Yorkshire duo to aid Gunnedah United’s 2015 campaign

Gunnedah United’s Andy Cygan and Michael Cooke.Englishmen Andy Cygan and Michael Cooke have more than just their origins in common.
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Not only do both hail from Yorkshire county in northern England, the Gunnedah United pair is steadfast in their desire to give the Northern Inland Premier League (NIPL) a real shake in 2015.

“We’re quietly confident,” Cygan said.

The formidable striker who scored 18 goals from 16 matches last season for United, has been quick to gain the respect of his clubmates and coach in his short time with the club.

“He’s been our best signing in probably 15 years,” coach Richard Grant said.

The key club figure is also taking on more responsibility with United this season.

The assistance comes as a welcome reprieve for coach Grant.

“Andy has been great… chasing players, following them up… he puts a different spin on things,” he said.

“I think they’ve really enjoyed having a different melon and different voice to run around to.”

The captain’s position remains vacant but already Cygan was a strong contender, Grant added.

“I’ll have a yarn with him about it and if he wants it, it’s there,” he said.

Fellow countryman, Cooke, has been another good find for United.

Last year the newly engaged midfielder ran with cross-town rivals, the Hawks.

This season he’s sided with United, much to the delight of his new coach.

“I rated him last year against us so he’ll be a huge plus for us this season,” Grant said.

The new compressed 2015 premier league competition also looks to be a winner for United.

“We’ve got more home games than we’ve ever had,” he said.

United’s Blake Manks (right) keeps a close watch during club training earlier this week.

Not only has the NIPL board granted them one less away trip to Inverell, they needn’t worry about the biting cold trips to Guyra either after the club withdrew from the 2015 competition.

The new-look roster means from 18 games, United will make only two away trips to Armidale, three to Tamworth and one each to Narrabri and Moree.

“That’s very manageable,” he said, “and we’re thankful to the board for making things easier.”

The club’s first test will come at this weekend’s Acropolis Cup carnival in Armidale.

First established in the Northern Inland region in 1956, the tournament waned in recent years until it was re-established last season.

Tamworth has been the dominant team over the competition’s 59-year history, winning 13 championships. Meanwhile Gunnedah has won eight and Armidale, six.

This year’s tournament teams include Northern Tablelands (Inverell, Guyra, Glen Innes), Kamilaroi (Wee Waa, Narrabri, Moree), school and university sides from Armidale, as well as the pick of the crop from Tamworth and Armidale club sides.

With limited troops on the ground it’s a tough ask for United and Grant was realistic about their chances facing some heavily stacked Northern Inland teams.

“It’s a warm-up for us; the chance to try out new players in positions, different combinations,” he said.

“It’s better than a trial but it will be a hard slog for us on Sunday (day two of the carnival).”

This weekend’s Cup divisions include Open, Under 19 and women.

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Comfortable Californian bungalow – 68 Barkly Street, Warrnambool

BEAUTIFUL inside and out, this Californian bungalow is a comfortable three-bedroom family house in central Warrnambool.
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Close to the beach and the CBD, the property has an enclosed front yard with a high fence that offers privacy.

Upon entry the home has timber floorboards and a wide entrance hall.

On the left the carpeted master bedroom includes a walk-in robe and a lovely tiled en suite with a corner shower, toilet and vanity. Two other bedrooms include built-in robes and the family bathroom is filled with natural light and includes a shower, bath and vanity.

There is a separate toilet and plenty of storage in the hall. The stunning open-plan living, dining and kitchen area is bright and opens up to the great outdoor entertaining area. The designer-look kitchen has a dishwasher, oven and gas hotplates.

There is also a split-system airconditioner. Sliding doors open to the undercover patio area, perfect for alfresco dining.

Outside, the lovely private gardens include a vegetable patch, established roses and a fully enclosed backyard.

There is a double garage with workshop space.

This is a well maintained home in a desirable location.

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Cahill and Dantains Spirit combine for Country Championship qualifier

Mathew Cahill onboard Dantains Spirit last October cruising to a Maiden Plate win in Wagga. The pair have won two races together since and will look to do so again on Sunday in the $100,000 Country Championships Qualifier at the Murrumbidgee Turf Club.Cowra jockey Mathew Cahill will combine with Wagga trainer Chris Heywood and promising three-year-old Dantains Spirit in the $100,000 Country Championships Qualifier in Wagga on Sunday.
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The bay filly by I Am Invincible will be one of the favourites among punters with her form suggesting she will be a contender to qualify for the $300,000 Country Championships Final to be run at Randwick on April 4.

