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Talent time in Adelaide's summer of fun


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Adelaide flicked the sporting switch in December, embracing established and emerging talent.

It started with the Ashes Test match – a combination of gripping Test cricket and flamboyant socialising out the back of the Adelaide Oval grandstands.

By mid-December we hit party mode and the Big Bash pulled 26,000 fans for two innings of twenty-over action presented with a musical overture and speaker-thumping promotion of “your Adelaide Strikers”.

It was this “Festival of the Bash” where we first discovered a young Nathan Lyon and then watched him move swiftly from four-overs-per-match commitments to an established Test bowler in just one year.

He’s just set a record of taking an English wicket in each of the visitor’s ten innings during the 5-0 Ashes whitewash.

Then, with the Christmas turkey and ham leftovers packed in a lunchbox we headed to Glenelg and the Bay Sports Festival, an eight-sport complement to the established Bay Sheffield professional foot race.

And again, this is where we see emerging talent alongside the big names.

Young stars on the rise dominated this year’s festival.

Sixteen-year-old Immanuel College student Jack Tierney, in some of the roughest and windiest conditions, blew away his opponents in the Sam White Memorial Aquathlon.

“I been involved in ‘tri’ (triathlon) events for just the past seven months,” said Tierney, a year 10 student in 2013. “I have also been a member of the Semaphore Surf Life Saving Club and have spent a bit of time competing in the surf.

“The conditions made the swim interesting, but that was good for me.

“This year I will try to get into the NTA (National Triathlon Academy). This (win) is a pinnacle for me so far.”

Tierney and the women’s aquathlon winner for the fourth successive time, Jackie Staples, are focusing on triathlon disciplines in 2014.

Young cycling star Robert-Jon McCarthy made his own statement in the Les Gill Memorial Men’s cycling criterium race.

McCarthy, who is currently competing in the Bay Criteriums in Melbourne, before joining Sean Kelly in a professional team in Belgium, had a thrilling win.

It came down to a sprint finish between McCarthy, Russell Gill, Harry Carpenter and Cameron Bayly, with all in contention at the final corner.

“I didn’t actual bank on a sprint to finish and didn’t give myself the easiest ride,” McCarthy said.

“This course is really hard, so technical and (it was a) really quality field.”

In the City of Holfast Bay Mayor Women’s Cycling Trophy, with her fourth consecutive victory, Tiffany Cromwell is within striking distance of Alexis Rhodes’ record of six wins.

The Australian Allegro Chess championships was a seven round event held in the Stamford Grand, with participants from around the world. Russian Grand Master Vasily Papin was undefeated, while local talent and previous winner James Obst, (IM) James Morris from Victoria, along with internationals (GM) Hoang Thong Tu from Vietnam and (WGM) Irine Kharisma Sukandar from Indonesia shared second place.

In a tough two jetties fun run at high tide, Matthew Fenich won for the first time, after minor place results in the previous two years, while the women’s winner Lisa Davies enjoyed her second crown in four years.

Multiple event winners in the 2013 Paddle Fest of distances from 200-metre sprints to the 6km marathon on the Patawalonga included Rob Lee, young tyros Francesa Kidd, Cat McArthur, Sam Germien, Reece Bachus and Lincoln Loughry, along with the father and son combination of David and Lee Myatt.

The Proclamation Classic Open Swim starts the summer calendar, with Damion Burrage and Cassie Lindsay enjoyed victories in the 5km disciplines in respectable times of 1 hour, 9 minutes, 25 seconds and 1.10.48 respectively.

Adelaide 36er imports Gary Ervin and Jarrid Frye were interested sideline supporters of the entertaining and highly competitive 3Ball competition.

Michael Baker grabbed the inaugural Adelaide Hydrothon 22.30 from local surf sports athletes Ben Zuill and iron man Jake Nicholson, who were also place getting in the aqualthon. As expected Olympian Hannah Davis won the women’s section.

The festival showcased a wide range of sporting a recreational pursuits, reflecting a heritage that goes back to 1870.

“These results demonstrate there is still plenty of enthusiasm amongst athletes supporting a variety of sports from the grassroots level,” Mayor of Holdfast Bay, Ken Rolland said.

“A number of these Bay Sports Festival events are exciting ‘must watch’ disciplines.”

And tucked away in there were some stars of the future.

Our summer of sports fun still has a couple of Big Bash games and an Australia Day one-day international to come; the success of all these December and January events suggests maybe it’s time to consider a unifying theme.

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