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Opera house nets to be banned in Victoria from July 2019

Opera house nets will be phased out and replaced with new open top lift nets. Picture: EDDIE JIMOPERA house netswill be banned in all public and private waters throughout Victoria from July 1, 2019.

The state government announced the reform on Monday.

Opera house nets are often used to catch yabbies. At the moment they can only be used in private inland waters such as farm dams where a three-net maximum applies.

They will be phased out and replaced with new open top lift nets.

Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford said the move aimed to benefit native animals such as platypus and turtles.

“Opera house nets have been placing our platypus population at risk and so it’s time for us to embrace different fishing gear that will catch just as many yabbies without impacting our precious wildlife,’’ she said.

The Victorian Fisheries Authority will work with the fishing tackle sector, anglers and environmental groups on an awareness campaign around ‘wildlife-friendly’ yabby gear.

People will be able to trade in their old opera nets for free open top lift nets through a one-for-one trade as part of the changes.

The Victorian Fisheries Authority said open top lift nets could be used in both public and private waters and were proven to be effective yabby catchers.

The authority said trials had indicated that wildlife-friendly gear such as open top lift nets and hoop nets could catch more yabbies than opera house nets when fished actively.

Ms Pulford said waterways including theGoulburn, Loddon and Campaspe rivers and Lake Eppalock were perfect for catching yabbies.

“When these alternative nets are set for one hour, lifted and reset they can catch a lot of yabbies,” she said.

Ballarat Courier

Renewables: taking care of businessOPINION

Moren businessesare making the switch to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy than ever before. Businesses big and small are embracing renewables in record numbers, with commercial solar installations jumping 60 per centover 2016 and 2017, according to SunWiz. The reason behind this solar surge? Skyrocketing electricity and energy costs. Many business decisions to invest in renewable energy have been driven by a need to escape the nation’s historically high power prices and to protect against future energy price hikes.

is home to exceptionally high electricity prices, driven up by massive over-investment in the poles and wires of the electricity network. High gas prices, a lack of competition and federal energy policy uncertainty have also played a role.

But the availability of low-cost renewable energy, like solar and wind generation is turning the tide for business. After all, we live in one of the sunniest and windiest nations in the world. is enjoying a renewable energy and battery storage boom, with more than5000 megawatts of projects such as wind and solar farms under construction this year. These projects will create 15,000 jobs, while also playing a role in driving down electricity prices.

Renewable energy has the power to reduce bills by providing businesses with electricity at a cheaper price than power from fossil fuels or the grid. Unlike expensive diesel and gas, the cost of renewable energy is still dropping, with the technology now so affordable that by building new wind and solar power plants businesses can significantly reduce their reliance on grid electricity. Renewable energy can protect businesses from volatile electricity prices.

Businesses are well aware of the benefits of renewable energy and they are leading by example. More than 130 major companies around the world have committed to going renewable, while 40 per centof non-energy businesses globally are considering investing in renewable energy and storage technology over the next 18 months. Aussie businesses are already investing significantly in renewable energy, especially solar. More than46,000 businesses have invested in solar, from food producers to warehouses, shopping centres to agricultural organisations, manufacturers to wineries. This has led to a doubling in the total capacity of solar installations on business since the start of 2016. Small business has been leading the way. Austchilli, ’s largest chilli farm in the Bundaberg region of Queensland and SCS Plastics in the regional city of Shepparton, Victoria have installed a 300-kilowatt solar systems. A survey commissioned by the n Renewable Energy Agency found nearly one in every two major companies are now using renewable energy.

Big business is also catching up. Far from being wiped off the map, the owners of South ’s Whyalla Steelworks is investing in more than 500 megawatts of renewable energy and storage to providea secure and affordable energy supply.

But that isn’t all. n consumers prefer businesses, products or services which are powered by renewable energy. ns would rather buy products from companies that use renewable energy, and three quarters think big business should be using renewable energy. ’s renewables boom is in full flight and smart businesses can sense the opportunity. Businesses at home and overseas are investing in renewable energy like never before because it simply makes good business sense.

Louis Brailsford is a Climate Council energy advisor.

