Heat not to blame for death of filly Kiss A Rose at Caulfield, says vet

There was high drama and then tragedy in the mounting yard at Caulfield on Saturday as three-year-old Kiss A Rose collapsed and died after running in the $120,000 W.J. Adams Stakes. The Peter Moody-trained filly had finished unplaced behind the mare Shamal Wind in the feature event over 1000 metres. As she was brought in to be unsaddled in the enclosure directly in front of the stands she collapsed. Her strapper and stable and Racing Victoria staff vainly showered her with water and ice. The Racing Victoria veterinary surgeon on duty, Grace Forbes, said her death was not related to the heat. Racing Victoria’s heat policy comes into play when ”the wet bulb”, which measures humidity, registers 28 or above or the temperature tops 35 degrees. A Racing Victoria spokesman said the highest point the wet bulb reached on Saturday was 27.7 and the temperature 31.5 degrees. Champion jockey Glen Boss, who rode the heavily backed but well beaten favourite Lord of the Sky in the race, was fuming at the length of time the horses were left waiting at the barriers in warm temperatures before the event got under way. ”We were down there seven minutes before we jumped. My horse was gone before we even ran,” an angry Boss said afterwards. An autopsy will be conducted.
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After having the choice of the plum rides on race favourites Bull Point and Prince Harada, it was no surprise to see Damien Oliver sporting a big smile after Australian Guineas aspirant Bull Point scored a resounding first-up win in the group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield. ”They are both good colts and were hard to split,” Oliver said. ”I rode them in consecutive days a couple of weeks ago and this bloke [Bull Point] really pleased me, the way he worked with the blinkers on.” On Saturday, Oliver was able to settle Bull Point ($3.70) behind the speed, just ahead of Prince Harada (the $2.80 favourite) which was raced a little keenly in the early stages. Oliver eased Bull Point out three wide as the field came around the turn and after grabbing the leader, Worth A Ransom ($20), at the 150m, drew away to win by 1¼ lengths. ”He put himself into a good position and then showed good acceleration,” Olive said. Prince Harada came wide with his run in the straight but failed to finish off the race and was photo-finished out of third placing by The Quarterback ($11). While Cox Plate winner Shamus Award remains the $8 favourite for the $500,000 group 1 Australian Guineas at Flemington on March 1, Sportsbet wound Bull Point from $13 into $9 second favourite for the race.


Chris Waller plans to use a softly-softly approach with All Cerise in a bid to emulate the success of Australian Oaks heroine Royal Descent. ”The autumn’s obviously upon us, but what we learnt with Royal Descent last time [is] if you look after them you can still get them to some big targets as well,” Waller said after All Cerise’s win at Rosehill on Saturday. ”We’ll take small steps and try to keep her winning and we’ll sneak her up in distances.” The Redoute’s Choice filly towed Hugh Bowman into the 1400m restricted race for three-year-olds at the turn and quickly sped by Gai Waterhouse’s Forever Loved ($4.40), which stuck on for second from Casino Dancer ($31). Quizzed about what trip All Cerise, the $2.20 favourite, would relish, Waller said: ”Hopefully 2400m [of the Oaks] … We’ve nursed her and are getting the benefit of that now. She looked very strong coming into the race and that’s obviously a positive sign.”


Peter Snowden hailed Darley mare Seaside’s transformation from a ”speedy squib” to a more settled racehorse. The four-year-old charged home off a slow tempo to end a 14-month winless drought in the fillies and mares benchmark 77, prompting Snowden to hint he will go in search of black type. ”She used to be a bit of a speedy squib before, but she settles better now,” he said. ”That was a good effort today because they went steady and then sprinted. She’s had to come from 2½ lengths off that speed. When you’re not winning you’re going for lesser races all the time, but when you can win you can aim a little bit higher. There might be a nice stakes race in her this time in.” Tommy Berry warmed the saddle for a hurt Kerrin McEvoy as Seaside ($2.50 favourite) collared Watabout ($4) in the last 100m.


