It’s a movement: Permablitz the Gong

Rebecca Mayhew, Sheryl Wiffen, Kristy Newton, and Jacqui Besgrove in a permaculture garden. Picture: DAVE TEASEFirst there was Backyard Blitz and now there’s Permablitz.
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Without the need for prime-time TV coverage, a group of Wollongong people have banded together to form Permablitz the Gong, a volunteer movement spreading across the country after the first group was formed in Melbourne in 2006.

Permablitz the Gong was born on May 6 this year, coinciding with National Permaculture Day.

A Permablitz is a sustainable garden makeover in which a group of people create or add to gardens and nature strips, turning lawns into highly nutritious, edible landscapes and showing permaculture in action.

Participants are also finding Permablitz gatherings an excellent way to socialise with like-minded gardeners.

A group of participants recently returned to the West Wollongong home of Sheryl Wiffen to see how her backyard had grown since a Permablitz makeover three months ago.

Permablitz the Gong’s Jacqui Besgrove, Kristy Newton, Rebecca Mayhew and Wiffen look out across the nutritious backyard which includes bananas, paw-paws, tangillos, mangoes, a vegetable patch, a chook house and compost heap.

Wiffen explains she has always dreamed of having a “food forest” after being inspired while travelling overseas four years ago. “I just started planting fruit trees, but it’s isolating if you’re a gardener and the rest of the family isn’t.”

A group of about 30 people, including the four women, turned the garden around in just one day. Weeds were removed, no-dig veggie patches were established, and a chicken house, frog pond and compost bays were built.

“The day was a showcase of social permaculture at its best with everyone sharing skills related to permaculture and sustainable living and building community networks,” Besgrove says.

Permablitzes are free and open to everyone regardless of skill level and people can come and help for an hour or the day.

Newton enjoyed the benefits of a Permablitz at her garden earlier this month, saying the family now made much better use of the space.

“Growing food makes you really aware of growing things in season,” Newton says.

The social benefits were also obvious. “There were people in my street I’d never met before who came and helped,” she says.

Besgrove adds that Permablitz helped spread the word to eat locally and nutritiously. Members also buy their seedlings from the Friday Crown St mall markets and bring plants and cuttings to each others’ gardens.

Permablitzes are held every three months, with the next makeover in Mangerton in November. To attend, or for information about Permablitz the Gong email [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训

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Dragons won’t decide captain until next season

Dragons captain Ben Hornby announces his retirement from rugby league last week. Picture: DAVE TEASESt George Illawarra will reserve judgment on who captains the club next year until veterans Ben Hornby and Dean Young are given their final farewells on Sunday.
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Second-rower Ben Creagh, who is poised to take on more seniority in Hornby and Young’s absence, believes it would be inappropriate if players bought into growing speculation on the issue.

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‘‘It’s not something I’ve really thought about or discussed out of respect for Benny Hornby,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve still got one game to go. He’s the captain and he still will be until we go back to training in October for pre-season.

‘‘The senior players will have a chat to Pricey and we’ll decide how we go forward from there. Otherwise, Benny Hornby’s the captain now and that’s how we’re going to keep it.’’

The Dragons hope to send out two of their most loyal servants with a win against 16th-placed Parramatta.

The same can be said for the Eels, with club stalwarts Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt also calling time on their decorated stints in the top grade.

The Dragons teetered on finals contention throughout the back half of the season but ultimately relinquished their bid during a round-24 scrap with North Queensland, which they lost.

The side bounced back from a severe bout of gastroenteritis to beat the Warriors comprehensively last weekend, and centre Matt Cooper hoped he could play a part in helping them finish on a strong note against Parramatta.

‘‘I haven’t had the best year and have had some bad luck with injuries,’’ Cooper said. ‘‘It’s been a bit frustrating. I want to get involved as much as I can and send them off as winners.

‘‘I’m feeling fit and hopefully we can put in a good performance this week and go into pre-season a bit earlier and work on things we struggled with this year.’’

Five-eighth Jamie Soward said the side was more determined than ever to bounce back, urging Dragons fans to support them.

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Illawarra Hawks lose Waratah crown

A 39-point eruption from captain Dan Jackson wasn’t enough to carry the Illawarra Hawks to victory in Saturday night’s elimination playoff against Sydney at the Snakepit.
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Despite leading at every change, the Hawks came unstuck in crunch time, going down 87-84 and bowing out of the championship race.

Illawarra finished fourth during the regular season and were confident of defending their Waratah Basketball League crown.

They followed the script for three quarters but couldn’t find enough scorers down the stretch.

‘‘It’s disappointing. If you’ve got the title, you always want to defend it,’’ Jackson said.

‘‘We thought we could win it from fourth spot again, but it just wasn’t our year. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough guys play as well as we could …’’

The Hawks had beaten the Comets by 10 in the final week of the season but Sydney got their revenge on Saturday.

Tom Dawson was the standout for the visitors with 18 points and a whopping 20 rebounds, while Blake Borgia had 23 points and and seven rebounds.

Aside from Jackson, guard Tyson Demos (15 points) was the only other Illawarra player in double figures, though he made just six of 23 field goals.

Zac Delaney tallied seven points, 12 assists and four steals, while Luke Dowson chipped in eight points.

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Hawks sign electrifying new import

If his flashy nickname is anything to go by, the Wollongong Hawks might have hit the jackpot with newly signed import Adris Deleon.
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Known on the New York playgrounds as ‘2Hard2Guard’, Deleon yesterday became the 11th and final player signed by the Hawks for the 2012-13 NBL season.

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Deleon debuted in Australia last season, averaging a team-high 16.2 points per game for the Gold Coast Blaze.