Letters to the editor May 15 2018

TAKING THE SHINE OFF: Reader Sam Budden argues columnist Jeff Corbett is misguided in seeking to give motorcyclists bans from high-risk roads and lower speeds.I HAVE read some one-sided articles, but this has to be getting to the top of the list (“Your thrills could kill”, Opinion 12/5).

The way Jeff Corbett justifies his newfound arrogant view of motorcycling is that he used to ride one and he still has a motorcycle licence.

Motorcycling in for the most part is not about commuting from A to B, nor is it the reckless disregard for your life and other road users. It is about the freedom of the open road with a real connection to it – one that cannot be compared to driving in a cabin with a seatbelt on. Yes, that also includes the endurance required for longer distances with the “challenges” of changing weather conditions along the way.

Motorcycling for most is a social pastime with an opportunity to get out there and explore , connecting with your friends and meeting others. That is the “thrill” I get when I’m out on a motorcycle. Many of the roads with the best scenery just so happen to have the most corners, Jeff. The glaringly obvious point missed is that 99% of motorcyclists also drive cars, have family that use the roads and rely on their driver’s licence to work and pay bills. They also wear the right protective gear, maintain their motorcycle to a compliant level, are registered and comprehensively insured, and want to make it to their destination safely and back home to their families.

We don’t need slower speed limits and harsher penalties for one small section of the motoring community, let alone the ridiculous notion of banning them from certain places. The statistics themselves show that. Rider training and education programs, along with improving our roads, is the key to lowering the motorcycle toll.

Jeff, it’s about people enjoying some basic freedoms of life and making a choice like all other road users. How about a little creativity and inclusiveness from you to improve the issue – not just taking the easy (and revenue raising) option of banning everything that doesn’t suit “the majority”?

Sam Budden,WhitebridgeLESSONOF EBBING, MISSOURII WRITE in support of a suggestion made by Wendy Brown(Letters 11/5).

I don’t live in the area, but my heart breaks for these people and the way they have been ignored or ill-treated by federal and state governments.Three billboards along Nelson Bay Road would shame the governments and show our support for them. Red oneswith white or black lettering, like those in the movie, would work.

Margaret Taylor,EleebanaTEAMWORK PUTS US ON MAPTHERE have been a number of articles and letters in the Newcastle Herald recently about the benefits of working together regionally to get the much needed infrastructure the Hunter requires but is missing out on. This includes a regional transport system to deal with increasing traffic congestion and a fast train to Sydney, Glendale Interchange, the M1 extension across past Raymond Terrace and regional tourism improvement with linking to the airport.

However, to obtain the Smart Citiesgo ahead, our region needs to end its parochial attitude and work together for our whole Hunter region like the Western Sydney region is doing. That means the mayors, councillors, state and federal members of Parliament need to work together to implement a regional plan with infrastructure funding without losing their independent roles in their own areas.

Like other regional areas, it can be done, but it needs a proper regional approach which I believe the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan is not adequate enough to do.Come on, mayors and members of Parliament: collaborate together regionally to get the Hunter much needed improvements that are currently all happening in Sydney, especially Western Sydney.

Stephen Dewar,TorontoTHE WRONG PLACE TO SKIMPFRANK Ward (Letters 12/5):I am with you on this mate.We don’t want a rolled gold retirement, just respect for doing what was asked of us and the best we could for our families through the good and bad times of our working lives. But for a prosperous country with a small population compared to other countries, the waiting lists for hospital and aged care, not to mention the expense, the derision from those that are doing it well who begrudge the fact that once we have finished working we have the nerve to still stay alive needing a bit of help, is scandalous. These failings cannot be brushed aside with the catch cry that‘we can’t afford to look after you’whencompared to the waste and mismanagement oftaxes by incompetent and self-serving governments that appear to have lost all idea of what makes a worthwhile society. And, to top it all off, they won’t even allow us the dignity to die in peace at a time of our choosing unless we break the law.

Allan Earl,ThorntonTACTICS WERE TRUE CULPRITAS AN ex-Novocastrian lasting 36 years, I was surprised at the reaction to the A-League grand final result.Newcastle is a legendary soccer hub with a proud history, and should have had a plan to beat Victory at their own game.

