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Despite a solid challenge from south coast club Warilla-Barrack Point, reigning champions Cudgen Headland have emerged victorious at the 2020 Envirobank NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships.

After a huge two days on the sand and in the water under spectacular skies at Kingscliff Beach, the host club’s 200 plus contingent of competitors proved too strong for the rest of the field to take out their fourth Country title in a row.

Warilla-Barrack Point had to be content with second place and Byron Bay put the pedal to the metal after trailing to Lennox Head to finish third on the podium.

The seasoned Cudgen open boys stormed home in the teams events on Sunday, stacking the deck in races like the Open Board Rescue and claiming the first five spots - Jarrad Cain, Scott McCartney, Rory Matthews, Kai Onley, Angus MacPhail, Jayden Mandall, Brodie Copeland, Liam MacPhail, Ben James and Liam Worling.

The two Liams, Worling and Wilson, were also first across the line in the U19 Board Rescue and Joseph Warne won the U17 Surf race.

The dream team of Scott McCartney, Jarrad Cain and Kai Onley were too strong for Warilla’s Ben Carberry, Hayden White and Jayden Allen to claim the Open Male Taplin Relay with the club also winning the U19 Male Ski Relay and Open Male Board Relay.

Fifteen year-old Lily O’Sullivan proved to be a machine again, taking out the U17 and the Open Female Surf race, U17 Ironwoman, the U17 Board and Board Rescue and the Open Board Rescue and Open Board race with Olissa Onley.

Hayley Smith and Anthea Warne held out the rest of the pack in the U19 Female Surf race and the U19 Board, the U19 Board Rescue, the U19 Iron and the Open Iron events. The girls teamed up with McCartney and Worling to also win the Surf Teams event.

Hayley and Lily both showed how versatile they are by winning medals in the beach events, as well as the water. Hayley claimed gold in the Open Female Beach Sprint and Lily was a close second in the U17 Female Beach Flags.

The Cudgen girls won gold in the U17 and U19 Female Taplin Relays, U19 Female Ski Relay, U17, U19 and Open Female Board Relays. Individually, Olissa Onley was first in the U17 and the 2km Beach Runs and Sophie Boyd in the U19 Board Riding.

The juniors were on fire too with wins across the age groups: Jake Tickle U11 Surf race, Reuben Maiden U14 Male Beach Flags and Board Riding, Cooper Tate U15 Beach Sprint, Isabella Tate U12 Beach Flags, Ava Arghyros U12 Board and Surf race, Piper Phillips U11 Board and Surf race, Evie Clarkson U13 Beach Sprint, Andie Prichard U8 Beach Flags, U8 Mixed Wade Relay, U8, U11 and U13 Mixed Beach Relays and the All Age Beach Relay.

The team were super stoked at winning the All Age Beach Relay, one of the premier events of the carnival. Eight year-old Jack Brown said it was “amazing” to be part of the team and represent his club at his first Country Championships.

Even the Masters competitors put in a solid contribution to the final pointscore with firsts for Jennifer Curnow in the 40-49 Beach Flags and Sprint, Susan Eke in the 60+ Beach Sprint and Joanne Colja in the 50-59 Beach Flags.

Cudgen Headland SLSC President Grant Rogers admitted the team was a bit concerned by the Warilla freight train bearing down on them yesterday.

“Cudgen has once again come through for the fourth time for us and a big win. We were getting run up there by Warilla on second and we thought we would struggle for the first. It was really rough out there today. It was such a big team effort,” said Rogers. 

“This is a big one for the kids, a lot haven’t come first today. This is all about team spirit and participating together and keeping each other going and going one better than we have before.”

Third placed Byron Bay SLSC threw down the gauntlet and issued a challenge to the Cudgen club but Rogers says he’s not worried.

“Byron have said they'll be back on top in 2021 but we say, c'mon Byron, we're looking forward to it.”

The President thanked his team of volunteers, the workforce who did all the setup and pack down of the event and all the water safety personnel and officials.

“Having Country Champs going this well, we're getting all fired up for State Champs and Nationals. This is a great boost for moral and we're hoping to take the momentum through. 

“Community here is a big thing and the support we've had is superb and the community gets right behind us.” 

Top Ten Overall Pointscore

  1. Cudgen Headland SLSC 1037

  2. Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC 826

  3. Byron Bay SLSC 456

  4. Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC 433

  5. Sawtell SLSC 336

  6. Port Macquarie SLSC 284

  7. Tacking Point SLSC 222

  8. Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC 212

  9. Yamba SLSC 183

  10. Coffs Harbour SLSC 153