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A race between two in the Sharkskin NSW Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Premiership will be settled on the Central Coast this weekend, with Kiama Downs or Caves Beach set to be confirmed as series winners when racing concludes on Sunday at Ocean Beach.

The heavyweight IRB clubs have been almost inseparable since the opening round, and it will be most fitting that the winners will be crowned just under half an hour down the road from where racing begun almost two months ago in Terrigal.

It’s Caves Beach who have local success on their minds and in their rear-view mirror, having claimed the round win at Terrigal all those weeks ago, but Kiama Downs have had the upper hand since then and go into the race weekend at Ocean Beach with a two-point advantage over their Hunter opponents.

Indeed, Caves Beach will need to finish at least a place above Kiama Downs, and that place to come at least inside the top two – based on finishing points allocation – to be in with a chance of hauling in the gap to the leaders.

“We’ve always been very lucky to have a strong team at Caves Beach,” Team Manager, Scott Bryant said.

“This is the 19th year of the premiership, and we’re the only club to have attended every single one. In that time we’ve only finished outside the top three once.

“We know that for any team to beat Kiama Downs they’ll have to be at their best, and we will be there this weekend chomping at their heels and pushing them to their limits.

“A successful weekend for us is winning the round, that’s what we’d like to do.”

Kiama Downs has been insatiable, though, since the opening round, claiming victory at each of the next two in Bulli and Broulee to hold the upper hand in the battle for the title.

Their most recent win, coming on the Far South Coast over the June long weekend, came by the tightest margin of the premiership so far.

“We know it won’t be easy – everybody wants to win it and we’re no different. We’ll give it a good crack, that’s for sure,” Kiama Downs Team Manager, Stephen Strong said.

“It’s important that we’re keeping everyone focussed on what their job is, taking it one race at a time, not getting ahead of ourselves, and let the racing do the talking, as it is.

“If we start out well and maintain the momentum over the two days we’ll be happy.

“Hopefully we can take it out this weekend and celebrate in style.”

Ocean Beach traditionally presents different challenges for racing to other beaches, and both teams will have to navigate that if they’re to be named champions on Sunday.

“The forecast is quite good, weather is quite mild, not a lot of wind and quite a small surf, so it will come down to the tides and beach conditions as to what the sands like,” Stephen continued.

“We’re hoping for nice smooth sand, better for the ankles and the body.”

“There’ll be a lot of long runs on hard sand,” Scott added.

“It’s a beach where a lot of work needs to be done on the sand. We will race with whatever Mother Nature dishes up, but it’s going to be hard work.”

In the battle for the final place on the podium, Terrigal leads the way with 15 points on the board and a two-point gap to Newport, and a further three-point gap back to Thirroul – who did not race on the opening weekend – and South Maroubra.


Kiama Downs 28

Caves Beach 26

Terrigal 15

Newport 13

Thirroul 10

South Maroubra 10

Queenscliff 8

North Cronulla 5

Avalon Beach 2

North Avoca 0

Maroubra 0

Nobbys 0

Helensburgh Stanwell Park 0

Bondi 0

Bungan Beach 0

Coogee 0

Ocean Beach 0

Wednesday 22 June 2022