John O’Shea will be doing his best to keep sprinter Kencella at Rosehill following a dominant win. The four-year-old led all the way to make it five wins from eight starts. And O’Shea said that while Rosehill suited him perfectly, the horse could be exposed in a more hotly run race. ”He appreciates having his runs spaced and at the moment he’s eating up this 1100m at Rosehill and I’ll probably try and keep him here if I can … if he got into a race where they got running from the start then that would provide him with some issues, but at the moment he can get out and travel easily without being gassed.”

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Ginninderra paceman Cameron Suidgeest set to be a star of the Futures after five-wicket haul against Eastlake

Ginninderra bowler Cameron Suidgeest in action on Saturday. Photo: Graham TidyTHEY were on opposite sides on Saturday, but Eastlake batsman Matthew Gawthorp saw enough from Ginninderra quick Cameron Suidgeest to declare he can make an impact in the national Futures League.
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Gawthorp took the bragging rights of the soon-to-be ACT Comets teammates in leading Eastlake to a three-wicket first-innings win over Ginninderra at Kippax Oval on Saturday.

An unbeaten 80 from Gawthorp helped Eastlake out of the mire at 6-128 to finish at 223 in reply to Ginninderra’s 182.

Suidgeest was the star of the show with the ball, taking 5-82 from 21 overs to almost single-handedly lead the Tigers to victory.

He now has 31 wickets for the season at an average of 12.9.

It’s no wonder the Wagga Wagga product has been called into the Comets squad and could debut as early as February 10 against Victoria at Manuka Oval .

”I think he’ll definitely contribute to the Comets,” Gawthorp said.

”He’s improved in leaps and bounds this year and has probably picked up a yard of pace”

Eastlake was desperate to bounce back from last week’s loss in the semi-final of the John Gallop Cup to Tuggeranong.

Gawthorp came to the crease with Eastlake struggling at 3-32 and received solid support from Sri Lankan veteran Anil Rideegammanagedara (59).

But when Suidgeest knocked over Rideegammanagedara and Luke Bartley (0) in quick succession, Eastlake was on the ropes.

”There were a few nervous moments,” Gawthorp said.

”There were some balls that were rolling and some that were kicking, but you didn’t really know what you were going to get.

”It’s a pretty important victory with the finals just around the corner.”

Meanwhile, centuries from Beau McClintock and Joe Cooke led Wests/UC to an incredible three-wicket victory against Weston Creek Molonglo.

In serious trouble resuming at 2-31 in reply to Weston Creek’s 7-318 (dec), McClintock made 113 and Cooke 105 as part of a 214-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Queanbeyan claimed a valuable outright win with a dominant performance against Tuggeranong. Trailing by 74 runs on the first innings, Tuggeranong could only make 172 in its second dig, Queanbeyan passing the total with seven wickets remaining.

North Canberra Gungahlin hung on for a draw in its match with ANU, scoring 9-133 from 85 overs chasing 9-283 (dec).

Attention turns to the final of the John Gallop Cup one-day competition, with Queanbeyan taking on Tuggeranong at Manuka Oval on Sunday from 2.30pm.

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Shipard scores on return

Canberra United is on top of the table and returning star Sally Shipard capped her emotional comeback with a rare goal in a record-equalling thumping of the lowly Newcastle Jets.
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Everything went right for the Green Machine as it survived the 38-degree heat to put the Jets to the sword with a 5-0 flogging on Saturday.

The biggest cheer from the 662 fans at McKellar Park was reserved for Shipard, who found the back of the net after just 10 minutes in her first game back from career-threatening knee injuries.

It was the champion midfielder’s first game for the season and just her sixth in the past two campaigns.

The 57-game Matildas veteran was ecstatic to get through her 45 minutes of action unscathed before being replaced at half-time.

”It felt like an emotion I hadn’t felt in a while,” Shipard said.

