Strong surfing at Newcastle earns a finals berth

THE Port Macquarie Surfboard riders have made the Jim Beam National surftag finals, after strong performances in Newcastle.

Two teams were entered this year in the NSW north division to be among the record 23 entries. The team, along with supporters, travelled down by bus to Merewether Beach.

The teams were Mick Cain, Darren O’Rafferty, Matt Banting, Mick Campbell and Mitch Van Der Veer in team one, while Port two was Todd Bourke, Scott Lawrence, Wayne Morrison, Rhys Clark and Matt Jorgenson.

In the flat one to two foot waves both teams made it through to the four-team semis, with the top six teams qualifying for the nationals at Durranbah in April.

Port one was in the first semi, taking on Merewether one and two in the same heat. The boys surfed well, with a score that would have won the second semi, but was edged out into third by two points by the Merewether boys.

The second semi saw the boys up against former champs North Shelley, Central Coast powerhouse Avoca and the day’s surprise packet, Catherine Hill Bay. The boys were just behind in fourth place before an inspired effort from Clark and a tactical finish from Jorgenson saw the boys jump to second with minutes remaining.

It came down to a sprint up the beach from Catherine Hill, but they came up about 10 seconds short, putting the boys in the final.  The Port two team put in a great show in the final, but couldn’t match the might of the former divisional champ Merewether and North Shelley.

Any people or businesses who are interested in supporting the club financially in its quest for the national title can contact Terry Randall on 0428 422 419.

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