Sports reports: Jockey Jess Eaton wins the John Letts Medal

Plus the latest in Murray Bridge golf and rifle shooting, and River Murray netball and football.

This post was contributed by Racing SA, Auscycling SA, Murray Bridge Golf Club, Daniel Irvine of Murray Bridge Rifle Club, the River Murray Football League and the River Murray Netball Association.

Jockey Jessica Eaton has capped off a brilliant season in the saddle to win South Australian horse racing’s most coveted award.

The prestigious John Letts Medal recognises excellence in riding and outstanding achievements at all race meetings across South Australia during the season.

“It’s such an honour and quite surreal,” she said.

“There have been so many great jockeys before me to have won this award.”

She went on to thank Michael Hickmott, the Murray Bridge-based 2020-21 SA metropolitan trainer of the year.

“I had some tremendous support early and I cannot thank Michael Hickmott and the team enough,” she said.

“He has been instrumental in me coming over here (to South Australia) and I certainly wouldn’t be here without him.”

Eaton received the medal at Racing SA’s annual hall of fame and industry awards at Morphettville on Saturday night.

The event recognised the top jockeys, trainers, horses and administrators for the 2020/21 racing season across 14 industry award categories.

Hickmott was also honoured at the gala event, as was Murray Bridge trainer Grant Young, who was recognised as provincial and country trainer of the year for the third time.

Road cycling state championships completed at Mypo

A monster weekend of racing in the beautiful township of Mypolonga has been and gone, state champions have been crowned and mountains of dried apricots have been eaten.

Auscycling SA thanked sponsor Prepd Hydration, Jenny and the Mypolonga Historical Society for their hospitality, and the Rural City of Murray Bridge for hosting the event for the second time and for their support of bike racing.

Mypo locals kicked it up a notch this year, hanging bikes off anything they could find, cracking out some photos of last year’s race in their messageboard on the outside of the hall, and making what some were calling the best vegan wrap of their lives.

Matt Kowald burns up Murray Bridge golf course

Playing in the very last group, Matt Kowald – pictured stepping off the 18th green – finished on top of a 115-strong field to take out Saturday’s Stableford competition at Murray Bridge Golf Club in scintillating style.

Having recently snuck out a few strokes to a seven handicap, the long-hitting right hander finished with a blistering 23 points on the back nine to record a personal best one-over-the-card, 42-point round.

A fluke or a sign of more to come?

Time will tell.

After not really firing a shot in the recent club championships, 2022 might be when this quality golfer makes his mark.

It was a close battle in the A grade, in which walking Geelong Football Club advertisement DRB Moloney put up a bit of a better effort than his team from the night before to come out on top with 36 points and beat Tony Carter on a countback.

It was all Echunga in the B grade, where Jayden McGlashan overpowered compatriot Jason Wood 38 points to 37.

Echunga again came to the fore in the C grade, where Mick Morton held sway with a fabulous 41-point round, having scored 10 of them on the first three holes of the back nine.

Local Craig Pearson must have felt short-changed having to settle for runner-up after tallying a brilliant 40 points.

There were plenty of ball winners, led by Anthony Trevorrow with 39 points and followed by Peter Downs with 37.

Rod Thoman, Steve Thiele, Mark Johnson, Corey Dahlitz, James McLaren, Squashy Squires and Trev Burgess were all on song with 35-point returns.

Thirty-four points was enough to be rewarded; those players comprised Brett Summers, Rob Walters, Andrew Meddle, Kayne Rigby, Kym Truran, Nev Jordan and Colin Stevens.

Mick Morton led the pro comp back nine with 23 points until the final group came in, when Kowald equalled that tally and nailed Morton on a countback to snare the $70 on offer.

The yabby was won by C grader James McLaren, who hit a ripper on the short par three 4th to line his pockets with $70.

It was a day that tested most players, with the congested field causing the odd delay, but Echunga’s Darren McGlashan may have been most flustered.

As his group teed off on the 15th he was queried by the course marshal as to why his group was two holes behind the group ahead.

Ambling down the fairway, explaining the reasons why, the marshal deemed the response satisfactory and moved on.

McGlashan then went searching for his drive with his playing partners before realising he had actually forgotten to tee off.

