Cockatoos regain lead in National League

blair2006 Archive

The Canberra Cockatoos have regained the lead in the 2006 National League after the weekend’s events in Queensland. With the NSW Stingers weakened by the absence of several of their key women, the Cockatoos got the maximum 40 points from the weekend and go into the final series of races with a 16-point lead.

There was also a change in third place, with the Tassie Foresters’ lack of depth costing them heavily in the absence of their three WOC representatives, Hanny Allston, Grace Elson and Danielle Winslow. The Victorian Nuggets have overhauled them, and closed to within 10 points of the Stingers for second.

There was also a change in lead in the junior competition. Queensland, with the benefit of home advantage, overtook Victoria and now have a useful 15-point lead.

Dave Shepherd’s win on Sunday takes him to the lead of the individual competition. He will be very difficult to beat from here, especially as he still has a race in hand over Grant Bluett and Eric Morris, in second and third. There were no changes in the top three in the women’s competition, with all being absent. Grace Elson continues to lead by 20 points from Hanny Allston, and may hold that lead with Allston likely to contest the final World Cup rounds instead of the final National League races.

Jo Allison took out the women’s elite event today, with a comfortable four-minute win over New Zealander Rachel Smith. Anna Quayle, the last starter, was locked in a tight struggle with Smith, but fell five seconds short. In the men’s race, Ross Morrison, who was caught by Dave Shepherd early in the race, finished in second two minutes behind, with Eric Morris in third.

Simon Uppill continues to hold a comfortable junior lead despite Ryan Smyth’s win, although the junior girls standings were not changed by the weekend results, Kellie Whitfield remaining the leader. There was a significant win by a newcomer to the sport at this level, Rachael Effeney, over the more fancied Laurina Neumann and Bridget Anderson.