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Stockton bowlo barman’s inside job

IT was an inside job.

A planned heist where Stockton Bowling Club barman Scott Lynch not only helped plan the armed robbery of his own club, but says he gave the all clear for masked raiders to storm the place armed with a shotgun and threaten another employee.

Lynch, now serving a sentence for his part in the robbery on August 26 last year, was in the witness box yesterday giving evidence against a man he claims first approached him to hold up the struggling club.

Damien Lee Hudson, 35, has pleaded not guilty in Newcastle District Court to the armed robbery on the club’s biggest day, following the Jellyblubbers Ball, where bandits got away with $34,520.

Lynch admitted to getting a 25 per cent discount on his prison term for giving evidence against Mr Hudson but denied he was pointing the finger at the accused in an effort to protect another person.

Instead, Lynch told the jury he had only known Hudson as “Damo” when he was approached about six months before the robbery about whether he wanted to make some money.

Lynch admitted he had a $100 a day drug habit, was only earning $400 a week with his bar work and was behind in rent.

He told the court he had had several meetings with “Damo” before taking him and another man, known as “PJ”, to the club’s car park to talk them through its layout and show them the back door where no security cameras showed.

He said he met the pair again on the day of the heist and was given $30 to buy a pre-paid phone which he used to call “PJ” when the coast was clear.

Two men wearing balaclavas then smashed through the back door and robbed Lynch and a female employee.

Lynch said he used a friend’s car to drive to Damo’s place later that night but could not find the men.

He claimed he met up with them two days later where they were supposed to split the money evenly.

Lynch said he got $4000 and under cross-examination said he did not complain, despite his dire financial position, because he was afraid of the pair.

The court heard he had identified Mr Hudson and PJ using photographs as the men responsible for the robbery.

Under cross-examination, defence barrister Mark Preece pressed Lynch on why he had told police he heard the “Islander” talking during the heist but not the other man.

Lynch agreed he told detectives he had just assumed Mr Hudson was the second masked man, although he would later claim he had heard and recognised Mr Hudson’s voice.

The trial, before Judge McLoughlin, continues.

Bayley McGill, James Psarakis co-captains country U-17s cricket 

NEWCASTLE skipper Bayley McGill and Central Northern counterpart James Psarakis were named co-captains of the NSW Country under-17 cricket side after standout performances at Raymond Terrace at the weekend.

Psarakis, from Tamworth, led the unbeaten Central Northern to the NSW Country championship with 242 runs from three games, including 148 not out against Central Coast and 61 against Western.

Cardiff-Boolaroo batsman McGill belted 135 not out against Western and 145 against Southern in his competition-leading 283 total.

The pair will show the way for Country against City under-17s in two 50-overs-a-side matches at Bradman Oval in Bowral on November 10-11.

Central Coast’s Daniel Hueston was the leading bowler with 9-115 for the tournament and was also selected in the Country team.

The side is: James Psarakis (Central Northern-co-captain), Bayley McGill (Newcastle-co-captain), Tobyn Burvill (North Coastal), Luke Corlis (North Coastal), Daniel Heuston (Central Coast), Henry Hunt (Western), Nathaneal Jones (Southern), Charles Litchfield (Western), Connor Matheson (Riverina), Jayden Park (Central Northern), Joshua Pettigrew (Newcastle), Jaymes Thomas (Central Northern).

■ Denman’s Riley Ayre had plenty to talk about when he returned to St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen, yesterday after a memorable week in his burgeoning cricket career.

The 17-year-old spinner debuted for NSW in the second XI Futures League competition, finishing with 0-27 and 0-16 and scoring six not out in a rain-marred draw in a four-day game with Victoria at Junction Oval in St Kilda.

The left-armer then again bowled tidily on Saturday for Sutherland in Sydney first grade, finishing with 0-16 off seven overs in a 10-wicket loss to Manly-Warringah.

On Sunday, he backed up in under-21s and senior Twenty20 wins for Sutherland against Gordon.

He opened the bowling in both games, taking 1-23 and 2-21 in his four-over efforts.

■ Hunter District Cycling Club’s Kai Chapman made it back-to-back wins in a race dedicated to his grandfather, Mick Chapman, on Sunday.