”I didn’t really feel like I’ve been away from the game all that long, but I guess my lungs knew very different.

”It was a great game to come back and I’m very chuffed about the amount of support I’ve had to get back out there.”

The timing of Shipard’s return couldn’t be better now there are just two weeks until the finals.

Shipard, the 2011-12 W-League player of the year in United’s championship season, injured her right knee while playing in Germany in 2012, and was restricted to just five games last season.

She was supposed to make her comeback two months ago, but suffered swelling in her left knee.

But all that was forgotten when she fired the ball into the back of the net from close range off a perfect assist from teammate Lori Lindsey.

United coach Liesbeth Migchelsen’s side has won four games in a row, including the last three in the space of six days, to rocket to the top of the ladder.

While Sydney FC can reclaim top spot with a win against the Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday, United can clinch the league championship and a chance at a home grand final when it faces the Sky Blues in a week’s time.

United quickly established its dominance in handing the Jets an 11th straight loss this season. Super striker Michelle Heyman opened the scoring in the seventh minute.

Shipard doubled the advantage before defender Ellie Brush scored from a header. Second-half strikes from Georgia Yeoman-Dale and Jennifer Bisset rounded out a superb team performance.

The result equals the biggest winning margin in United’s six-year history and also equals the most goals the team has scored in a single game.

CANBERRA UNITED 5 (Michelle Heyman 7m, Sally Shipard 10m, Ellie Brush 27m, Georgia Yeoman-Dale 46m, Jennifer Bisset 63m) bt NEWCASTLE JETS 0 at McKellar Park. Referee: Rebecca Durcau.

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Milford to give his all to Raiders

Anthony Milford has pledged to give his all for the Raiders this season. Photo: Rohan ThomsonThey’re the words all Canberra fans have been waiting to hear from Anthony Milford – ”I’m giving my all to the Raiders; I owe it to them.”
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The teenage sensation has vowed to give his best effort in his final season with the Raiders, claiming Canberra has the talent to ”shock” the NRL and push for the club’s first premiership in 20 years.

Milford quashed suggestions he wouldn’t be on his game this season, the 19-year-old also declaring his ambition to break into Queensland’s dominant State of Origin squad as early as this year.

Milford’s messy request for a release from the Raiders, and his subsequent decision to sign with the Brisbane Broncos for 2015, rankled many Raiders fans.

But Milford, who was discovered by the Raiders at 13, said he would not be holding anything back in his final season in Canberra.

”I’m not going to lack anything for what’s gone on,” he said.

”I’m here for this year and I want to try to do what everyone else is trying to do, and that’s win a competition.

”Our team will shock a few people this year – with the players we’ve got and the depth we’ve got.

”Fingers crossed we go really good and everyone steps up.

”I’m giving my all to the Raiders; I owe it to them. I’ve been with them for a while and they’ve done the right thing by me, so I’ll do the same.”

After electing to join the Broncos so he could be closer to his tight-knit family in Brisbane, Milford said he was desperate to help the Raiders lift the trophy for the first time since 1994.

New Raiders coach Ricky Stuart immediately identified Milford as a pillar of the club when he took the job in October last year.

Stuart travelled to Brisbane to speak with Milford and his family before he signed with the Broncos.

”Ricky was really good; he just spoke about what was important in life, and it was family,” Milford said.

”He didn’t try to pressure me into making a decision whether to go here or there.

”He told me to ‘do what’s best for you and your family’, and I appreciated that.”

After starring for Samoa in the World Cup, Milford is being rested for Canberra’s opening trial match and the Auckland Nines.

Having won the Mal Meninga Medal last year at full-back, and earmarked as a future half with the Broncos, he said he was happy to fill whatever role suits the Raiders.

An invitation to a recent Queensland Emerging Origin squad camp in Brisbane with Queensland Academy of Sport coach Wayne Bennett shows how highly regarded he is by representative selectors.

”I learnt a lot, especially from Wayne. The stuff he says, you try to take it in and use it,” Milford said.

