The Bay Sheffield is over for another year. The local favourite Ryan Atkins proved too good. When compiling the form guide I had Atkins and Joel Bee as my top picks. Bee didn’t run up to expectations, beaten in his semi by a smokie named Liam Moss. On Sunday Bee performed better, running 3rd (off 0.75m) in the Burnie Gift final. Sanderson-Milera and Jarvis were always in my top six and ended up on the podium.
Moss and Sheffield were a fair way off the pace at the Pre-Bay Gift meeting at Colley Reserve in early December and had no real 120m Gift form so they got under everyone’s guard. Victorian Harrison Kerr won the 120m Restricted and ran 2nd in the 70m on Day One of the carnival. After that I had elevated him to one of the top six.
The Burnie Gift (New Year’s Day) went to Burnie local Jorden Englund. First win by a Burnie resident for a long time. Englund’s coach is an octogenarian named John McLaren who basically lives for the Burnie and Stawell Gifts. He’s been involved with three Burnie Gift winners, the last one was Gary Wescombe in in 1978. I could not imagine what it must have been like for old Macca, a Burnie legend, to coach a Burnie Gift winner 39 years after his last one.
John McLaren may well have the greatest collection of Hope Sweeney hand made leather spikes in the world. He has a cupboard full of them – all in pristine condition.
What the Form Guide said about the 2016 Bay Sheffield finalists.
1st – Ryan Atkins (SA) 7.50m
He has made the last four Gift finals, Port Adelaide (2nd), Sacred Heart (2nd), PreBay (4th) and 4th at Brighton. At PreBay he ran 12.47 in heat, semi & final. Not quick early, but like a VF Commodore he looks controlled & smooth suggesting there’s more to give. If he gets the engine going from the gun, expect a big finish. The VF Commodore won the Supercar series so watch him motor away!
2nd – Tjimarri Sanderson-Milera (QLD) 4.50m
Runner up in the 2016 Stawell Gift (12.19s off 5.75m) he made the 2014 Bay Sheffield final. Ran a very quick 21.30sec for 200m in February. Looks to be in excellent shape taking out the Beach Sprint/Beach Flags double in the Fastest Man on Sand competition at Coolangatta in December. One of the favourites.
3rd – Evan Jarvis (WA) 11.00m
29yo coached by Matt Barber who had a few years away from the sport after winning the 2003 and 2006 Mullewa Gifts and 2003 Bay Sheffield 70m. Returned last year to make the Bay Sheffield semis (12.95s off 10.00m). In November he ran 11.33sec (100m) which would make him very competitive in this. One of the better interstate chances and is a huge chance off the limit.
4th – Liam Moss (SA) 6.50m
Has a hand 100m PB of 11.01sec. Ran a very wind assisted 10.7 early in the season. Has only had the one SAAL start – at the PreBay running 12.87s off 6.50m. He finished well off the pace. Another good Irish name reminds me of what old Seamus use to say: “As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.” Needs a lot going for him to get among the big boys here.
5th – Lachlan Sheffield (SA) 7.75m
Will be trying to become the first person with the name Sheffield to win the Sheffield. Also, would become the first Lachlan. Had some injury issues in the past but tuned up with a solid win in the Novice 70m at Brighton. At PreBay he was 3m away in his Gift heat (12.79s off 7.75m). At his last Bay Sheffield start (2014) he ran 2nd (12.65s off 8.25m) in a semi-final. Will play a very good support role for the WASPS’s headline act – Ryan Atkins. Will be aiming for a semi-final this year.
6th – Harrison Kerr (VIC) 10.00m
Another recent addition to Team Fiedler who joins with pretty good credentials having won the Ringwood 70m open, Ballarat Under 17’s 70m and Keilor 70m open (7.63s off 8.0m). He was 3rd in the Under 17’s 100m at Stawell. (10.70s off 9.25m). Last start, he had a big day at Northcote where he ran 6th in his 100m semifinal (10.83s off 8.25m), 8th in the 70m and 3rd in the 400m. On form he should go very well in the Under 18’s 120m, a race the stable won last year. But not the big one.