The Jets were stifled by Victory’s spoiling style, but they should have anticipated it. Victory always plays the way Muscat used to play himself; tackle hard, barely legal, and kick the ball up the guts.Merrick must have known this, having had Muscat as his assistant coach whilst previously coaching Victory.I’m absolutely shocked that Merrick didn’t counteract Victory’s tactics by making them chase, playing wide, and playing football.Ernie might have done well to get the Jets into the grand final, but he failed the city by not having a plan to counter a very predictable Victory. The Jets deserved to lose on that basis. They needed a coach/manager. I think Merrick should have at the very least consulted Ray Baartz.

Bill Morris,Reservoir VICOUR FORESHORE, PARKEDTHE council talk as though they want people to come into town, yet their actions say the opposite. The move to make the foreshore parking meters 2 hour limits is just ridiculous. Obviously the motivation was to stop city workers parking in the four-hour spaces once the large car park near NIB was no longer open. So now if you want to enjoy a leisurely lunch or stroll along the harbour, you will need to keep your eye on the time. Newcastle council, your message is clear: stay away from the harbour.

Michelle Power,Jesmond

Warners Bay’s Jack Hardman launches into Black Diamond AFL representative squad

Hardman launches up and away into debut MOMENT: Warners Bay forward Jack Hardman will debut on Saturday for the Black Diamond AFL representative team. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebookJack Hardman markPost by Jack Hardman mark.

Hardman was one of eight rookies selected in the competition’s 23-man squad, officially announced on Monday, to tackle Canberra at Manuka Oval and Black Diamond AFL head coach Rowan Bilkey said the magic moment came at just the right time.

“It was a fair statement,” Bilkey said.

“He [Hardman] is a superexciting kid. I saw him play against Singleton a couple of weeks ago and he’s just got that X-factor. He’s got pace to burn and his skills are silky.

“Now it will be interesting to see how he goes against some real, quality opposition…where he’s not going to have as muchtime and space and to see what he can do.

“That grab on the weekend was terrific and when I saw it [the replay] pop up on Facebook I was like, ‘geez I’m glad we’ve got him in the side’.”

Early in the second quarter, deep inside opposition territoryand already leading by 30 points, Hardman climbs over a Nelson Bay defender in spectacular fashion to catch the incoming ball with both arms outstretched above his own head.

The Bulldogs forward will now be joined by fellow first timers Jack Lennon, Nick Tomlinson (Cardiff), Pat Murphy (Gosford), Tim Oosterhoff (Killarney Vale), Andrew Last (Nelson Bay), Brandon Thomas (Terrigal Avoca) and clubmate Lincoln Stewart (Warners Bay).

Some changes have been forced with the unavailability of regulars such as Cardiff captain Simon O’Brien, Hawks defender Zac Metcalfe and three-time Elliott Davey Medal winner James Webster from Terrigal Avoca.

“As with every yearthere’s a couple of players we’d like to have in the side who are eitherunavailable or injured, but it gives someone else an opportunity to step into that role,” Bilkey said.

“When we first threw names up on a whiteboard there were 35 and it’s been tough trying to whittle it down. All of them are absolutely justified in being picked.”

Thesquad will train at Feighan Park on Tuesday night and Adelaide Street Oval on Thursday night before travelling to the nation’s capital on Friday afternoon.

BDAFL SQUAD: Marcus DeLeur, Nick Tomlinson, Jack Lennon, Tom Yensch (Cardiff); Pat Murphy (Gosford); Josh Mifsud, Tim Oosterhoff, Scott Reed (Killarney Vale); Andrew Last, Jayden Rymer, Chris Eddy (Nelson Bay); Conor Haswell, Macaulay O’Malley (Newcastle City); Alex Mitchell, Andrew Scott (Singleton); Corey Billins, Corbin Bond, Sam Ellis, Jack Grimmond, Brandon Thomas(Terrigal Avoca); Jack Hardman, Matt Spinks, Lincoln Stewart (Warners Bay).

From oil exploration to award-winning wine maker, Pepper Tree founder John Davis is in his innovating element

Grape expectations: John Davis is excited about the release of Pepper Tree’s 2016 Wrattonbully and Coonawarra reds in July. Where were you raised and what or who influenced your career choices?

