Illawarra Sand Rats Sensation

Helensburgh-Stanwell Park Surf Life Saving Club’s success story continued in the junior ranks at the three-day NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships staged at Umina and Ocean beaches on the Central Coast.

Beach coach Daniel Robberds, a former competitor, is credited with the club’s outstanding ascent in the last three years, and ability to draw on the pick of local talent.

Brock Scrivener has been a runaway nippers sensation for many years. He switched clubs this season to be part of the Illawarra’s surf life saving beach team, known as the ‘sand rats’.

On the opening day of competition in driving rain and with the wind blowing onshore he won his favourite event, the Under 14 boys beach flags. The win was his sixth from seven attempts and the first gold for his new club.

Other than last year when the Year 8 Edmond Rice High School student finished runner up, Scrivener has owned the flags.

He won against a much taller runner up, Liam Kelly from Fingal Beach, and says his size is an advantage. “Because I’m small I can get up quick.”

On competing in the wind and driving rain he said, “It’s hard. I don’t like the rain; it gets in your eyes when you are running.”

He acknowledged coach Daniel Robberds who he has worked with for the past four years.

Adam Newey’s Under 14 beach sprint gold medal was a moving triumph for his parents, both of them in tears when their son out-ran his fellow finalists in the blur of pounding legs and flying sand.

Newey was also shocked by his top result. “I stopped nippers at Under 11 and came back because of Daniel. He’s helped me start properly and worked on my stride.”

The first person to jump the fence and congratulate Newey was Scrivener and before long the rest of the team had gathered to shake his hand. There was barely a dry eye among the crowd as emotions spilled over.

The Helensburgh beach team is tight and the camaraderie was obvious during every event.

Coach Robberds said, “We have a strong senior group and the young ones feed off their confidence.

“The younger ones feel part of the team and now their performance will inspire the whole group for next week’s Open State title.”

Robberds offers coaching outside Helensburgh Stanwell Park and Jazmine Yew from Thirroul SLSC is another of his new underlings. She placed second and third in the past in flags and this time hit the zenith, seizing the best coloured medal of all in the Under 14 beach flags.

Young Jazmine was struggling with the cold and rainy conditions on Friday, the opening day of the carnival when the super coach delivered this inspirational gem. “I told her “there’s nothing warmer than gold.”

Towradgi’s Sam Zustovich claimed his gold in Under 12 flags, his first ever gold medal and another that can be traced back to Robberds.

“I can’t believe that I’ve actually won a NSW gold medal,” said Zustovich. “I’ve been training so hard all year and now it’s all been worth it. I’m honestly going to wear this medal all week!”

Another local winner was Sandon Point SLSC’s Benjamin Hamill in the U13 boys beach flags.

Robberds’ senior sand rats made history last year when they claimed gold in both the men’s and women’s open beach relay and women’s open sprint final.

Starting next Friday Umina and Ocean beaches will again fill with tents and the sound of starting guns and cheering when the Central Coast hosts the third of four consecutive championship weekends, the NSW Open state title, March 7-9, 2014.

Top 10 Overall Point Score:

1.) Manly LSC - 291
2.) Avoca Beach SLSC - 248
3.) Wanda SLSC Inc - 162
4.) Elouera SLSC - 152.5
5.) Swansea Belmont SLSC - 143
6.) Bronte SLSC - 135
7.) North Cronulla SLSC - 120
8.) South Maroubra SLSC - 101.5
9.) Coogee SLSC - 84.5
10.) Terrigal SLSC - 83

For full results please visit the 2014 Age Championships event page and for photos please visit our Flickr or follow us on Facebook.

Tue 4 Mar 2014