawn at the Bendigo Bank. First Prize was the hamper and was won by Alice Marsh. Second prize was a ham and was won by Darrel Murphy.

Meg Merriman won third prize which was a turkey roll.

The Hospital Auxiliary thank the community for their generous support in raising money to help our hospital.

-Boorowa Hospital Auxiliary

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Illawarra police pursuit ends in arrest

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An Austinmer man has been arrested after a police pursuit through the Illawarra on Tuesday night.

Wollongong police crime co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Lisa Westwood said officers were called to the Bellambi boat ramp around 9.15pm in response to a driving complaint.

Police say they found a37-year-old man from Austinmer behind the wheel of the car, whoallegedly refused to comply with police directions and drove off.

Sr Sgt Westwood said apursuit commenced, but was soon terminated due to dangerous driving by the alleged offender.

Police re-engaged the pursuit later in the evening, with at least three squad cars seen following a vehicle southbound on the Princes Motorway near Figtree around 11.30pm.

Thatchase was co-ordinated by Lake Illawarra police.

Sr Sgt Westwood said policeagain terminated the pursuitbut following investigations, a man was arrested on Wednesday morning.

He was charged with dangerous driving and a police pursuitand was set to face Port Kembla court on Wednesday.

File picture

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U/14s rep cricket side triumphant

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VICTORY: Back row coach John Delaney, Alex Slade, James Hardyman, Hudson Bird, Josh MacTaggart, Liam Simpson, Chris Black (manager) and Mitch Black. Front row Daniel Hardyman, James McLeod, Harry Clarke, Harry Croker, Hayden Essery and Anita Handono. Absent: Keegan Hughes. THE Manning’s under 14’s representative side played in the final of the Mid North Coast interdistrict competition against Macleay at the Cedar Party Reserve on Sunday December 7. 

The wicket, field and surrounds looked an absolute picture and impressed everyone who attended the days play.

Both teams and officials observed a minute silence prior to the commencement of play as a mark of respect for the iate Phillip Hughes.

Manning won the toss and elected to bat first and proceeded to produce their best and most disciplined batting performance of the rep season.

They managed to overcome a good all-round bowling and fielding performance by Macleay and batted out their allocated 50 overs to finish with seven wickets down and 226 runs on the score board.

All those who batted contributed to the team score through good partnerships. The leading run scorers were Harry Croker 72 and Harry Clarke 67 which included a fabulous third wicket partnership of 128 runs and an exceptional display of running between the wickets. Alex Slade 21 not out, Hayden Essery 13 and Mitch Black 10 not out, all continued their good form.

After lunch Manning took to the field and from the very first ball of the innings, which saw a Macleay opener dismissed, the pressure was applied and maintained until the fall of the 10th wicket.

As if to script, Manning produced their tightest bowling and fielding effort and gave just eight sundries away, largely due to Harry Clarke who captained the team with maturity above his years.

Josh MacTaggart and Harry Croker opened the attack and set the standard for all the bowlers who followed with their combined eight over spell keeping Macleay to 11 runs for the loss of 1 wicket.

Daniel Hardyman and Mitch Black followed with the ball maintaining the same pressure and it wasn’t long before the pressure showed and wickets began to fall.

Late in the middle session, injury forced Hudson Bird from the field and opened the way for our super sub fielder James Hardyman to continue his mighty fielding effort for the remainder of the innings.

The first ball of the 43rd saw the fall of the last Macleay wicket with the score on 132 and gave the Manning side a convincing victory.

Leading wicket takers were James McLeod three for 22, Josh MacTaggart two for five, Hayden Essery two for 21, Liam Simpson one for 12, Harry Croker one for 13, Harry Clarke one for 20.

The fielding effort across the field was of a high standard all afternoon with moments of absolute brilliance from Tuncurry’s Anita Handono and Hayden Essery. Harry Croker completed a fabulous all-round game when with the keeper’s gloves on in the middle session of play, took four catches and completed a stumping.

The rep side is made up of players from Taree, Wingham, Old Bar, Nabiac, Forster, Tuncurry and Gloucester.

John Delaney

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