I was raised in Sydney and educated at Sydney University. My interest in the oil exploration industry was influenced by the big oil discoveries in the 1950’s when huge fortunes were made overnight. I thought it was a very exciting business and I went on to do a PhD in geology not to go into academia but to get the best technical education possible to make me successful as an oil finder. My interest in wine started while I was at university and on my first trip to the Hunter in 1970 I met Murray Tyrrell who was just starting his cellar door business. I was very impressed with his vision, innovation and energy. He was in a class of his own and had the biggest influence on my early interest in wine.

John DavisYour production level?

About 45,000 cases, and 10-15 per cent is exported. Our aim is to boost exports by another 5000 to 10,000 cases to give us a more reliable spread of income.

What is in the pipeline?

The most exciting event for us will be the release of our 2016 Wrattonbully and Coonawarra reds in July. The 2016 vintage was brilliant. We believe that our Single Vineyard reds are the best wines we have yet made from the Wrattonbully vineyard in particular.

Pepper Tree receiveda red 5-star rating in the 2018 James Halliday Wine Companion. How big a deal is that to you?

James Halliday’sstanding as a wine judge is recognised throughout the world not just in so his ratings are very important to any serious n producer.

Best bit about your job?

Making improvement in our vineyards and watching the results at harvest time.

The bit you’d love to ignore?

Any dealings with politicians or government instrumentalities. It is depressing to work in an industry that has to defend itself against the mindless incompetence of both major political parties who think their role is to gauge as much tax as possible and create endless compliance obligations while lending zero support to what is one ’s most important current and future industries.

Storm over female minister’s dumping

Queensland Liberals are angry that Jane Prentice (l) has lost preselection for her Brisbane seat .Malcolm Turnbull says he’s sorry a female assistant minister was dumped from her own seat, but he won’t intervene to save her.

Jane Prentice on Saturday lost to her former staff member, Brisbane City councillor Julian Simmonds, as the Liberal National Party’s candidate for the Brisbane seat of Ryan.

As the latest polls showed Mr Turnbull has jumped well ahead of Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister, he said it was up to local Liberal Party members to choose their representatives.

“We’re very sorry to see Jane’s been defeated in the preselection, but this is the consequence of having a grassroots political party,” Mr Turnbull told reporters on Monday.

Queensland MP Warren Entsch said Ms Prentice’s dumping was “a bloody disgrace” and he was profoundly disappointed by it.

“She doesn’t deserve it and I think it sends a very, very bad message with regards to women in politics in Queensland,” he said.

Fellow Queenslander, Michelle Landry, said she was “totally appalled” at Ms Prentice’s dumping.

“We’ve hardly got any federal females in Queensland in the government and one has been pushed aside by a young male,” she told the ABC.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who provided a written reference supporting Ms Prentice, said the party was a democracy.

“There were over 350 people at the preselection, many of them women,” he told reporters.

“They looked at the merits of the individual candidates and they made a decision.”

The Newspoll released on Monday gave Mr Turnbull his best preferred prime minister result since the 2016 election.

His approval was up eight percentage points to 46 per cent, against Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten on 32 per cent.

But despite splashing out on personal tax cuts, the coalition still trails Labor 49-51 per cent on a two-party preferred basis, the poll published in The n shows.

A separate Ipsos poll published by Fairfax Media puts the coalition in an even worse position against Labor at 46-54 per cent, which is a decline from 48 per cent in April.

But Mr Turnbull did increase his Ipsos lead as the preferred prime minister to 52 per cent, against 32 per cent for Mr Shorten.

And asked if they thought they would be better off under the new budget, 38 per cent of the 1200 voters polled by Ipsos believed they would.

The polls follow Labor and coalition income tax cut promises during budget week and a citizenship crisis that forced four Labor MPs to resign from parliament.

Newcastle District Cricket Association: Mark Littlewood steps down as representative captain after decade in the job

End of an era for Newcastle rep captain CHANGE: Newcastle representative skipper Mark Littlewood has stepped down after 10 seasons in the role. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Newcastle batsman Mark Littlewood, left, survives a run out at Waratah Oval. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

Belmont’s Mark Littlewood and Hamilton-Wickham’s Josh Trappel with The Winn Challenge Shield. Photo: Marina Neill

Mark Littlewood batting at University Oval at Callaghan. University, fielding, VS Belmont, batting, on January 14, 2017. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

Captains Nathan Price, Blasters and Mark Littlewood, Steel.