”Playing for Queensland is one of my goals for this year and in the future.”

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Nathan Hart hopes to win place at world track cycling championships

A BROKEN wrist prevented his father from representing Australia at the world track cycling championships more than 30 years ago. Now Nathan Hart will play the waiting game to find out whether he’ll get to this year’s worlds in Colombia later this month.
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Hart won silver in the sprint at the Australian championships in Adelaide on Friday night, following in the footsteps of his father Braham, who won silver at the nationals in 1983.

The 20-year-old grew up in Tuggeranong and came through the same ACT Academy of Sport talent search that unearthed road cyclist Michael Matthews.

While Hart follows the road cycling, he is built for the speed of the track and even when he did athletics as a kid it was always the sprint events he did better in.

He was hoping to be part of Australia’s team sprint at the worlds in Cali starting in 24 days.

Hart said finishing second to Matthew Glaetzer was completely unexpected, earning him his first individual medal at a nationals.

The former Erindale College student got through to the final after Shane Perkins withdrew from their semi-final due to a back injury.

He represented Australia for the first time at a World Cup meet in Mexico in December, where he picked up bronze in the team sprint – the event he hopes to compete in at the worlds.

”Very happy, extremely happy [with silver], it was a little bit unexpected, I wasn’t really focusing on the sprint all that much leading into these nationals, but definitely pretty excited about getting the silver, especially behind someone like Matthew Glaetzer who’s riding super fast at the moment,” Hart said.

”I’ve got some OK form at the moment, I’ve come to national champs with as good a form as I can and ridden as well as I can and I suppose most of it is out of my control at the moment.”

And Hart’s not getting carried away with his chances of going to Colombia.

He said he was one of ”a few” who could get the nod to join likely duo Glaetzer and Perkins in Cali.

Canberran Daniel Ellis, who now lives in Adelaide and is making a comeback from a year off, and Victoria’s Jacob Schmid were also in the mix.

”I’ve been focusing on first wheel for the team sprint … trying to improve my time … trying to be the first rider in the team, getting off to a super-quick start from a standstill,” Hart said.

”There’s a few riders in contention, I’m one of them, Danny Ellis … Jake Schmid who’s also riding similar times in the first-wheel sprint, but really it’d take one of us to really step up and knock a couple of tenths off our PB to put our name forward and really have a concrete position in that team.”

Fellow Canberran Bec Wiasak picked up bronze in the women’s 25km points race.

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Adam Ritchard keen to deliver an all-round Sunday service for Tuggeranong

His long-term ambition is to become a minister in the Christian church.
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But Tuggeranong all-rounder Adam Ritchard has had to pull some strings with the man upstairs to be available for Sunday’s John Gallop Cup one-day final.

The former Australian under-19 representative will play a key role with bat and ball in the 50-over decider under lights at Manuka Oval against Queanbeyan. Ritchard was one of the brightest prospects in the ACT, playing for the Australian under-19 team at the 2006 World Cup and for the PM’s XI against England in the summer of 2006-07.

He continued to be a leading contributor for the ACT Comets, but the 26-year-old sat out the past two seasons after becoming disillusioned with the game.

Ritchard used his time away to focus more on his religious commitments with the Vision Christian Fellowship in Canberra.

”My heart wasn’t really in it so I decided to have a bit of a break,” Ritchard said.

”There were some things outside of cricket I really wanted to invest some time into … my wife and I are pretty heavily involved with the church.

”In the longer term becoming a minister is something I would like to do.”

Ritchard usually doesn’t take to the field on Sundays, but made a promise to his Tuggeranong teammates he would be there if they made the finals.

He made an impact last week, top-scoring with 64 and taking 3-41 from his 10 overs in Tuggeranong’s 18-run win in the semi-final against Eastlake.

”This season I haven’t been playing on a Sunday, but I said if we happen to make the finals that I’d be happy to make an exception,” Ritchard said.

