Bathurst players perform strongly at Academy Games

THERE are a plethora of talented junior sportspeople across Bathurst but some of the best rising stars we have to offer were a part of the recent Academy Games held on the Central Coast.

The Western Region Academy of Sport (WRAS) took a squad of 90 athletes to the event, of which 19 hailed from Bathurst.

In the golf section of the Games Bathurst was represented by Ben Davis, Cameron Jackson, Ben Mackey, Ben McCrossin and Casey Thompson.

WRAS finished second and fourth in the Team Academy Challenge, battling hard with Illawarra, who finished first and third.

“Seven of the nine golfers broke their handicaps, despite playing tough conditions,” WRAS Sports Program Manager Eoin Scullion explained.

Bathurst players Shane David-Weelathgamuwa, Bridget Ellis and Ben Neary took to the courts for the basketball squad.

Scullion said WRAS’ basketball sides were superb in a hotly-contested section of the competition, showing plenty of grit.

The girls’ side finished third, performing to a high standard throughout.

“For tenpin, hockey and basketball, this was the culmination of their WRAS program,” Scullion explained.

“It was great to see all the effort from their strength and conditioning and squad training sessions showcased over the ClubsNSW Academy Games weekend.

“For the golf and netball squads, they’ll continue with their training programs and will be competing at the NSW Junior Gold Championships, the Australian Invitational Youth Games and the Netball NSW Regional High Performance Camp in the future.”

It was great to see all the effort from their strength and conditioning and squad training sessions showcased over the weekend."

Eoin Scullion

Netball was where Bathurst had their biggest share of players.

Amy Belfanti, Teagan Germech, Zoe Lewis, Sara Reynolds, Alexandra Ridley, Elissa Ridley and Olivia Johnston all helped take WRAS to a great result.

Last year the WRAS netball squads, in division one and two, managed just one win each.

This time there were many more moments to celebrate as the division one side claimed five wins from eight matches.

Their victories included wins over the highly fancied South West Sydney and Hunter Academies.

Division two for WRAS were also on fire with their six wins in 10 matches.

The CCAS Managing Director Ian Robilliard was impressed with the standard of competition displayed throughout the games.

“This past weekend was very special and the level of competition was outstanding,” he said.

“My thanks to all 11 academies that took part and to the 900 athletes who, by all accounts, had a fantastic time on the Central Coast.”

Bathurst staff Shane Conroy, Ian McAlister (both hockey) and Melissa Noonan (netball) were also on hand to assist the Western squad at the games.