The Canberra Cockatoos completed a perfect week in the National League by winning both open relays at the Australian Relay Championships.
For the first half of the men’s relay it was a two-way battle between the Cockatoos and the NSW Stingers. Gareth Candy and Jock Davis ran most of the first leg together, and Rob Preston also stayed with Grant Bluett for much of the second leg. The decisive break came shortly after the spectator control, with Bluett giving his team a lead which was never challenged thereafter. Dave Shepherd stretched the margin with the day’s fastest run to give them an easy victory. NSW finished second, ahead of the fast-finishing Southern Arrows, for whom Kerrin Rattray ran an excellent final leg.
Canberra’s second women’s team gave its first team something to think about early on, thanks to an excellent lead-off run from Sophie Barker, but Anna Quayle hauled Shannon Jones in on the second leg, and the result was never in doubt thereafter, Jo Allison giving her team an easy win. Anna Sheldon came through from fifth on the last leg to give Queensland second, whilst Kirsten Fairfax, who was a doubtful starter until the very last moment because of illness, won a sprint finish with Cath Chalmers to give Victoria third.
The home state had something to cheer about when they won W17-20E easily, whilst the junior men’s event was taken out by the Tasmanian second team, after their first team was disqualified for taking a wrong map.