But the Blaze folded last month, allowing the Hawks to swoop on the electrifying 180cm guard.

One of the NBL’s best players last season, Deleon is represented by the same agent that looks after former Hawks import and 2011 NBL MVP Gary Ervin.

He earned his conspicuous nickname on the New York City street circuit after several show-stealing performances against NBA-calibre players.

‘‘Deleon is a proven player in the NBL,’’ Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod said. ‘‘We’re looking forward to him joining us in Wollongong soon and settling in with the group.

‘‘We looked at our group and what we needed to go with this season and we know what we’re getting with Deleon and what he can bring to the NBL. We feel our fans are going to enjoy his style of play and the charisma he brings on court.’’

Born in the Dominican Republic, Deleon moved with his family to New York at the age of nine.

He attended Eastern Washington University and has had professional playing stints in Spain and the Dominican Republic.

Deleon will arrive in Wollongong early next month and should be cleared to play in the NBL pre-season tournament in Melbourne in mid-September.

‘‘I love playing in Australia,’’ Deleon said.

‘‘The NBL is a great competition and I’m glad to be coming back and playing in Wollongong.

‘‘The Hawks are a great team already. I loved playing against them last year, but now to be joining these guys this season, I’m really looking forward to that …

‘‘Wollongong is a great spot, the fans are loud and I’m looking forward to playing in front of them this season.’’

Meanwhile, the Hawks improved their pre-season record to 3-0 with a 74-67 win over the Sydney Kings last Friday at Terrigal.

Oscar Forman tallied a team-high 21 points and Rhys Martin added 19. Larry Davidson had 13 points and five rebounds.

Tickets for the Hawks’ 2012-13 season-opener at home against the Kings are on sale from Thursday.

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Wests Illawarramayturn down promotion

District League champions Wests Illawarra have ruled out a switch to the Illawarra Premier League – even before a ball has been kicked in the promotion play-off.
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Wests president Paul Boscaro told the Mercury yesterday the rejuvenated outfit didn’t yet have the financial muscle to compete with some of the IPL’s cashed-up clubs.

It leaves Woonona as the only second-tier side in line to replace the already-relegated Picton, but Sharks officials also remained coy on whether they would seek promotion to the IPL.

Wests completed a remarkable turnaround, winning the Peoplecare District League title this season despite being on the brink of collapse two years ago.

Boscaro, while acknowledging the region’s top competition remained firmly on his club’s long-term agenda, said next year’s potential promotion had come too soon.

‘‘Financially we can’t afford it as we really need to get more sponsors on board,’’ Boscaro said. ‘‘For next year it is [100 per cent no].

‘‘We took it on as a three-to five-year plan – three years to see how we go to keep the club going and within five years I’d love to be in Premier League.

‘‘As the years go on if we can get a bit more help with running the club we’ll definitely be looking at premier league.’’

Wests and Woonona will meet in the first leg of the promotion play-off at Memorial Park on Friday night. The return fixture will be played the following Tuesday.

Woonona president Frank Shaw said his club would await the result of the two legs before consulting further with their playing group.

‘‘We’re going out to win it if we can and then we’ll make a decision,’’ Shaw said.

‘‘Realistically if we win it, there are some for and there are some against [promotion]. We’ll just sit down with the coaches and the rest of the committee once we’ve spoken to more players.’’

The Sharks have already had to clear space in the trophy cabinet after their first, reserve and youth grade sides cruised to their respective league titles.

Thirroul won both the reserve and youth grade titles in the Peoplecare District League.

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Stingrays captain leads from the front

Captain Michelle Carney sparked a second-half scoring blitz to lead the Illawarra Stingrays to an emphatic 4-1 defeat of Sydney University in Sunday’s qualifying semi-final.
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The teams were level 0-0 when Carney broke the deadlock five minutes after half-time.

Sydney replied soon after with a lucky equaliser from Jenna Kingsley but the Stingrays immediately launched another attack that ended with Caitlin Cooper being chopped down in the penalty box.

Midfielder Ann Mayo stepped up and calmly banged in the spot-kick for a 2-1 lead.

Mayo was in the right place at the right time minutes later to score her second, while the irrepressible Carney completed the scoring with a 90th-minute goal.

‘‘Our first-half performance was equally as good as the second. We just couldn’t hit the back of the net in the first half,’’ Illawarra coach Steve Marsh said.

‘‘We created three absolute clear goal-scoring opportunities, but whether it was nerves or not we fluffed the finishes.

‘‘The first-half performance set us up. We put them under a lot of pressure very early in the game and that put them on the back foot. From there the girls basically dominated the game.

‘‘It was a great team performance. That’s the key. If you’ve got 11 players firing all at the same time, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.’’

Marsh made special mention of the inspirational Carney.

‘‘Michelle Carney’s been outstanding for several weeks but hasn’t really been able to find the back of the net, but she clinically took the first chance she got in the second half,’’ Marsh said.

‘‘She was absolutely superb. It’s hard to understand why she’s still not playing international football when she puts in performances like that.

‘‘She’s the complete club and team player for me, a captain without fear or favour.’’

Illawarra missed out on a fourth straight minor premiership but their hunger for a fourth consecutive grand final triumph hasn’t waned.

The Stingrays advanced to Sunday’s major semi-final against Macarthur and are optimistic.

‘‘We beat them comprehensively in the first round and they turned it around and beat us comprehensively in the second round,’’ Marsh said.

‘‘We can both play an exciting brand of football and both play an open game. I expect that to be exactly the same on Sunday.

‘‘Both teams still get another bite of the cherry, but for me, we’re not interested in coming second.’’

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