One of Ritchard’s proudest moments came at Manuka Oval when he faced a star-studded England team in 2006-07 featuring the likes of Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff.

It was the first match of an Ashes tour which finished in a 5-0 whitewash to Australia.

”To be able to play against England in front of a packed house at Manuka Oval was something I was really humbled by and something I’ll remember for a long time,” he said.

”I bowled a few overs against some of their top-order players and got a couple wickets against their tailenders.”

Queanbeyan qualified for the grand final after beating Weston Creek Molonglo last weekend, and will have captain Blake Dean and opener Jono Dean back from Big Bash League duty.


John Gallop Cup final: Tuggeranong v Queanbeyan at Manuka Oval, 2.30pm.

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Bishop faces up to season’s frustrations

Canberra Capitals forward Abby Bishop is certainly not one for shirking responsibility.
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And just a day after sharing her inspiring tale of caring for her baby niece, the forward was forthright when asked about the Capitals’ up-and-down season after Saturday’s 88-74 win over Melbourne.

The road victory was Canberra’s third on the trot, but barring a miracle it is resigned to missing the play-offs for the third straight season.

Bishop admitted that beating three of the top four teams on the way only added to the frustration, after posting a WNBL career-high 29 points to go with nine rebounds and three three-pointers against the Boomers.

”We seem to beat the top four teams, it’s just the lower teams we’ve struggled with this season,” she told the ABC.

”We wanted to come out and finish the season strongly because we know we’ve been disappointed with ourselves and could have and should have done better than we have.”

Minus forward Rachel Jarry and centre Chelsea Poppens through injury, Bishop was a focal point inside alongside post partner Alex Bunton (14 rebounds, seven points).

Canberra won the assists count 24-14, and Bishop’s dominance opened up the Capitals’ perimeter game.

The visitors nailed 11 of 24 from beyond the arc in its ninth win of the season.

Capitals skipper Jess Bibby scored 19 points, while Rebecca Allen (21 points) battled hard for Melbourne.

”Bishop was by far the MVP – she plays both ends of the floor and everything in between,” Canberra coach Carrie Graf said.

”Our focus was to use our bigs. They were undersized, particularly with [Chelsea] Poppens out, and we had an inside-outside game.”

The Capitals will fancy their chances of pressing second-placed Dandenong on Sunday, after defeating the Rangers away from home earlier this year and almost upsetting them again in Canberra.

Graf said their late-season matches against top-four opposition would help decide who remained on the roster next year.

”We didn’t get wins when we had injured players and had a slow start with matches on the road, but that’s how seasons go sometimes.

”We can’t go ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’, it hasn’t happened. Closing it out now augurs well for the players we want to keep on the roster for next year.”

CANBERRA CAPITALS 88 (ABishop 29, J Bibby 19, N Hunt 11) bt MELBOURNE BOOMERS 74 (RAllen 21, R Cole 13, A Todhunter 12, T Madgen 12) at State Basketball Centre, Victoria.

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Brumbies beaten but still happy

ACT Brumbies veteran Clyde Rathbone has backed injury-plagued Wallaby Pat McCabe to recapture his best form this year even though he suffered another blow in his long comeback journey.
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Rathbone dismissed the Brumbies’ pre-season loss to the Otago Highlanders as a hiccup and is confident the physicality of the trial on Friday night will benefit their Super Rugby campaign.

McCabe was left dazed by a head knock just 15 minutes into his first game in seven months as the Brumbies lost to the Highlanders by four points. The 20-Test Wallaby has broken his neck twice since November 2012.

He will have to pass rigorous tests before he can make another comeback. It is unclear whether he will play against an ACT XV on Saturday night.

Star Brumbies and Wallabies flanker David Pocock made his comeback from a knee reconstruction in the pre-season trial.

”A lot of the times guys get head knocks, come off and you can tell they’re incoherent and disoriented,” Rathbone said.

”’Patty’ was fine; it was just a precaution thing. He will recover and be back to his top form this season once he gets some game time.