TweetFacebookMark Littlewood remembers missing his school formal to debut for Newcastle in 2002.

Outside two stints in Adelaidethe all-rounder has been part of the city’s senior representative ranks each summer since, featuring the last decade as captain.

But now the 33-year-old father-of-two, including newest addition Alby last month, has decided to step down from the leadership role and, for the time being at least, all playingcommitments.

“I’ve loved every minute of playing for Newcastle,” the former South Second XI member said.

“But with the family and a few other commitments, I just haven’t got the time anymore. I want to be in 100 percent or not at all.”

It means Littlewood finished his career for Newcastle on a winning note, leading the team to victory at the NSW Country Championships at Bowral in November.

This was the sixth time he’d tasted success at the annual carnival since being appointed skipper in 2008-2009, following the unexpected resignation of then captainSimon Moore.

“I was probably thrust into it a little bit early,” the four-time Bush Blue said.

“But I feel like I grew into the role and ended up doing a job I was pretty proud of.”

The most recent challenge had beenintroducing Newcastle toSydney’s premier T20 competition.

Wallsend’s Nathan Price will be the most likely replacement.

There will also be aleadership change at clubside Belmont in 2018-2019 with wicketkeeper Marcus Hainsworth taking over from Littlewood, who won’t play the early parts of thiscampaign but may consider returning later in the summer.

“He [Hainsworth] will be great,” Littlewood said.

“I think the guys probably need a different voice and it will be refreshing for the club. I’ll just see how the golf is going and if I can’t hit them straight then I’ll probably be back.”

Meanwhile andWests premiership-winning all-rounder Joseph Price claimed 2-48, scored 10 runs and took a catch on Saturday in his first game for Englishside Bracebridge Heath just 24 hours after the 35-year-old arrived in the country.

Price, who was named player of the tournament at January’s n Country Championships, will take part in the Lincolnshire Premier League during the off-season after confirming his visa on Thursday and flying out of Sydney that same afternoon.

Bracebridge beat Louth by 59 runs and picked up 17 competition points.

Crows allay Walker, Jacobs injury fears

Adelaide’s Sam Jacobs could miss the clash with Western Bulldogs for the birth of his first child.Adelaide have allayed injury concerns over captain Taylor Walker and Sam Jacobs, who could miss Friday night’s AFL game against Western Bulldogs to be at the birth of his first child.

Walker (glute tightness) and Jacobs (back spasms) both reported injuries during the Crows’ last-minute loss to Port on Saturday, although both played out the game.

Adelaide backman Daniel Talia says he expects Walker and Jacobs to be fit to face the Dogs at Adelaide Oval, though Jacobs’ availability depends on when his wife gives birth.

His wife Izzy is due to give birth mid-week.

“He has come out and said if she goes into labour he will be there,” Talia told reporters on Monday.

“It’s a pretty common thing these days, put family ahead of one game of footy. It will be their first child and a pretty special moment for Sauce.”

Back-up ruckman Reilly O’Brien, 22, is on standby to replace Jacobs should the birth happen on game day.

“He s a really good ruckman that is ready to go so if Sauce happens to go out, we have got a like-for-like replacement,” Talia said.

Talia expected Walker to front against the Bulldogs – the skipper was troubled by glute tightness during the five-point loss to Port on Saturday but continued playing – he kicked a 60m goal in the final minutes.

“He is is good,” Talia said.

“He kicked that 60-metre goal … judging by that kick, it can’t be too bad.”

The fourth-placed Crows hold a 5-3 win-loss record but are just one win ahead of the 13th-placed Bulldogs.

“They look like they have got their pressure and that contested style of game going again this year,” Talia said of the Dogs.

“It’s going to be another real big test of our contested footy and a real pressure game again.”

Trbojevic brothers could add Origin spark

Manly brothers Tom and Jake Trbojevic could be poised to play together for NSW in State of Origin.Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic may have turned a corner and is ready to tussle for a NSW State of Origin berth and join big brother Jake as a Blue, according to his NRL coach Trent Barrett.

The pair were the chief antagonists as the Sea Eagles snapped a five-game losing streak with a dominant 38-24 win at Brisbane on Saturday.