With the group behind tapping their toes on the tee, he decided not to go back and hit a ball, thus scrubbing the hole.

Three holes later, when he finished with 33 points, it became evident that the hole had cost him a payout.

Oh dear.

We’re into spring this Saturday, so it will be time for a stroke round.

Conditions challenge rifle shooters

Seventeen competitors and seven others braved the temperamental conditions this past Saturday to shoot from 800 metres at the Deed Range in Monarto.

The weather was dry but rolling clouds plunged the range in and out of shadow while the wind wrought havoc with most competitors’ scores.

If such conditions are character-building, then we had “character coming out of our ears”, as Gordon “Harro” Harrison put it.

The round started with a gusty left wind with shifts of up to three minutes occurring in the time it took to check the flags and then fire.

A sign of the difficulty was that early on there were more twos shot than threes amongst even the best of the target rifle shooters.

The wind gradually straightened, fishtailing its way down range, flicking from left to right and continuing to catch shooters out.

It finally settled into a slightly more manageable right wind but that was far too late for most shooters, with the damage already done on the scoreboard.

Not perturbed by the conditions, however, was Mark Nesti, shooting in F-open.

He scored an outstanding, indeed almost miraculous, 59.05 and 58.03, putting him six points clear of second placed David McDonald and handing him the off-rifle and handicap awards for the day.

In F-standard the best for the day off-rifle was Dave Hindmarsh, with a respectable 107.03, while David Neumann’s 101.02 left him second in the handicap.

Ian Elston learned the hard way why you shouldn’t experiment with your barrel tuning mi-round, throwing a shot into the three ring to earn him the dreaded Magpie Award on a countback. 

In target rifle, Andrew Heard had the best reading of the conditions for the day, scoring a 46.03 and a 48.05 late in the afternoon to win the off-rifle award with a 94.08.

He was three points ahead of Greg Traeger on a 91.03, but apart from those two no one else managed to crack 90-points, with Rob Paech third on 89.05.

Standing out from the crowd, however, was John Elson, who, given the conditions, scored a very respectable 88.04, which easily won him the handicap award for the day.

Rob Paech’s misfortune continued in the clubhouse, where he learned that he had also won a Magpie Award for target rifle, scoring three “birds” and claiming the trophy from Jasamine Irvine, also with three, on a countback.

Next week the club will shoot its annual three-range Beerenberg Trophy with seven shots each from 600 and 800 metres and 1000 yards.

River Murray Football League finals scores

Jervois 12.5 (77) def Mannum 4.6 (30)

Jervois goals: P. Zarantonello 3, J. Scott 2, J. Woodall 2, T. Silverlock 1, T. Gibson 1, Z. Barry 1, S. Catford 1, L. Kluske 1. Best: L. Kluske, M. Noye, T. Gibson, J. Woodall, A. Diamond.

Mannum goals: C. Reschke 1, J. Keller 1, J. Cook 1, D. Gladigau 1. Best: M. O’Malley, B. Tabe, J. Boylan, J. Webster, B. Webster.

Imperials 16.13 (109) def Ramblers 6.10 (46)

Imperial goals: J. Boras 10, A. Morrell, S. DeMichele, L. Harrowfield, H. Montgomery, S. Samblich , B. Martin. Best: J. Boras, J. Clarke, H. Montgomery, D. Wilson, S. McMahon.

Rambler goals: M. Wegener 3, K. Harradine, J. Trevorrow, S. Callery. Best: K. Harradine, R. Vanson, J. Trevorrow, C. Schubert, B. McDonald.

River Murray Netball Association awards and finals scores

Most successful club: Mypolonga

Best senior club: Imperials

A grade team of the year: Kara Martin, Casey DeMichele, Melissa Edwards, Amy Schultz, Olivia Bolt, Ashleigh Horsnell, Laura Berling, Georgia Steinert, Lucy Harkness, Kellie McGorman, coach Carrie Daniels

A grade best and fairest: Kellie McGorman (Mannum), runner-up Olivia Bolt (Imperials)

Finals scores

Mypolonga 48 def Imperials 44

Mannum 44 def Tailem Bend 23

Murray Bridge News is happy to share news, results or photos from sporting clubs throughout Murray Bridge and the surrounding region, free of charge. Email or call 0419 827 124.

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