Kai, who won the Australian under-15 track sprint championship at Adelaide in March, defended his under-15 division crown in the Mick Chapman Memorial Criterium on Honeysuckle Drive, edging out Central Coast’s Tom Lynch and Illawarra’s Zach Marshall.

In the girls’ under-15s, North Sydney’s Laura Jones beat Central Coast’s Jess Fields and Hunter’s Lucie Fityus.

Manly’s Ella Falzarano claimed the girls’ under-17s ahead of Hunter’s Nicola Macdonald and Amelia Follett.

North Sydney rider Jacob Jones took out the boys’ under-17s from Port Macquarie’s Liam Magennis and Armidale’s Sam Jenner.

■ Twin Rivers YMCA gymnast Jacobi Patrick has delivered the small Raymond Terrace club a NSW title.

Patrick claimed the overall Level 5 Intermediate crown at Homebush this month after finishing fourth on the vault, fourth on bars and third on beam. It followed her overall win at the NSW Country titles in Orange in September.

■ Knights junior Heath Gibbs has been named alongside Wendell Sailor’s son Tristan in the NSW Indigenous under-16 team to play Queensland.

Gibbs is a member of the Knights’ under-16 squad training for the 2014 Harold Matthews competition.

The NSW-Queensland game will be played during the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League in Newcastle on February 3-8.

Another feature will be a trial between the Knights and an invitational team made up of players from the NSW Koori Knockout and Queensland’s Murri carnival.

■ More than 20 junior basketball teams from Newcastle and Lake Macquarie will head to Port Macquarie this weekend for the annual Seaside Classic.

Under-11, under-13, under-15 and under-17 girls and boys matches will be played on courts at Port Macquarie Sports Stadium, St Joseph’s Regional College, St Columba Anglican School and St Paul’s High School.

The teams will represent Newcastle and Lake Macquarie clubs City Limits, Port Hunter, United, Wests and Lakers against teams from Cessnock, Central Coast, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Tamworth, Byron Bay, Bellingen, Grafton, Lismore, Ryde and Springwood.

Bayley McGill

Sabrina Kliousis smashes javelin record

PET EVENT: Sabrina Kliousis says that the javelin is her favourite sport. Picture: Phil HearneTHE sky is the limit for javelin thrower Sabrina Kliousis after a record-breaking start to her time in the sport.

The 13-year-old from Newcastle Grammar School is targeting the Australian All Schools championship in December at Townsville after she won the state title in Sydney this month.

The winning throw of 33.87 metres on a hot and windy day followed an outstanding run by Kliousis, who claimed the Association of Independent Co-Educational Schools title with a throw of 34.32m. It broke the previous mark by almost seven metres.

Then came the NSW Combined Independent Schools championships, where the year 8 student bettered the meet mark of 32.82m with an effort of of 34.32m.

Coach Liam Speers, 21, is discus champion who finished eighth at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Bressanone in 2009.

Now juggling his own training and competition with coaching, Speers takes Sabrina and her older brother, Rugby, through their paces at least once a week.

Speers said Sabrina had great natural ability and was an exciting prospect.

“She has limitless amount of potential,” Speers said.

“She’s been with me for only two years and in that time she’s added 17 metres or more to her throw.

“In the lower school comps you can get people who can play other sports like baseball who have a good arm already, but when you get to state or nationals you see the girls who have the training and potential – Sabrina’s proven herself that way.”

He believed she had an excellent chance of adding the national schools title to her growing list of achievements.

“She’s an awesome thrower and I can see she is capable of throwing further than what she is at the moment,” he said.

“On the day, anything can happen. If she clicks all that technical training together, I know she’s a chance to win.”

Speers said Sabrina’s older brother, Rugby, 16, could also go a long way in javelin.

“He has just as much potential, if not more,” he said.

“He could become a national representative at javelin, rugby, soccer – he just has so much natural talent. Whoever can grab hold of him will do well with him.”

Sabrina competes for the Adamstown-New Lambton Little Athletics club.

She said she followed her brother into the sport and just “liked it”.

A touch football player and cheerleader, she said she wanted to go as far as she could with javelin, which was her favourite sport.

Zac Walsh on fitness mission

MACQUARIE first grade coach Barrie Moore is taking a hands-on approach when it comes to reshaping new recruit Zac Walsh.