Dusting off some indifferent form, Jake crossed for two tries, made 180 run metres and finished with 36 tackles to blow the game open in the first half.

Fullback Tom set up two tries – one of those for his brother – and ran for 145 metres to go with two tackle busts, a line break and a line-break assist to push the Broncos out of the top eight.

The pair live together and are inseparable away from the field, the golfing buddies even sharing the same handicap of 16.

A veteran of three Origin games, Jake said the thought of playing alongside his little brother for NSW was hard to ignore.

“I’d love to be in Origin and love for Tom to be there too, it would be awesome,” he said.

“He’s definitely up to it, playing some good footy the last few years, but there’s so many quality players out there.”

Manly coach Trent Barrett said Tom deserved to be in the same conversation as top-shelf fullbacks after what he hoped was a defining performance against the Broncos.

“There’s a lot of good fullbacks the game at the moment; (James) Tedesco is certainly one of them, Kalyn Ponga is one of the best players in the game now I think,” Barret said.

“You’re going to get to see Ponga, Trbojevic and Tedesco go head to head for a long time.

“Tom’s going to be a very, very good player and I thought (the game against Brisbane) might be the turning point and good learning curve for him.”

Townsend sets sights on Japan Tour return

SETTING COURSE: Aaron Townsend, bouyed by a solid effort at the Japan PGA, will tee up in the HEIWA PGM Challenge on the Japanese second-tier tour on Thursday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollENCOURAGED by a solid performance at the Japan PGA, Aaron Townsend hopes to regain his card on the main tour through the second-tier AbemaTV tour.

ACE: Barry Green recorded his first hole in one at the par-3 third at Toronto.

Townsend fired rounds of 70, 74, 76, 73 to finish at five over and a tie for 40th, 11 shots behind winnerToru Taniguchi in the PGA.

A late call up for the $1.8million event, Townsend was equal ninth after the opening round.

“It was nice to play four rounds,” Townsend said. “The wind switched and the course set up became much more difficult as the week progressed. I was much more consistent this week, which I was happy about. I still made some errors but it was much better.”

Townsendwill tee up in the Heiwa Challenge event at Kashimanomori Country Club, starting Thursday.The top 20 money winners from the second tier earn a card on the main tour.

Townsend isranked 45thafter three events.

“I will play four more events and then reassess where things are at,” he said.

* Charelstown’s Jake Higginbottom finished fifth at the West n PGA, his best result on the Australasian tour in more than a year.

* Nathan Green pocketed $500,000 for his hole in one at the 2001 n Masters and earned world-wide acclaim for his ace at the US Masters in 2010.

His dad, Barry joined the hole-in-one club last Thursday at Torontowhere Nathan and brother Darren are the club professionals. Needless to say, the prize was not as lucrative.

“Someone had an eagle the week before so there was only one ball in the eagle’s nest,” Darren said. “We give away a$50 voucher at the club for an ace so he at least got a feed.”

The ace was at the 132m par-3 third.

“He put the four iron back in the bag, grabbed a five iron and it went in. That is all he said about it,” Darren said.

* Blake Windred helped steer NSW to third place at the Interstate Series in Adelaide. Windred, playing No.1, won three of his five matches. Dylan Perry, who has moved from Aberdeen to the Gold Coast, played No.3 for Queensland, which were runners-up.

* Terry Blomfield and Michael Campbell are joint leaders with Peter Hansen and Paul Foulcher after both pairs shot 68 in the opening round of the Toronto 2BBB championships.

* Corey Lamb continued his outstanding year with second place at the NSW All Schools Championships at Forster last week.

Lamb, from St Joseph’s Lochinvar, had rounds of 73,72 to finish a shot behind Jonathan Boediman (Kogarah) in the open boys stroke event and then lost the final of the match play to Cardiff High’s Caleb Bromley.

Makensie Toole (Belmont Christian College) was sixth in the open girls stroke.

Lachlan McDonald (Mount View Highschool) was fifth in the junior boys stroke event.

Jasmine Vesper (Singleton High) won the junior girls stroke.

* Josh Greenwood coped best in wild conditions to shoot 77 and win a four-way playoff for theCharlestown Cup on Sunday.