Weekend sport preview - July 26 and 27

SOME of the heavyweights of racing in NSW were at the Bushland Drive track today (Friday, July 25)  for the official opening of the Don Hopkins Gateway.

Racing NSW chairman John Messara and CEO Peter V'Landys, board members Ken Brown and Kevin Green, Country Racing CEO Brian Judd and chairman Bob Pavitt joined members of the Hopkins family at the opening that started at 11.30am. Mr Hopkins was on the board of the Taree-Wingham club for 36 years and was a great advocate for country racing.

There was a TAB meeting at the track in the afternoon.

One of the major events on Manning Cycle Club's calendar, the One Day Tour, will be conducted on Saturday (tomorrow).

This will be run in three stages at Central Lansdowne, Lansdowne Road and finally at the criterium track at Taree Recreation Centre.

Old Bar Pirates will host Group Three Rugby League competition leaders Wauchope on Saturday. The Pirates and Wingham are currently locked in third place, one ahead of Port Macquarie.

Port should beat Taree City in the match at Port Macquarie on Saturday.

On Sunday Wingham makes the trip to Kempsey to play Macleay Valley while Port City and Forster-Tuncurry clash at Tuncurry.

There'll be some important games in the Football Mid North Coast Premier League on Saturday, none more so than at Old Bar, where the Barbarians meet Wingham.

Wingham's currently in last spot and a loss to the Barbarians almost certainly means they'll be playing in the promotion/relegation game on premier league grand final day.

Old Bar is second last and can book a berth in the league next year by taking some points from the match.

In other games Taree plays Port United at Taree, competition leader Wallis Lake clash with Port FC at Forster, Camden Haven tackle Port Saints at Laurieton and Kempsey Saints battle with Macleay Valley at Kempsey.

Injuries are starting to take a toll on teams in Lower North Coast Rugby.

Forster have their troubles going into Saturday's game against Gloucester while beleaguered Old Bar will be minus key players for the clash with Manning Ratz at Old Bar.

Wallamba host Myall Coast in the other fixture.

Taree West Bowling Club's popular Bailey/Cuell tournament will be played on Saturday.

Meanwhile two Manning hockey stalwarts have returned from the Australian Masters Championship, held in Darwin, with gold medals.

Katrina Hayes was a member of the winning NSW 50s side. The Blues beat Western Australia in a penalty shoot out in the final.

Tony Lewis coached the NSW women's 45s to the title for the second successive year.

He was later named assistant coach of the Australian 45s team.