It has been the worst-kept secret in Newcastle Rugby League that the enigmatic Walsh would join the Scorpions after an unhappy season at premiers Western Suburbs.

Walsh, 19, spent limited time in first grade this season due to injuries and was often overlooked by Rosellas coach Craig Miller as his weight ballooned.

No one can doubt the halfback’s immense potential.

At his best, Walsh is one of the most talented play-makers in the competition, as seen when he led Wests to the 2012 premiership at 18.

Due to weight issues, Walsh was unable to play to his potential consistently at the Rosellas but Moore believes he can succeed.

Moore, who has taken over the first-grade job from Noel Dent after a premiership in reserves, has started weekly one-on-one training sessions with Walsh at Jesmond’s Heaton Park.

Last summer Moore lost 42 kilograms to stand at 68kg and he is passing on his experiences to Walsh.

‘‘I told him when I signed him I would get him fit,’’ Moore said.

‘‘I’ve taken it personally. No one has ever given the kid a go and I just wanted to sit down and help him.

‘‘It means a lot to him that we’re working one-on-one,’’ he said.

Walsh’s weight has been a constant hurdle in his promising career, which included a handful of Western Suburbs Magpies NSW Cup games in 2012.

Mid-way through 2012, the Knights signed Walsh and placed him with Wests, hoping the club’s professional set-up would improve his fitness in time for this year’s National Youth League.

Walsh gained weight over the summer after an injury and it cost him an opportunity in the Knights under-20s.

However, Moore was committed to getting Walsh down from 107kg to about 90kg.

‘‘So many of people have said to me, ‘If you can get him fit, good luck’,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve taken that as a personal challenge and there’s no reason he can’t do it if he sticks to it and at the moment he is.’’

Walsh finished last season in Wests’ beaten reserve grade grand final side.

‘‘I just thought I didn’t want to be in that environment and wanted to start afresh,’’ Walsh said.

Walsh says Moore’s personal experiences with battling the bulge makes his challenge to drop the weight easier.

‘‘It’s good to have someone who understands where I’m coming from, with him being 40kg heavier than he is now and knowing what it’s like to be big,’’ he said.

‘‘He knows we need help and that’s what he’s trying to do at the moment and I respect him for that.’’

Walsh is also hopeful he can resurrect his opportunity at the Knights as he is still eligible for their under-20 squad next season.

‘‘I’ve set myself a goal and I’m starting to get there and get my life back on track and 2014 should be a good year,’’ he said.

‘‘I get on with [recruitment and development manager] Peter Mulholland at the Knights. He said to give him a call when I get to the 100kg mark – I’d like to be there before Christmas, so I’m not too far away if I keep doing the right things,’’ he said.

HELPING OUT: Zac Walsh trains with Scorpions head coach Barrie Moore at Heaton Park. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

O’Connor set to announce deal

In demand: James O’Connor. Photo: Brendan EspositoDisgraced Wallabies winger James O’Connor will announce a short term deal with English Premiership side London Irish on Tuesday.

Fairfax Media understands the club and O’Connor will announce the marquee signing at their club headquarters at 10am on Tuesday (9pm Tuesday AEDT).

O’Connor was due to arrive in London on Monday. He tweeted on Sunday that he was “London bound for a few months to play some rugby”.

London bound for a few months to play some rugby, can’t wait.. see you soon Aus! Thanks for all the… http://t.co/BQSXAVyutp— James O’Connor (@JamesOConnor832) October 27, 2013

The exact length of the deal is not known, but O’Connor has made it clear he wants to return to Australia in time to make the Wallabies’ 2015 World Cup squad.

His contract with the Australian Rugby Union was terminated last month after a disciplinary investigation found he had failed to ”uphold the behavioural and cultural standards expected within the team”.

The investigation was sparked by an incident at Perth airport, in which a drunk O’Connor was banned from boarding a flight to Bali and escorted from the terminal the morning after he played on the wing in the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship win against Argentina.

The ARU suspended the 44-Test winger, later announcing he would not be offered a Wallabies “top-up” in 2014 but would be eligible to sign with an Australian Super Rugby team.

He had been clubless since the middle of the year, when he and the Rebels decided not to renew his contract with the Melbourne side.

O’Connor was in advanced talks to join the Western Force but the deal did not materialise, O’Connor instead announcing he would head overseas.

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