SPORTS UPDATE by Chris Lines

Athletics, Squash, Rugby, Football and more

Sports Update
Chris Lines

The nights are drawing in, the autumn storms are blowing and the temperature is dropping. That can only mean one thing – muddy sports kit! The football and rugby seasons are in full swing and Sedgefield’s runners have started the annual series of cross country races, while there’s still plenty of indoor sport to talk about too. So without further ado…


Boccia

I have written about Sedgefield’s talented boccia player Lee Maddison before.

Boccia is a precision ball sport, related to bowls and pétanque, which is contested at local, national and international levels, by athletes with disabilities. Lee, pictured right with his coach, recently found out that he has been selected for the England Performance Group, a recognition of his performances in recent times. Lee's goal is now to progress through the UK Talent Pathway programme towards world class standard. He is grateful to everyone responsible for helping him to this stage, especially Jonathan Reeder-Scott, his assistant on and off court. Congratulations to Lee. I look forward to reporting on more successes soon.


Squash

The season’s first honours at Sedgefield Squash Club were recently won in the team handicap. After five rounds of matches, and the usual debate about some of the “carefully considered” handicaps, congratulations go to the victorious septet of: Stephen Rowsby, Tom McKay, Kevin Amer, Stephen Larke, Emma Allen, Sharon Brown and Jo Bowman.

A mixed team then travelled to Edinburgh Sports Club for the annual Oktoberfest competition, an international event involving 18 teams. The first round match on the Friday was tough against the eventual winners, an Italian team from Turin. Not to be deterred, Sedgefield finished a creditable seventh in the karaoke competition that evening, with their amazing rendition of Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi.

The second and third days saw more competitive and closely fought matches against Edinburgh University, Oban and Cambridge. All participants enjoyed great hospitality and organisation, and Sedgefield have been invited to play again next year.

The senior teams have now begun their campaigns in the Durham & Cleveland Leagues, with the early headlines going to the ladies’ team, who have won both their opening fixtures including a 19-0 thumping in their opening fixture. Look out for more updates on the teams throughout the season. Memberships remain available from Sue Smith (email: curlietailz@aol.com) or for children, junior coaching for all standards and ages four upwards is available on Saturday mornings (contact Simon Hill on 01740 629417).


Rugby Union

The Sedgefield District RUFC first team have had a steady start to their second season in Durham & Northumberland Division 2. From the opening six games, Sedgefield have chalked up notable victories against Richmondshire and Whitley Bay Rockcliff, as well as a draw against Darlington.

On 7th October they entertained Ashington, earning a deserved bonus point win after a powerful forward display softened up the opposition during the first half. The 39-23 victory came thanks to tries from Phil Dawson (2), Will Johnson (2) and Chris Dawson, pictured on page 2, with 14 points from the boot of Owen Robinson.

Sedgefield's second string, the Sedgefield Saxons, have had a tough start to their inaugural season in the Tees Valley Social League. Despite competitive performances against more established teams they are yet to convert these into a victory, which leaves them at the bottom of the table after five games.


Athletics

For the second time this year, a Sedgefield Harrier wore a national vest at an event recently. Following James Oldfield’s Team GB appearance at the Duathlon World Championships in Canada, Justin Cox ran for the England Masters Marathon Team against a Celtic nations team at the MBNA Chester Marathon in early October. Justin had qualified by finishing in the top five for his age group (40-44) in the Yorkshire Marathon in 2016. This was the first year that England Athletics put together the Masters Marathon Team to reward regular club runners who would not otherwise have the opportunity to represent their country. Justin completed the marathon in a personal best of 2:45:53 and 48th place overall (14th in his age group) and comments: “Despite hoping to get sub 2:45, I was pleased with my time over a course in Chester that wasn’t particularly fast and against such a strong field of Masters runners. It was a brilliant feeling to be able to represent my country and it’s also been great to get so much support from my fellow Sedgefield Harriers. My next target is the Manchester Marathon in May 2018, with the target of again qualifying for the England Masters Marathon Team and getting a London Marathon championship place.”

Phil Houghton, chair of Sedgefield Harriers, adds: “James and Justin are two of the club’s most dedicated and successful athletes and hugely deserved the honours that they earned. Their achievements have created a buzz among Sedgefield Harriers and demonstrate to our junior members what can be achieved with the right application and coaching support. We already have other younger athletes, such as Kieran Walker, who have reached the brink of earning a national vest. I am sure, once we achieve our ambition of our own training track and field facilities,many more will follow.”

Meanwhile, the cross country season is well underway. More on that next month, but Sedgefield Harriers’ senior and junior athletes have already been out in force, with quite a few new runners wearing spikes and taking on the challenge of mud and hills for the first time.