Champions overcome their challenges | Cranbourne Star News

By Nick Creely and David Nagel


While 2021 has offered bright moments, the challenges felt by our local sports community from the Covid-19 pandemic have once again run deep.

However, through thick and thin, the rich sports region of the South East has seen many achievements to celebrate and gives optimism that 2022 will be uninterrupted and allow the community to come together more broadly.

The major sporting history of 2021 was the Tokyo Olympics in July, where some of our local athletes really shone on the international stage.

Amy Lawton (Emerald, Hockey), Heming Hu (Dandenong, Table Tennis), Laetisha Scanlan (Berwick, Shooting), Sergei Evglevski (Berwick, Shooting), Bec Henderson (Narre Warren, Athletics) all represented the local region and their country with immense pride,

Scanlan, 31, in particular, came close to a memorable Olympic medal, finishing fourth in the women’s trap final, while Amy Lawton had a very promising first Olympic campaign for the Hockeyroos.

Although the results weren’t always up to our locals, there was so much to smile about, with Bec Henderson putting in a big effort in the running, Sergei Evglevski showed a great spirit, while table tennis champion Heming Hu was a captivating athlete to watch.

Another story that touched hearts was at the Berwick Montuna Golf Course, where people from all walks of life can come together to remember their great companion – Ash De La Rue.

His life was tragically cut short by cancer, leaving behind a loving family, including a young son.

But it was a life that will never be forgotten.

Two of De La Rue’s great pals, Justin Stanton and Jeff Bernard, organized a day of golf which they lovingly named “Flynn’s Sporting Journey” because it was meant to raise funds for the young four-year-old Flynn while ‘he progresses in his chosen endeavors, be they academic or athletic.

“Ash was just one of those guys who was actively involved in a number of areas in the community, in addition to being a construction manager at Mirvac,” Stanton said.

“He touched a lot of people in different ways, either by offering them a job or just by getting involved socially. Jeff and I decided that if we had a day of golf together we would try to raise some money to put in a trust account for Flynn that Ash’s sister Sheridan could manage.

“It was just one of those things where the local guys wanted to do something to recognize the passing of Flynn’s father, Ashley, and make it an annual event.”

With the majority of athletic competitions such as Big V basketball, State League football, hockey and winter baseball managing to start the season, Covid-19 has finally had the final say with all of the competitions canceled for 2022.

The disappointment was evident throughout the region with the cancellation of community sport, and with a feeling of déjà vu after 2020; the importance of staying connected was all the more important.

But there were still so many great achievements from clubs, leagues and local sportsmen before Covid struck again.

At the elite level, reigning A-League Men’s Premiers Melbourne City have officially moved to their new base at Casey Fields.

The local boxing scene was full in April, with the Doveton Boxing Club sending three boxers to take on Tasmania in the annual regional tournament, meeting with great success with Isaac Johnson, 13, claiming a victory, 26. Old Eden Hansted also showed tremendous signs with a win, while 38-year-old Shane Lynch fought hard in his clash.

Emerging para-athlete Jack Howell is another athlete to watch as he prepares for the Paris Paralympic Games in 2024.

Howell – a student at Kambrya College in Berwick – is a thriving para-athlete in able-bodied triathlons, with the dream of reaching the Paralympic Games.

The 17-year-old was born with a congenital left hand amputation of the wrist.

“I still have growth and development to gain in the sport, but being competitive already shows that I have the potential to compete at an elite level in the future,” he said.

The Casey Basketball Association (CBA) continued its rapid rise in the world of Victorian basketball with the announcement in September that the Cavaliers will join the Coles Express NBL1 South competition in 2022.

“We are thrilled to join NBL1 South as it is something that we have been striving to achieve over the past few years,” said Casey General Manager Tammy Bower.

“For us being in NBL1 South is the reward for our hard work – I think we’ve put a lot of effort into being the best at everything we do and joining NBL1 South is an incredible achievement for everyone involved in it. our association .

“Our players, coaches, board members, staff and volunteers have done an incredible job in bringing us to this level and we are ready to take the plunge.”

One youngster who challenged Covid-19 was Berwick teenager Isabella Rampant who pushed blockade negativity aside to crush an incredible 100 straight days of CrossFit workouts at her local gym.

The 14-year-old – better known as Izzy – took the magical milestone of her current run at Cardinia CrossFit in Pakenham in November.

“Thanks to the Covid blockages, we did zoom lessons; I had equipment at home and it became something to do every day, ”she said.

“It was a lot of fun and there was always someone else on zoom, so I also had someone to chat with. You saw them everyday, it was really good and it helped me to stay mentally sane.

And a 2021 record would not be complete without looking back on King Magnus’ victory in the Listed TAB Cranbourne Cup (1600m).

Heavy rains – which nearly ended the cup reunion at his home track – turned into a perfect storm for Cranbourne coach Robbie Griffiths after the popular local claimed his first cup success in his town native.

Griffiths, who now trains in partnership with Mathew de Kock, has been a familiar face at Cranbourne for 30 years, when a young jockey decided to dip his toes into the training ranks after the weight gain became a burden on his riding career.

Griffiths coached his first winner in 1992 – Go Raami – and won his first Group 1 in 2016 when The Quarterback won the Newmarket Handicap.

But we have the impression that the Cranbourne Cup victory ranks right next to this Group 1 in terms of importance.

“It’s big, it’s very special because winning your hometown cup, especially this year, the inaugural TAB Cranbourne Cup race, in our first year as a partnership, it’s very, very special, ”Griffiths said after the race.

“Neil Bainbridge (CEO of Cranbourne Turf Club) and the team have done a fantastic job so it’s very special.”

King Magnus, a six-year-old gelding from Magnus / Influential Miss, was only on his second heavy ground start, finishing last of 13 the only time he had gone out on heavy ground at Sandown in June of l ‘last year.

But King Magnus had been a model of consistency ever since, finishing in the top two in six of his eight starts since that poor effort at Sandown, which came after featuring a show jumping display.

Jockey Lachlan King set up King Magnus’ midfielder, but did a quick run around the turn at home to become one of the main contenders.

King Magnus dug deep into the straight, leaping with 100 meters to go to beat off the final efforts of race-favorite Our Playboy with So Si Bon back in third.

Griffiths has said King Magnus will now have a well-deserved break before possibly being the target of a huge prize in the fall.

“He’s going to take a break now, we spoke to Greg Carpenter (handicapper) the other day about his All-Star Mile nomination,” Griffiths said.

“I don’t know if he’s good enough, but he will have a lot of support, people will follow him for sure. “

The Cranbourne Cup reunion was almost abandoned before the first race, with three leading riders inspecting the track after unusual heavy rains that rocked the track to a high score of 10.

But the rains, which had caused so much damage later in the week, eventually eased to allow the program, which brought in a record $ 1.6 million, to continue.

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