Captain Smith leaves it too late

Another Test win as captain went begging for Steve Smith. Picture: GETTY IMAGESCRICKET

Australia reclaimed the Border-Gavaskar trophy, as a hostile Boxing Day Test with India ended in a draw.

Needing only a draw to win the series, Steve Smith declared at lunch on day five and asked the tourists to attempt a record run-chase of 384 runs in two sessions at the MCG.

India slumped to 3-19 in reply and the four-Test series was thus decided.

The victory India needed to keep the series alive, which would have set a new mark for successful Test run-chases at the MCG, was never likely.

It became a question of a draw or Australian victory, but the tourists held their nerve to be 6-174 on Tuesday when the captains agreed to end the game with four overs remaining.

Smith was content with his “quite late” declaration at 9-318.

“They have some pretty powerful batters in the shed and I didn’t want to give them a sniff,” Smith said in the post-match ceremony, where Ryan Harris was named man of the match for his six wickets, and 74 in the first innings.

“It was all about the series.”

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane did the bulk of the stonewalling, their fourth-wicket stand lasting 26 overs and 85 runs.

Kohli fell the first ball after tea for 54, while a superb ball from Mitchell Johnson turned to kiss the top of off stump to dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara.

The stage was set for a thrilling finish when a mistimed pull ended Rahane’s 199 minutes of resistance, with the hosts needing four wickets in 15 overs.

Edges popped up here and there in the final hour, but MS Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin were unbeaten at stumps.

“In my mind, Australia batted too long,” commentator Shane Warne said.

The hosts will curse their fielding on days three and five, when too many chances went begging.

India’s initial collapse on Tuesday could easily have been worse, with Kohli almost run out on four after a mix-up with Murali Vijay in the fifth over.

David Warner’s return was wide of Brad Haddin, prompting another heated exchange between Kohli and the wicketkeeper.

Chris Rogers dropped a catch at point when Rahane was on 22 and lashed at a wide ball from Johnson.

Nathan Lyon fumbled a return at the bowler’s end just before tea, with replays suggesting Kohli could have been run out.

Kohli and Rahane both got off the mark with pulled boundaries, refusing to curb their natural aggression after Shikhar Dhawan, debutant KL Rahul and Vijay all fell cheaply.

Kohli, who has had numerous clashes with Australia throughout the series, was booed to the crease by some sections of the MCG crowd.

Earlier Shaun Marsh was run out on 99, falling centimetres short of his first Test century on home soil.

Two rain delays didn’t help the situation, but neither side had much interest in pushing the game along during a stop-start morning session. AAP

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Farewell to a mum ‘larger than life’

Janice Fleming.

In the early hours of December 25 Janice Fleming was flooded with messages of love from those she loved and those who loved her.

By 9.30am, however, the much-loved mother, wife, friend and teacher had died from a suspected heart attack aged just 53 years.

Now, a week on, the Fleming family have gathered to pay tribute to the woman they adored.

“Losing mum has been a huge shock,” Janice’s

eldest daughter Kate, 21, said.

“I had messaged her early on Christmas morning, she replied and about two hours later dad called to say she had died, it was all so sudden.”

Mrs Fleming, husband Bob and their young family – Michael, 24, Kate, 21, Patrick, 18, Ellen, 15 and Brigid, 12 – have been a part of the Maitland community for more than 20 years.

During this time Mrs Fleming – also grandmother to Caleb, 1 – taught at Telarah, Rutherford and Milbrodale public schools and was assistant principal of Singleton Heights Public School at the time of her death.

“Anything mum could do for someone she would do it. She never worried about herself and didn’t sleep a lot because she was always organising things for other people,” Michael said.

“Losing her has been very rough, but we’re all right.”

Mrs Fleming was also heavily involved with local football and soccer clubs and a respected member of the Anglican Parish of Rutherford/Telarah, where she established chess and craft groups for young parishioners.

“Mum was larger than life and she was heavily involved in absolutely everything and she has left us with an amazing support system,” Kate said.

“I knew mum was well-known in the community, but I didn’t realise just how many people loved her.”

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Robertson Burrawang fall short in Tamworth


Southern Highlands side Robertson Burrawang have missed out on the NSW Country Shield after losing Tuesday’s final to Clarence River in Tamworth.

Robertson Burrawang beat Tamworth Colts in Monday’s semi-final.

In the final, Clarence River recovered from 2-22 to post 6-215 led by a fine 72 from Matt Pigg.