”’Poey’ [Pocock] was playing as well as he did before the injury. He hasn’t lost anything. When you are coming back from serious injuries, you just want to survive and get through.”

The Brumbies will fine-tune the team when they play against an ACT XV at Viking Park on Saturday night.

They will play their contingent of Wallabies – including Ben Mowen, Matt Toomua and Stephen Moore – to give them match fitness. The Wallabies in the team did not play in the opening trial against the Hurricanes as they were being rested.

Coach Stephen Larkham is trying to juggle the salary cap to retain his stars. One factor in his calculations is that prop Ruaidhri Murphy could be returning to Ireland.

Irish-born Murphy started with the Brumbies in 2012.

It is understood the 26-year-old Murphy, who underwent a knee reconstruction last year, is close to signing a deal with Ulster, which would result in his leaving Canberra at the end of its Super Rugby campaign.

The Brumbies returned to Canberra on Saturday after a taxing opening trial.

McCabe was not the only casualty. Rathbone suffered a sore knee and several players needed stitches.

”You can’t read too much into the result … when we won the title in 2004 we played a trial and lost by 50 points,” Rathbone said.

Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher said: ”We’re certainly not disappointed with where we are. We got ruffled by a hard-shouldered Highlanders team, but we’ll learn from that.”

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Croker backs Stuart’s Nines call

Jarrod Croker at the Raiders’ fan day on Saturday. He will captain the club at the Auckland Nines. Photo: Elesa KurtzCanberra centre Jarrod Croker has defended the club’s decision to field a weakened side devoid of star power for the Auckland Nines as the Raiders make it clear the NRL season is their priority.
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And Raiders coach Ricky Stuart says one trial match will be enough for skipper Terry Campese and his World Cup stars – Anthony Milford and Josh Papalii – to hit the NRL season running.

Not even a share of $2.2 million in prizemoney has swayed the Raiders to field a strong team for the Auckland Nines, with Canberra’s focus completely on its round-one clash with North Queensland on March 8.

Croker, Reece Robinson, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Joel Edwards are the only regular first-graders in the 16-man Raiders squad for the Auckland Nines, which also features six back-rowers.

Stuart will also bypass the two-day event, which begins on February 15. Instead, assistant Matt Parish will take the reins.

But Croker, who will captain the side for the first time, insisted the club’s young talent had earned their chance.

”They’ve trained just as hard as us over the pre-season and they deserve to have a crack,” Croker said. ”They’ll get a lot out of it being in camp and it will make them more hungry as well.”

However, he admitted it was a letdown for spectators that Anthony Milford, who is being monitored for a foot injury, will not line up in Auckland.

”Ricky’s just concentrating on the trials and Tony’s just come back from the World Cup, he’s been working pretty hard and they want to ease him back into it,” Croker said.

”It’s a bit disappointing for people wanting to watch, but … it’ll be good to get Tony back to full fitness and ready for round one.”

Canberra has also named a 29-man squad for its opening trial against Melbourne at AAMI Park on Saturday.

Campese and World Cup stars Milford, Papalii and Brett White will not be used until the second trial, against Newcastle in Tamworth on February 22.

”Trials for me are all about conditioning and getting a bit of timing and cohesion for the [regular season] games,” Stuart said.

”There’ll be a big squad again for the second game [against Newcastle].”

