Jacob O’Shea sprints up the beach at the Branch Junior Championships.
Jacob O’Shea sprints up the beach at the Branch Junior Championships. Contributed

Annual appeal off with a bang

THE main focus for all local lifesavers this weekend will be on going house-to-house door-knocking and asking for donations, as our annual Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) Surf Safe Appeal gets underway with a bang.

Hopefully you will see our lifesavers about the streets and business in Bundaberg and Agnes Water - if you do, please give generously.

The only lifesaving competition in the state this weekend will be the 2011 Queensland Interbranch Championships, which is being held on Friday evening for pool rescue competition events and Saturday for ocean and beach events at Kirra Beach.

Competition will be held between the four regions of SLSQ - Queensland Country (including local lifesavers), Sunshine Coast, South Coast and Point Danger.

Sunshine Coast is expected to be the team to beat this year after winning a tight battle with South Coast last year, while Queensland Country finished third overall in 2010 and will be looking to at least maintain its position this year.

Several local lifesavers will represent Queensland Country - Matthew Davis (Moore Park), Braydon and Riley Batt (Elliott Heads), and Jacob O'Shea, Joshua Finnis, Bonnie Stehbens, Annelise Wesley and Jeremy Rethamel (Bundaberg).

All competitors have great chances for success at the titles, especially our beach competitors - Braydon Batt, Wesley, O'Shea and Riley Batt.

Braydon is a great chance of claiming the beach sprint and flags double for the under-17 males, while Wesley will be one of the favourites for the U17 female sprint, but Riley Batt could well be an underdog with an also great chance of performing well in the U14 female flags and sprint events.

All-rounder O'Shea is also expected to perform well - not only in the U14 male beach events but also in the pool rescue events, where he will be joined by club-mate Joshua Finnis, who will also be one of the leading contenders in the U14 male ocean events.

Recent Australian Pool Rescue Championships' medallists Stehbens and Rethamel will be hard to beat in their U17 pool rescue events but will face stiff competition from other Australian championships' medallists in their age groups.

Matthew Davis will be another expected to shine in the U17 pool rescue and ocean events, with the surf race and ironman being his best chances for success.

Local lifesavers were also in great form last weekend at several competitions across Queensland, with our beachies competing in round three of the Fastest Man on Sand Series at Redcliffe and others in round two of the WBC Branch Premiership Series at Agnes Water.

Leading the charge at Redcliffe were Braydon Batt and Annelise Wesley, who both recorded impressive victories.

Batt claimed the U17 male sprint and flags double in dynamic style and these results must surely put him firmly in the mind for the Queensland selectors who will shortly announce the team to compete at the 2012 Australian Interstate Championships.

Wesley also recorded an impressive victory in the U17 female sprint against a classy field and that puts her in good form for the Interbranch competition.

She will also be in the sights of the Queensland selectors, but will need to improve on her flags results (sixth place last weekend) to hopefully secure a spot in the team.

Brothers Christopher and Martin Powell and Riley Batt also competed well for Elliott Heads at Redcliffe.

Christopher finished runner-up to Braydon Batt in the U17 male flags before claiming fifth position in the sprint.

Proving that the beachie blood runs in the families, his younger brother Martin claimed third in the U-12 male flags and Batt's younger sister Riley took fourth in the U14 female sprint and sixth in the flags.

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