Long-time participants crowned first time champions, a record breaking number of team entries and an astonishing $120,000 raised for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
It was the sweetest of victory for the 2019 Men’s Champions the Wambo Wolves after finally securing their first win after many finals appearances during the past several years. In our ladies competition, the Valley Vixen battled it and finally claimed a win over rival Hunter Hawkettes at this year’s A-Plus Contracting Hunter Valley Mining Charity Rugby League Day, last Saturday in Singleton.
Following some ‘serious training’ sessions and a determination to play with the pride for their Wambo mine site, the Wolves battled it out with the reigning champions the Bengalla Badgers, until the final minutes, in a convincing 13 - 8 grand final win. Whilst the Valley Vixens were victorious over the Hunter Hawkettes in a hard fought 2–1 series victory in the third annual ‘Women in Mining’ series.
Undeniably the biggest winner on the day was the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, with a record breaking $120,000 raised, bring total funds raised during the past six years of this event to a total of $412,000.
Organised by the Singleton Volunteer Support Group for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, this year’s event saw over 450 mining employees come together to make up the 23 teams competing in the rugby league 10’s competition.
Event Coordinator and Community Liaison Officer for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service Danny Eather said he is just astounded by the continued support of the both the business community and the wider community in supporting this event.
“We knew that this year was going to be big on the field with 23 teams participating, however we just never anticipated it to be so big off the field with $120,000 to be raised from this single day event”
“Sometimes you question whether or not the support for an event will dwindle away, however this is not the case with the Charity Rugby League Day, each year it just seems to get bigger and better. Our team of committed volunteers have worked hard to establish this event to be a highly anticipated event on the local sporting calendar” Mr Eather said.
More than 80 local businesses supported the teams to help their fundraising targets with major sponsorship secured from A-Plus Contracting along with Jennings Print, Pirtek, TyreDoctor, Mine Super, Pirtek, Slater & Gordon, Aletek, NSW Mining, Mader NSW Yancoal Mt Thorley Warkworth, Bowers Heavy Haulage, Hunter Valley Operations, Hunter Isuzu Ute, OilTest, Coal Services, Imperial Hotel, ISC, @The Coalface and the Imperial Hotel.
Coal Services Mines Rescue, Group 21 Rugby League Referees Association, Singleton Rugby League Club and the Singleton Rotary and Lions clubs all provided in-kind support and assistance on the day.
The Upper Hunter community, and the mining sector, are well aware of vital work that the Rescue Helicopter undertakes within our region continue to be extremely supportive of fundraising events such as the Charity Rugby League Day to ensure that the rescue helicopter is available 24-7.
Many of the representatives from each of the 23 participating teams where on hand this past Friday afternoon at the Imperial Hotel, Singleton for the official competition pools draw of the A-Plus Contracting Hunter Valley Mining Charity Rugby League Day.
Given the popularity of the event the pools structure has had to take on a alternative structure in 2019 with Pools A & B comprising of 6 teams, Pool C of 5 teams and Pool D of 4 teams. The uneven number of team in Pool C will see two teams (Mount Pleasant Phoenix & HV United Cobras) play three games due uneven numbers. This will also mean that the three remaining teams will be provided 1 additional point to make it equitable. It is worth noting that point differences played consider role in deciding pool winners in 2018.
We are also excited to have the additional of our 'Women in Mining Series' which will see the Hunter Hawkettes and Valley Vixens battle it out during a best of 3 series.
Coal miners throughout the Hunter Valley and beyond have begun training in preparation for this year’s A-Plus Contracting Hunter Valley Mining Charity Rugby League Day in support of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
Each year the event continues to grow in popularity and this year a record 400 coal mining employees will make up the 23 teams that will represent their respective mines and compete in the rugby league competition at Singleton’s Pirtek Park on October 19.
This year, several new teams will be joining men’s competition with teams even travelling from Lake Macquarie, Mudgee and Narrabri. As well as the much-anticipated “Women of Mining Series” which will see 30 of the regions female miners hit it out in a best of three series.
Last year the day raised $85,000 for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service with a record breaking number of spectators attending and all signs point to another successful event this year. Event Organiser and the Service’s Community Liaison Officer, Danny Eather believes that this year’s competition is shaping up to be the best so far.
“With the addition of the new teams to the event from mine site both in the Hunter Valley and beyond, there is a lot of interest in what the new teams will bring to the day’s games. Equally it reinforces the importance that the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service has in providing vital lifesaving assistance in the regional communities” said Mr. Eather.
“As a Service, we are extremely grateful for the continued support we receive from our local mining community, who ensure that the Rescue Helicopter can continue to fly 24-7, especially when we average over 1,500 mission yearly throughout Northern NSW from our three bases in Newcastle, Tamworth and Lismore.” He added.
In the meantime, representatives from all teams with gather at the Imperial Hotel, Singleton next Friday (Sept 27) for a team briefing and draw the all-important team pools for the day’s competition draw.
About the event:
The A-Plus Contracting Hunter Valley Mining Charity Rugby League Day is an annual fundraising event for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. The event will take place at Pirtek Park, Singleton on Saturday 19th October with the first game kicking off at 8.30am. Thank you to event partners A-Plus Contracting, Jennings Print, Mine Super, Pirtek, Slater & Gordon, Tyre Doctor, Aletek, NSW Mining, Mader NSW, Yancoal Mount Thorley Warkworth, Bowers Heavy Haulage, Coal Services, Hunter Isuzu, Hunter Valley Operations, Oiltest and At The Coalface.
Following the success of last year's event, the event committee have decided that it is was in the best interest of all to ensure that the 2019 A-Plus Contracting Hunter Valley Mining Charity Rugby League Knockout Competition Day is held away from the weekends that conflict with national sporting events and selected October 19th as the date for the sixth annual event.
The committee is also pleased to announce that the will take place at the home of Singleton Rugby League, Pirtek Park. The Singleton Rugby League Club have been fantastic supporters of the event and we look forward to another successful event in 2019.
2019 is set to provide an exciting day of rugby league action as our teams of local miners swap their work boots for footy boots as they compete against each other to be crowned Champions. Whilst supporting the vital live saving work undertaken by the crews of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service within our community 24-7.
Team registrations will open in March 2019.