Nathan Ring took 3-25 for Robertson, who suffered a blow with their skipper and best batsman Nathan Wright dislocated his shoulder attempting a catch late in Clarence River’s innings.

Robertson struggled in the run chase and were bowled for 150 in 41 overs.

Mitchell Wright (37) top-scored, while Brayden Pardoe took 3-17 and man-of-the-match Pigg 2-16.

On Monday, South Coast side The Rail claimed the NSW Country Plate with a 102-run victory over defending champions Cootamundra in the final.

The Rail are the first to win the Country Plate twice after taking it in 2003-04.

Lake Illawarra’s bid to make the SCG Country Cup final ended with Sunday’s quarter-final loss to Coffs Harbour at Port Kembla.

Newcastle sides Hamilton-Wickham and Merewether won through to the SCG final on January 18.

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Maitland drivers on best behaviour

SO FAR, SO GOOD: Maitland drivers have so far bucked the state trend of bad driving this holiday season.Maitland drivers have so far completely bucked the state trend of driver behaviour after 11 days of the state’s holiday road safety operation.

While motorists in the Central Hunter area have been on their best behaviour, police have been left stunned at the continued flouting of road rules and risk-taking of drivers and riders across NSW.

After day 11 of Operation Safe Arrival, speeding offences were down 43 per cent in the Maitland area and drink-driving arrests down by almost half compared to the same day of the operation last year.

Other offences were down by almost 20 per cent.

Northern Region trafficoperations Sergeant Steve Rudd said the results were a mix of good driver behaviour and a strongpolice presence.

“People are obviously doing the right thing,” he said.

“We’ve still had no recorded fatalities for that area and people are obviously obeying requests from police to slow down and arrive at their destination safely.

“Central Hunter has approximately 15 vehicles and all of those are on the roads in the busy morning and afternoon periods as well.”

Elsewhere in NSW, speeding drivers and fatal crashes had left Highway Patrol officers scratching their heads.

About 6am yesterday an 18-year-old man died near Wagga Wagga after a car hit a tree, which brought the state’s road toll to six.

NSW traffic and highway patrol commander Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said it was disappointing to see safety messages were not getting through to all drivers.

“This is why traffic and highway patrol officers are on our roads to detect and prosecute such selfish driver behaviour and protect other road users,” he said.

Operation Safe Arrival:Central Hunter statistics for day 11Speeding offences:2014 – 380, 2013 – 883, Down 43 per cent

Drink-driving offences: 2014 -7, 2013 -13,Down 46 per cent

Seatbelt offences:2014 – 20, 2013 – 20Static

Other offences:2014 – 421, 2013 – 519, Down 19 per cent

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Cemetery walk honours young lives lost in war

EDWIN Dale and Harold Barton were only 20 when they died within a fortnight of each other at Gallipoli, thousands of kilometres from their homes in Warrnambool.

Their names are on the Lone Pine memorial wall in Turkey, but their bodies never made it back home.

Ray Welsford, from the Warrnambool Family History Group, inspects the headstone of Edwin John Dale who was killed at Gallipoli, and will be featured as part of the group’s cemetery walks. 141229DW10 Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

Private Edwin John Dale barely made it ashore, dying during the initial landing on April 25-29, 1915, while Private Harold Eric Getting Barton was one of the first western Victorian soldiers killed in the Gallipoli battle on May 8 and was buried at sea.

Their families back in Warrnambool would have received the tragic news in an official letter from the Defence office, leaving them mourning the losses and unable to bury their loved ones.

The young soldiers are mentioned in family headstone inscriptions in the Warrnambool cemetery.

Other families did the same to recognise the sacrifices of sons who had left their home districts to serve king and country in a war that would be the bloodiest in history.

It’s a unique link to the upcoming centenary of the Gallipoli landings.

This weekend the public will be given an insight into names inscribed on headstones during cemetery walks carried out by the Warrnambool Family History Group.

More than 30 graves in the Church of England, Presbyterian and Catholic sections of the cemetery have been researched to identify former soldiers.

Work on the Wesleyan (Methodist) and independent sections is continuing.

History group secretary and research officer Ray Welsford said the guided walks starting at 10.30am this Saturday from the rotunda would visit a selection of grave sites and include information on the life, service, death and overseas burials of the servicemen along with details on family members in the graves.

“The only way to find these graves was to systematically walk every row examining every inscription,” Mr Welsford said.

For the Dale family the loss of Edwin would have hit hard. He was the youngest of six children born to William and Agnes Dale and was a plumber by trade.