Heywood will have four runners in the day’s feature race with Cahill steering what will be the local trainers best chance, Dantains Spirit.

The in-form filly has four wins from her last six starts. Cahill was onboard for three of those each time at the Murrumbidgee Turf Club in Wagga.

The most recent was a Benchmark 55 Handicap (1000m) on February 9 while the former were a Class One Handicap (1200m) and Maiden Plate (1000m) win last October.

The real test for Dantains Spirit, in Sunday’s rich qualifier, will be the increased race length of 1400m which is something she wont be used to.

Heywood’s galloper is also backing up from her last start win on Sunday over 900m in Corowa.

Should Dantains Spirit score, the three-year-old would collect the first prize $57,500 and also a $20,000 BOBS bonus, collectively a massive payday for the filly which would easily double her career prize-money.

As well as the Country Championship qualifier Cowra jockey Mathew Cahill will feature in the Maiden Plate (1200m) race two with By Virtue and in race five, a Benchmark 55 Handicap race, with Home Game. Both are trained by Frank Cleary.

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SES recruitment drive

IF you’ve ever considered joining the state’s most widely used volunteer emergency service, mark next Wednesday in the diary.
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Locals interested in joining the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) are invited to recruitment information sessions from 7.30pm to 8.30pm next Wednesday night.

Sessions will be held at SES headquarters across the Mid-North Coast including Port Macquarie, Wauchope and Camden Haven.

The aim is to provide people with an overview of what is involved in being a volunteer.

The night will include a tour of the unit’s facilities, a short presentation and question and answer session and brief video on the role of the NSW SES as the combat agency for floods, storms and tsunami.

Potential members will also have the chance to observe some of the unit’s regular training activities.

NSW SES region controller Stephen Hart said the organisation hopes to “increase people’s awareness of the benefits of joining the SES”.

He said benefits included “accessing high-quality, accredited training that is readily transferrable to workplace situations, the sense of camaraderie and friendship between SES members and the satisfaction of helping the local community in times of severe weather and other emergencies”.

Volunteer opportunities exist for people of all ages and backgrounds.

“Our existing members come from a wide range of age groups and different walks of life,” Mr Hart said. “We have a job for just about everyone at the SES, ranging from field work, administration, communications, community education, marketing, media, logistics, research and planning.

“Volunteering for the SES also provides an excellent opportunity for young people thinking about a career in emergency services, as SES volunteers often work closely with other agencies such as the Police, Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue and Ambulance Service.”

Mr Hart said 2014 was another busy year for SES crews on the Mid North Coast, with members assisting police in land searches, responding to major storms events, road crashes and flood rescues.

In total, SES volunteers contributed more than 46,000 hours of volunteer time through regular training, community education and in responding to emergency requests for assistance.

People wishing to attend the recruitment information sessions are encouraged to phone 6592 5800 or email [email protected]

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Everyone a friend for dancer’s Dubbo performance

Joseph Simons is bringing his one-man show First Things First to Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre on March 21.Photo: FILEDANCER Joseph Simons is “hosting a party for all his friends” in the foyer of Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre (DRTCC) before he steps on stage to perform his one-man show on Saturday, March 21.
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His definition of “friends” includes people in the audience he has never met.

They may be few and far between given the young man’s connections to the city and his penchant for staying in touch.

Born and bred at Dubbo, Joseph returns to the city later this month to perform First Things First.

A three-month tour of the show kicked off in Melbourne last weekend (March 7 and 8).

Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Queensland audiences will get to see “technically virtuosic dance and hilarious physical theatre”.

Joseph is conducting workshops as he performs across four states.

A master class in contemporary techniques has been set down for March 20 at DRTCC from 4pm.

First Things First ticket holders can participate for free if they are over the age of 12.

Joseph took his first career steps after graduating from Dubbo Ballet Studio where he still mentors and teaches young dancers.

He studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts before joining Australian dance companies performing at home and overseas.

An enthusiastic choreographer from the age of nine, Joseph travelled to Germany to hone his skills after winning the Tanja Liedtke Fellowship in 2013.

Berlin and New York audiences have already seen and applauded First Things First. The pre-show party will give audience members a chance to chat with Joseph and each another.

For more information about his career go to josephsimonsdance南京夜网.

Tickets to the 8pm show can be purchased at the DRTCC box office by calling 68014378 or at www.drtcc南京夜网.au.

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