Carnival answers boat questions
By Jamie Brown
IT WAS supposed to be the grudge match of the year, with North Coast branch surf boat rowers settling an undecided result.
As it turned out, the senior surf lifesaving carnival at Cudgen Headland yesterday proved a boost to Byron's reserve crew and showed Ballina's A crew that Cudgen Head-land still have plenty in their tank.
The week before, at Coffs Harbour, reserve grade boat crews from Brunswick, Byron, Evans Head and Yamba were all knocked out of the tough Coffs Craft Carnival competition in the same quarter-final round.
Ballina's A-grade crew were also knocked out in their quarter-final at Coffs Harbour, while in the masters Cudgen claimed second ahead of Evans Head-Casino.
The carnival yesterday marked an opportunity to settle unfinished business among the reserve crews and confirm ranking in the masters division. But two clubs failed to show: Yamba and Evans Head-Casino.
Kingscliff's carnival is usually held closer to Christmas and this year's early mark has proved problematic for those clubs, with crews pre-booked for other events.
As it turned out conditions suited boat crews, with solid easterly sets, albeit intermittent, on a smooth sea.
Cudgen proved they have lost none of their flair from last year, when they took out the North Coast Boat Series, taking out the Open boat race, with a committed Ballina second and Brunswick third.
In reserve competition, Byron stole the show ahead of Brunswick and Ballina.
In masters division, visiting Cool-angatta proved unbeatable with Cudgen second and Ballina third.
Ballina boat captain Brad Lyons had looked forward to the grudge match, saying the early season competitions were proving invaluable to his crew, which aims to peak at the national competition in Western Australia next March.
However, with key crews missing from yesterday's action, rowers may have to wait until the branch championships in mid February at Byron Bay to see which boats are top form.
Cudgen on top
CUDGEN Headland club ran away with a clear lead on points after the senior carnival on its home beach.
Cudgen claimed a total of 407 points, with competitive Lennox Head second on 253 points and Byron Bay third on 170.