The Red Cross report said his equipment bearing blood stains was found but there were no signs of his body and nothing was heard of him afterwards.

Harold Barton’s mother Frieda died when he was only two years old while his father William lived to 84.

Other cemetery walks are: January 4, 2pm; January 10, 2pm; January 11, 6pm; January 14, 6pm; January 26, 2pm. A $5 donation will be requested to help meet the group’s costs.

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Eddy a strong chance to snare gift double

Hot chance: Matthew Eddy (pink) is in flying form ahead of this week’s Maryborough and Daylesford gifts. picture: Getty ImagesMATTHEW Eddy goes into the Maryborough and Daylesford gifts as a hot shot to complete the double.

The Melbourne sprinter is fresh from a third in the rich Bay Sheffield Gift, in Adelaide, on Sunday.

He ran 12.505 seconds in chasing home backmarker John Jakeman (12.476) and David Gross (12.494). Eddy is already a Maryborough Gift winner.

The six-time Stawell Gift semi-finalist saluted at Princes Park in 2012 and is ready to claim another title.

Eddy has what looks to be a generous mark of 8.5 metres in the fourth of seven 120m heats at Maryborough’s New Year’s Day Highland Gathering on Thursday.

He meets another perennial big-stage performer, Doug Greenough (8m), while Lee Forrest is the backmarker on 3.5m.

Eddy (7m) and Greenough (6.45m) also line up in the same heat in Saturday’s Daylesford Gift, run over the shorter 100m at Cricket Willow, Shepherd’s Flat.

They clash in the third of eight heats.

Eddy and Greenough have also drawn scratchmarker Matt Davies in arguably the toughest gift preliminary of theday.

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Appy ending for couple stranded in Grampians

A COUPLE who became stranded on a remote track in the Grampians were rescued on Monday night using a mobile phone application.

Police advised the pair to download the navigational app after they could not determine their location.

The man and woman had called triple-0 around 6.30pm, after they became stranded on Carter’s Track between Mt Difficult Road and Roses Gap Road.

The couple, from Sydney, had been driving along the track in a rented four-wheel-drive when they became stuck due to the conditions.

The track is usually only accessed by experienced off-road drivers.

Stawell police made contact with the pair but were initially unable to establish their location.

The members then instructed the couple to download a navigation application to their mobile phone.

The man followed the instructions, took a screen shot of the co-ordinates and emailed it through to police.

Police were then able to locate the couple a short time later.

The 56-year-old man and 43-year-old woman were located safe and well. They did not suffer any injuries.

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Nod for major Bridgewater Bay facilities revamp

BRIDGEWATER Bay’s popular cafe, surf club and amenities block could be amalgamated into one building under a long-term vision for the area.

It is one of the recommendations in a new master plan for the foreshore adopted by Glenelg Shire Council after a public consultation period.

Improved safety for cyclists is one of the aims of a new master plan for the Bridgewater Bay area. Photo: Rob Gunstone

Other projects include improving beach access, car parking bays and the boat ramp and creating a new foreshore promenade, picnic areas, paths, pedestrian crossing points and designated bike lanes.

The shire will now apply for government funding to begin work on the various projects.

Bridgewater Bay is one of the shire’s main tourist spots and was recently described by best-selling travel guide publisher Lonely Planet as “perhaps one of Australia’s finest stretches of white-sand surf beach”.

In the master plan, consultants Loone Town Planning say their aim is to strike a balance between protecting environmental values and ensuring the coastal area is available for future generations to enjoy.

Issues such as dune and foreshore erosion, the loss of native plants, a lack of formal paths and fragmented structure of the area were raised during the design phase.

The master plan proposes to make Bridgewater Road and the foreshore reserve a more pedestrian-friendly environment and safer for all users including bicycles, cars, buses and recreational vehicles.

“Reinstating the foreshore reserve is necessary to halt erosion, improve the buffers to coastal buildings and to prevent the continued erosion of the foreshore,” the plan states.

The consultants say the wide, sandy and stable beach provides space to reclaim the eroded foreshore and to repair the dunes to their historic profiles.

In the long term, only one facility will be needed on the foreshore to accommodate the three existing buildings, maximising the use of limited space on the reserve and allowing for better design of car parks and entrances, the plan suggests.

“The individual facilities alone struggle to provide all the services demanded … the surf lifesaving club (SLSC) has a need for additional change rooms now and this should be considered anticipating the long-term future consolidation of facilities.”

