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Separate courtplanned for domestic violence

LAUNCH: Sophie Cotsis, fourth from left, and colleagues mark International Women’s Day. Picture: Jonathan CarrollA COURT specialising in domestic violence and sexual assault will be trialled in the Hunter if Labor is elected.

Opposition spokeswoman for women Sophie Cotsis, armed with the region’s five women candidates and Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison, unveiled the party’s plans to stop domestic violence and improve support for victims in Newcastle on Sunday.

Ms Cotsis said unveiling the plans on International Women’s Day confirmed the party’s desire to prevent violence against women with policy that ‘‘catches victims at every step’’.

Labor would spend $14.5million to support women’s refuges, counselling services and programs focused on preventing violence and helping men to change their behaviour.

A Premier’s Council for Women would be set up to advise the government, and the Office of Women would again become part of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The plans would also bring stronger penalties for breaching apprehended violence orders, and protection for victims under the Anti-Discrimination Act.

Ms Cotsis said the party introduced five days’ paid domestic violence leave in 2009, and would double it to further support victims.

‘‘Domestic violence and sexual assault takes over their life psychologically, mentally, socially … We’re looking at this from a co-ordinated approach – increasing the awareness that we need to change behaviour and stop violence against women,’’ she said.

Cricket: VRI takes time for 17 runs

ALEX Wallis and lower-order bat Lachlan Isbister relished a chance to relax and make some runs for VRI Delacombe on Saturday.

VRI was well and truly in control against fellow finals contender Ballan when play resumed at Delacombe in Ballarat Cricket Association district division one.

All VRI needed was 17 runs to claim victory and polish off the minor premiership. VRI lost its fifth wicket in the process but, once victory was secure, chose to bat out the afternoon.

Wallis, who guided his team to the win, reached a half-century and Isbister reinforced his own batting form with 41.

VRI captain James Nichols said the win was a great all-round confidence boost leading into finals.

Anthony Creati nabbed 3-30 off 8.5 overs and Lachlan Isbister claimed 3-4 off 5.1 to blow apart Ballan on day one.

Blues’ bowler Michael Snaith headlined the opposition attack, taking 5-52 in reply.

Wallis and Jeromy Johnston formed a 49-run partnership for the sixth wicket that safely guided VRI past the Blues’ tally.

Division one competition is notoriously tight and while VRI tops the ladder at the regular season’s end, Nichols knows his team is far from safe.


VRI DELACOMBE 51 premiership points, 1.3156 percentage; BURRUMBEET 42, 1.4458; BALLAN 40, 1.0699; LUCAS 30, 0.9280; Buninyong 27, 0.8240; Dunnstown 24, 0.6010.

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Mudfest tickets on sale

Tickets for the 11th annual MudFest Short Film Festival on Saturday, March 21 are now available. For the past 10 years the Mid-Western region has laughed, cried and loved thanks to filmmakers from around Australia and around the world at the annual MudFest short film festival.

Now in its 11th year, the outdoor event will be held on the grounds of Bunnamagoo Estate on Saturday, March 21.

This year is set to be the biggest yet and will feature the largest screen ever used to show Mudfest entries.

Guests will be treated to 15 short films chosen by the committee from more than a 100 entries that will span genres from comedy and humour, to drama, documentaries, and thrillers.

In the past 11 years, MudFest has become an international occasion with the festival attracting attention from more than 36 countries including Spain, France, the UK, the United States, and of course, Australia.

MudFest was the first international short film festival outside of Sydney when it began, with 50 guests crammed into the Butcher Shop Cafe on Church Street. Since then it has screen BAFTA Award winning films, and was featured at the Australia Day G’Day Week Celebrations in Los Angeles on more than one occasion.

“Mudgee Region has always been an avid supporter of the arts, and creating our very own film festival is a strong example of this. We’ve featured some amazing films in the past but this year has one of the strongest line-ups we’ve ever presented” MudFest Co-Founder Mike O’Malley said.

With the films split into two screening sessions, guests at the event are able to sample some of Bunnamago’s best wine and taste test dishes from some of the region’s best cooks throughout the night while deliberating on the best movie shown so far.

Cara George, CEO of Mudgee Region Tourism, said the event was the ideal setting to showcase the country charm that Mudgee is well known for.

MudFest tickets cost $30 per person, and gates will open at 5 pm.

The evening will begin with live music, followed by a screening that is set to run for approximately two hours.

Guests may purchase food or bring a picnic dinner and rug along and festival directors are encouraging everyone to bring along a jacket for when the sun goes down.