As revealed by Fairfax Media, Jack Wighton and Mitch Cornish will play five-eighth and halfback respectively against the Storm, in a revival of their successful under-20 partnership. Robinson and Jack Ahearn will share the fullback role.Canberra Raiders trial squadsAuckland Nines, February 15-16: Jarrod Croker (c), pictured, Reece Robinson, Mitch Cornish, Bill Tupou, Matt McIlwrick, Joel Edwards, Glen Buttriss, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Jarrad Kennedy, Mark Nicholls, Jake Foster, Lagi Setu, Mitch Cronin, Luke Bateman, Jack Ahearn, Andrew Heffernan.Trials versus Melbourne at AAMI Park, February 8: Jack Ahearn, Matt Allwood, Luke Bateman, Shannon Boyd, Mitch Cornish, Mitch Cronin, Joel Edwards, Jake Foster, Jeremy Hawkins, Andrew Heffernan, Jarrad Kennedy, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Brenko Lee, Jeff Lynch, Patrick Mago, Sam Mataora, Josh McCrone, Matt McIlwrick, Mark Nicholls, Mosese Pangai, Tevita Pangai Junior, Jordan Rapana, Reece Robinson, Sami Sauiluma, Lagi Setu, David Shillington, Dane Tilse, Bill Tupou, Jack Wighton.

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Controversial call saves Cavalry

Canberra Cavalry closer Sean Toler produced a crucial double-play ball in the bottom of the ninth to help his side to a 4-3 win over the Sydney Blue Sox in game two of the ABL preliminary final series on Saturday night. Photo: SMP ImagesIf you’re orange it was clearly out, if you’re blue it was safe, but in the end it doesn’t matter as Canberra Cavalry closer  Sean Toler ‘‘locked in’’ to produce  a double play to send the Australian Baseball League preliminary final into the deciding game on Sunday.
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The Cavalry led the Sydney Blue Sox 4-2 going into the ninth inning, needing to win to keep its hopes of defending its ABL championship alive.

Toler got the job done for a 4-3 Canberra victory in controversial circumstances at Blacktown on Saturday.

He came to the mound knowing Sydney had the wood on him from their last two outings and as the Blue Sox batters got on base it looked like it was going to happen again.

But with runners at first and third, Toler drew the ground ball to second-baseman Jon Berti to turn the double play on Sox outfielder Keon Broxton to end the game.

In a tight call, Broxton appeared to have made it and went berserk when he was called out as the tying run scampered towards home plate.

But he was called out and the Cavs celebrated.

It sets up a cracking rubber match on Sunday after the Blue Sox triumphed 18-11 over the Cavalry in Friday night’s series opener on a wild night at Narrabundah Ballpark.

Toler backed the umpire’s call.

‘‘That was crazy, that’s just how the game ended up getting to, we just had to grind it out those last few innings,’’ he said.

‘‘[I wasn’t] nervous, it’s just I know I’ve got to lock it because these guys have really good approaches at the plate and I know I’ve got to bring my best stuff.

‘‘That’s part of pitching the ninth inning, you’ve just got to be able to lock in.’’

Sydney only had itself to blame. Its defence was awful and it twice left the bases loaded.

It made four errors and the Cavs made it pay.

Canberra third-baseman Jeremy Barnes hit a solo home run in the top of third, before Jason Sloan went yard with a two-run shot over left field in the fourth.

It put the Cavs in control with starting pitcher Ethan Cole causing all sorts of trouble with his curve ball.

When the Cavalry made mistakes it was able to clean up its mess before any damage was done, like a Casey Frawley misfield that led to loaded bases when the inning should have been over.

Canberra reliever Clint Everts also got his curve ball going to produce a big strikeout in the bottom of the seventh with Sydney pressing.

Then it all came down to Toler.

He was confident going into the third-and-final game.

‘‘Winning the game before the decider is always a good thing, you use that momentum, we kind of ride off that feeling of positivity,’’ Toler said.

‘‘Especially being the third-placed team coming in we kind of had our backs against the wall from the start.’’

Steven Chambers will start the decider for Canberra at Blacktown on Sunday at 4pm.

Canberra   1  0  1  2  0  0  0  0  0   – 4r    4h   1e

Sydney     0  0  0  0   0  1  1  0  1   – 3r   12h  4e

Cavs’ best: 1B-J Sloan (1-4, 1HR, 2RBI), P-Cole (6.0IP, 7H, 1ER, 6K), 3B-Barnes (1-4, 1HR, 1R), SS-Frawley (1-3, 1RBI).

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