The plan recommends the council consider the future amalgamation of the buildings into the SLSC, creating new storage areas, public toilets with change rooms and a Bridgewater cafe.

The plan also calls for the council to investigate using the foreshore as a Neighbourhood Safer Place during a fire emergency and for dog and horse owners to use the beach on a year-round basis, but with restrictions during summer.

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Payne opts for Burrumbeet races

BALLARAT trainer Andrew Payne has chosen to take Pennon to the $15,000 Petrogas Regional Burrumbeet Cup, 1800m, on New Year’sDay.

A four-time country cups winner since arriving from New Zealand, Pennon will carry the top weight of 60 kilograms.

Hometown jockey Tillie Neve will take the ride.

Payne looked at Flemington and Murtoa as alternatives, but chose to make the shortest trip.

He will saddle up three runners at Burrumbeet, with bridesmaid Bank Note in the T.B White and Sons Maiden, 1350m, looking to end a run of three consecutive seconds, and Going Home facing just two rivals in the Eureka Concrete Maiden, 1800m.

The Cup has attracted nine starters, with Pennon one of four from Ballarat district stables.

Terry Kelly has accepted with Deduct, Glen and Barry James with Asset Hound, and Charlie Quick with Saintly Manner.

Kelly and Barry James are past winners of the Cup – Kelly with Skalaad in 2007, and James with Nimble Man in 1990 and Sylvan Heights in 2001.

Saintly Manner will be Quick’s first Burrumbeet Cup runner.

He had only his second win as a trainer this year with Regaliti.

Captain Fancypantz is the class factor.

While the six-year-old did finish well back in his latest assignment, it was in the much stronger Werribee Cup, 2000m.

Leading into that outing, he had finished a close up third to Alyana, at MooneeValley.

Going back earlier in the year, Captain Fancypantz did win the Pakenham Cup, 1750m, and followed that up with fours in the Kilmore and Yarra Valley cups for Cranbourne trainer Cameron Templeton.

Burrumbeet Park and Windermere Racing Club will have seven races on Thursday, with the first event at1.20pm.

The Cup has been programmed as the last race at 5.30pm.

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1-008 Pennon (1) M.Neve 60kg

2-300 Captain Fancypantz (9) W.J.Egan 59kg

3-078 Loukoumi (8) N Rose 55kg

4-063 Scaredymac (2) B.Thornton (a3) 55kg

5-154 Asset Hound (4) B.Stockdale (a3) 55kg

6-192 A Cool Lago (5) B.Carlile (a1.5) 55kg

7-057 Big Brom (3) N.Stanley 55kg

8-160 Deduct (7) 55kg

9-551 Saintly Manner (6) 55kg

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Energy jobs switched off

HUNDREDS of local Essential Energy workers are enduring a difficult holiday period as they anxiously await news on whether they will have jobs next year.

Essential Energy claims 1500 jobs across regional NSW are under threat from the Australian Energy Regulator’s move to cap the revenue collected from customers.

The energy distributor is seeking to recover $5561 million between 2015-19, but the AER in its recently released draft determination wants to limit that to $3678 million.

“As a result, based on estimated energy use, we expect Essential Energy’s average residential customer’s annual bill to fall by $346 in 2015-16,” the AER report stated.

While that might be welcome relieffor people struggling to pay their power bills, a local Essential Energy employee said it would have disastrousconsequences.

The worker, who did not wish to be named, said customers could not expect the same level of service if Essential Energy had to slash its capital and operating expenditure.

“The purse strings will have to be tightened, including overtime, so when a powerline falls down, do we go out to fix it or leave it until the next morning?” he said.

“Given the price customers pay for power at the moment through the retailer, they should expect the power to be on.”

The man said Essential Energy had hundreds of employees across the New England and North West who faced uncertain futures.

“There are some people who will be able to sleep at night knowing they have a future there,” he said.

“But for others on the frontline, which the AER will definitely be impacting on, it’s difficult.”

Essential Energy chief operating officer Gary Humphreys said the provider had already shed 680 workers through “natural attrition” and voluntary redundancies since 2012.

“The AER’s draft determination implies a reduction of around 40 per cent of Essential Energy’s total workforce, or 1503 jobs, with concern for the 290 apprentices currently in training,” he said.

“Such cuts are not practical, possible or legal. The next few months will be challenging for all our employees as we work through the realities of the AER’s determination.”

Essential Energy will respond to the report in late January.

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