A Bream Bay firefighter was the quickest Northlander up 51 flights of stairs wearing full firefighting apparatus during last weekend's Sky Tower firefighting challenge.

Paul Austin from the Refinery NZ Marsden 22 Brigade was seventh in the Masters grade and 26th overall in 11 minutes 54 seconds, leading the way for his team which came 11th overall.

Ruakaka Volunteer Fire Brigade's Oscar Channings was 22nd in the Open grade and 32nd overall, in a time of 12 minutes, 16 seconds, with the Ruakaka team coming in 14th place.

Waipu's Lyndie Mullins was the second Grand Masters grade female across the line.

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Marsden 22 brigade (from left) Russell Gavin, Jono Hoori, Andy Hughes, Paul Austin, Kaden Hunter and Isaac O'Grady study the Sky Tower ahead of the climb. The team's air tanks carry a photo of Reverend Dr Richard Spence, a colleague's father. PHOTO/BRENT AUSTIN
Marsden 22 brigade (from left) Russell Gavin, Jono Hoori, Andy Hughes, Paul Austin, Kaden Hunter and Isaac O'Grady study the Sky Tower ahead of the climb. The team's air tanks carry a photo of Reverend Dr Richard Spence, a colleague's father. PHOTO/BRENT AUSTIN

Ruakaka's chief fire officer Darrell Trigg said it was a great event as always. "It was fantastic. A good effort from everyone. Jason Tanner did a really good time on his first climb, and we made heaps of money."

He was happy his team drew one of the early slots and were away climbing by 8am – sometimes they've had to wait until 11am for their turn.

He was less happy with his own time – hoping to beat his last year's effort of 18 minutes by at least a second due to improved fitness, he was stymied after having to take a painkiller for a sore knee, and instead came home in 24 minutes.

"It was really frustrating – I got half way and my breathing rate and heart rate went through the roof, so I had to have a breather."

He soldiered on to the top. "I took it to knock the edge off, but just about knocked the edge off myself."

Trigg says competition for the 950 available climbing spots is fierce. "It's like a rock concert – it sells out in about 10 to 15 minutes. It's pretty popular."

This year the firefighters climbing the Sky Tower raised more than $1.2 million for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.

Boost for referee numbers

Bream Bay United Football Club has worked during the past two years to combat the challenge of not having enough referees, by developing their own club-based referees.

Bream Bay level 1 referees (from left): Thomas Jacobson, Rhys Davies, Jess Andrews, Jack Boakes. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Bream Bay level 1 referees (from left): Thomas Jacobson, Rhys Davies, Jess Andrews, Jack Boakes. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

"There has been a specific focus of looking to our youth players in order to develop their knowledge of the rules and to give back to the game," said club secretary Robyn Davies.

"Our vision is that these players can start reffing now and develop their confidence in junior/youth games, enabling us to have a far larger pool of referees down the track rather than just trying to convince parents to take up the whistle."

Twenty-two youngsters have now qualified as club-based referees and 14 have gone on to become Level 1 referees.

"This enables us to schedule referees for all junior games played at home, allowing parents and coaches to just watch their kids play," said Davies.

Bream Bay now has more certified referees per player than any other club in NZ.

Davies says sponsorship from NorthPort means the club can continue to support these referees for all junior and youth home games plus extend their development into senior games, when NFF rostered referees are not available.

"We also expect the number of certified referees to grow with the next training courses soon to kick off".

She says the club has received fantastic feedback and support from all coaches, teams and parents on the side-lines.

"We have seen the success of this program develop the confidence of these young referees who become excellent role models for the younger players".

Cross-country results

Rain held off for Bream Bay College's cross-country this week, run as usual on the nearby Holland farm.

Teacher Daniel Harrington (left) starts the cross-country race with Bream Bay senior students. PHOTO/MIKE SWORDS
Teacher Daniel Harrington (left) starts the cross-country race with Bream Bay senior students. PHOTO/MIKE SWORDS

Sports co-ordinator Megan Carran is grateful to Steve Holland for allowing the school to use his property for the race.

Results were:
Senior - girls: 1 Grace Van Cingel , 2 Ashleigh Kramer, 3 Rose Linton; boys: 1 Paul Linton, 2 Cory Paterson, 3 Tom Norton; intermediate - girls: 1 Kayla Carter, 2 Abby Wright, 3 Summer Babe-Vercoe; boys: 1 Tai McCullum, 2 Jack Boakes, 3 Thomas Jacobson; junior - girls: 1 Amy Swanson, 2 Annalise Rickey, 3 Emma Gorrie; boys: 1 Ryan Paterson, 2 Ryan Andrews, 3 Hunter Dobson; subjunior - girls: 1 Ashleigh Piggot, 2 Ebony Antony-Connor, 3 Caitlin McCullough; boys: 1 Harris Lymburn, 2 Liam Thornhill, 3 James Lynch.

Antiques fair

The mid-year Waipu Antiques and Collectables Fair is just around the corner, on June 3 from 9.30am to 4pm at Waipu's Coronation Hall.

Organiser Leigh Butler promises something for everyone at the fair, from small jewellery pieces to large unique and restyled items.

A feature of this year's fair will be some unusual industrial lampshades, and Crown Lynn items.

Some stalls are still available for people wanting to clear their own estates or personal items. Contact Leigh on 022 494 2008.

■ Email Julie Paton at moojoy@xtra.co.nz if you've got Bream Bay news to share with Northern Advocate readers.