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Redbacks pip Old Boys at top

NORTH Tamworth claimed the minor premiership with an outright win over City at Chaffey Park as Bective beat Old Boys at No 1 Oval to allow the Redbacks to reclaim their spot at the top, while South Tamworth showed they are still a force when they outrighted a dismal West Tamworth at Dick Edwards Oval.

Ben Middelbrook puts his back into this one as he tried to hit Old Boys back into minor premiership contention on Saturday to no avail. Photo: Gareth Gardner 070315GGE07

The final day of the final round games was drama- packed across Tamworth’s questionable wickets, where 150 is now a winning total and the bowlers are enjoying more success than they were allowed at the start of theseason.

Last week the Redbacks had their foot on City’s throat, having them 6-23 at stumps chasing 156, and they didn’t let it off this week.

It didn’t get any better for City as they were bowled out for just 43 in the first innings, Terry Kampe top-scoring with just seven.

Their position was made worse by the fact that they were only playing with ten as Redbacks skipper Michael Rixon sent them back in.

Only the two Dans, Whale (41) and Lawrence (31), put up any resistance and managed a decent partnership but had no other support whatsoever.

Four fours, three ducks and a one made up the rest of the book, and summed up City’s inconsistent year as they crashed out of finals contention and the season, all out for 105.

Across the river at No 1 Oval, current premiers Old Boys only needed first innings points to sew up another minor premiership.

They resumed at 1-30 also chasing 156, but soon ran into trouble as Col Smyth got some wind in his sails.

Smyth took Aaron Hazlewood’s wicket last week and had Abel Carney caught behind soon afer play resumed.

Lachie Davidson chimed in, trapping Adam Lole in front, and then a stroke of luck changed the game.

When Simon Norvill was run out by Justin Kellett for one run, Old Boys seemed to lose momentum and, despite a desperate and inspiring effort from Ben Middlebrook to get them going again, Smyth kept answering the question, eventually finishing with 6-67 from 22 overs after bowling right through.

Middlebrook finished with 64 although, like City, there were only two batsmen with double figures as they were all out for 120.

Bective went back in and occupied the crease to finish at 6-113, content to take the confidence and momentum of beating the premiers into the finals.

Wests were another side that fell cheaply, with the game barely going an hour into play this week before Souths claimed the outright.

Wests resumed at 4-16 and 66 chasing 143 and were toppled again to be all out for 54, Tim Kensell’s 32 not out the only shining light and the only score above 5, as Angus McNeill routed them to also finish with six.

The results mean that Bective will play South at Dick Edwards Oval in the minor semi next weekend, while minor premiers North will meet current premiers Old Boys at No 1 in the major semi.

Both games will be played Saturday and Sunday, with play starting at 1pm both days.

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We need to lift, says East Armidale skipper

EASTS captain Sam Uphill had a frank message for his troops following a first innings loss in the last two-day round game against Hillgrove on Saturday.

Easts captain Sam Uphill was disappointed in the way the minor premiers played in their loss to Hillgrove on Saturday.

“If we were playing in a final today we would have lost it,” Uphill said.

As it was they lost on first innings points anyway, but the message was clear.

“We bowled all right but our fielding wasn’t good enough and we were terrible with the bat,” Uphill said.

Easts resumed nine down and still needing 40 runs to beat Hillgrove’s first innings total of 142.

They failed to add to the scorebook before being bowled out in the second over of the day and sent back in.

The second time around they did a lot better, with a couple of batsmen getting starts and at least seeing the bowlers off to be 6-150 when the game was called off.

Hillgrove will play City next week for the chance to play Easts in the final, but the Easts skipper said they have plenty of work to do if they want to compete.

“Hillgrove are very hard to beat and would be harder still in the final because they have some big-game players,” Uphill said.

“We stopped and had a chat and the message is that we need to turn up wanting to win the final.

“Whoever wants it more will win it.”

Stand-in City captain Brad Smith said the exact same thing of next week’s preliminary final after they finished off second best against Ex-Services who pulled out a good performance in their final match of the year.

“It will be whoever wants it more on the day,” Smith said.

After dismissing Ex-Services for 126 the week before, City resumed at 2-38 and matched Ex-Services before sending them back in to try for an outright in order to finish second in case it rains next week.

Ex Services captain Cody Graham made 102 not out in double time as he thrashed the ball all over the ground.

His opening batting partner, Will Green, was also not out at the end of play, on 15.

“There was a plethora of dropped catches and wickets off no balls today,” Smith said.

“Hillgrove have had the wood on us this season but I would back us in next week.

“We have a good attack and just need to score some runs.”

The final will be played over Saturday and Sunday next weekend at the Sportsground, starting at 1pm.

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