RIDING HIGH: Byron Bay’s Ela Heiniger competes in a board event at Forster. Heiniger has been named captain of the NSW youth interstate team.
RIDING HIGH: Byron Bay’s Ela Heiniger competes in a board event at Forster. Heiniger has been named captain of the NSW youth interstate team.

FNC the top Country team at Interbranch Carnival

FAR North Coast has secured surf lifesaving's Country Cup for a third straight year.

It came after two days of intense competition in the 2015 Interbranch Carnival held at Cape Hawke Beach, Forster.

While Sydney Northern Beaches claimed overall honours, defending the title they regained last year ahead of Sydney and Central Coast, the Far North Coast branch continued to narrow the gap on its metropolitan rivals by finishing a credible fifth.

Although his focus is more on a blossoming coaching career these days, veteran open competitor Scott McCartney still enjoys having a hit-out at the Interbranch.

"The reason I'm still going around is mainly to keep the culture in the sport and if I can help the younger athletes with their racing then that's what I'm here for," he said.

"We have a good team and we have a lot of support from the management group as well."

 

TEAM SPIRIT: Josh Quinn from Cudgen Headland in action on Cape Hawke Beach at the weekend.
TEAM SPIRIT: Josh Quinn from Cudgen Headland in action on Cape Hawke Beach at the weekend.

He said the great unknown this year was the changes to the competition format with the "wildcard" system, whereby you earned double points for one nominated event per branch, turning up some interesting strategies.

Branch beach coach Adam Mills was pleased with the performance of his charges on the sand, believing it would give them confidence ahead of the NSW Country Championships carnival in February.

"We had some really good results at the weekend," he said yesterday.

"We had a mix of first and seconds and also very consistent thirds and fourths on the beach while we've had some surprise results in the water, which is great to see."

Under-17 competitor Josh Quinn (Cudgen-Headland) said the spirit in the FNC team made for an enjoyable championships.

 

"The team events on the final day make Interbranch much more exciting with the team spirit at a high throughout the whole day," Quinn said.

"Being the best country team is always a goal of ours coming into this weekend and I think that's three years in a row now, so we're very happy."

There was more joy for two Far North Coast athletes after the carnival.

Byron Bay's Ela Heiniger was named captain of the NSW youth interstate team, while her club mate Jy Timperley was named in the male youth team.

Both athletes will go into camp with the state side next month before contesting the 2016 Interstate Championships in Victoria.

 

FINAL POINTSCORE

Northern Beaches 1242

Sydney 1172

Central Coast 1106

Hunter 1014

Far North Coast 884

Illawarra 809

North Coast 626

South Coast 595

Mid North Coast 526

Far South Coast 438

Lower North Coast 191



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