SPORTS UPDATE by Chris Lines

Athletics, Squash, Rugby, Football and more

Sports Update
Chris Lines

Mica McNeill and Mica Moore didn’t secure a medal at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, but they did record the best ever result for a British women’s bobsleigh team, which was a great achievement given the circumstances of their participation.

Elsewhere, Team GB hit its medal targets in both the Winter Olympics and Paralympics, which was good to see. Meanwhile, back in the UK, our own winter weather has played havoc with grass roots sports fixtures. Assuming that spring does finally make an appearance, it’s going to be a big challenge for teams and officials to complete some seasons. Hats off to all of the volunteers who put in so much time and effort to make it possible for so many people of all ages to participate in the sports that they love.


Rugby Union

The Sedgefield District RUFC first team have built on results reported previously with some good performances in a run of home fixtures. They edged a hard-fought battle against Sunderland 33-27 thanks to tries from Adam Grieve (2), Rob Wade, Kyle Sutcliffe and Josh Hetherington. This was backed up by a good first half performance against a promotion chasing Hartlepool side, with scores coming from Adam Grieve (2) and Rob Wade for Sedgefield. However, Hartlepool moved up a gear in the second half to inflict a 24-44 defeat. Sedgefield soon returned to winning ways as they ground out an important 27-19 victory against Winlaton Vulcans, thanks to tries from Phil Dawson (2) and Kyle Sutcliffe. Sedgefield will be looking to maintain this form through their final run of fixtures of the season to finish in the top half of Durham & Northumberland Division 2.

The Sedgefield Saxons have only had one outing to report on. A good performance against Hartlepool BBOB ended in a 20-24 defeat, despite a brilliant score from Doug Wardle. The April home fixtures are: 1st XV: 7th vs Bishop Auckland, 21st vs North Shields; Saxons: 14th vs Bishop Auckland III, 28th vs Horden & Peterlee III.


Bowls

Last month, I included a piece about Fishburn Bowls Club. If you are interested in joining, a single full annual membership costs £17. For more information, call the club secretary on 07930 592929 or the club treasurer on 07989 201342.


Junior Football

Not only does the Sedgefield Youth U8 team go from strength to strength in competition (two wins out of two in the latest league that they have entered), but one of their players stepped out at Old Trafford recently. James Glass was a Manchester United mascot for the Champions League game against Sevilla. Here’s hoping he and his Sedgefield colleagues continue to perform so well – maybe one day some of them will get to play at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’!


Squash

It’s been a busy start to 2018 for Sedgefield Squash Club. In January, several members entered the Durham & Cleveland County Championships, which for the first time held graded events alongside the main draw.

Chris Gillespie was narrowly edged out in five games by the defending county champion in the semi-final of the main competition. In the graded event, James Knowlson was runner-up, but not before he’d defeated Simon Hill in an all-Sedgefield semi-final. Well done to all from Sedgefield who took part.

In the county club leagues, the men’s first and second teams are enjoying solid seasons in the top two divisions. The ladies’ team has continued their early season good form and look on course for a high league finish. It’s been a tougher ride for the men’s third and fourth teams, who are both hoping for some late season victories to build momentum into the next campaign. I will report the final league positions next month.

Currently, the club championships are in full swing, with the finals to be played on 19th and 20th April. Look out for a full report on that next time. The club is also delighted to be continuing to welcome new members who are helping to build the development and success of a thriving local sports organisation. Coaching is available for beginners, novices, lapsed players and anyone else who wants to get involved in the sport. Visit www.sedgefieldsquashclub.co.uk for contact details.


Athletics

It was mission accomplished on 17th March for the senior men’s team from Sedgefield Harriers in the North East Harrier League. As reported in previous updates, the men earned promotion in this cross country running competition last season. Competing in Division 2 this time around proved to be challenging, but the men went into the last fixture in Alnwick with a good chance of retaining their position in that league. On a very chilly, windy afternoon with frequent heavy snow showers, the seven runners from Sedgefield finished sixth on the day in their division and thus avoided relegation. It was a great result – during the season, the squad had been depleted as a result of injuries and other commitments, but the club is building good strength in depth and the senior men will go into next season with confidence. Meanwhile, the senior women have also demonstrated their potential at times during the winter and will hope to field full teams for fixtures in the future and push for promotion.

In other cross country news, Harrier Kieran Walker secured a top 30 result in the English National Cross Country Championships in London recently, running very well in a high class men’s U20 field on the iconic Parliament Hill course on Hampstead Heath.

Meanwhile, indoors, 13 junior Harriers competed in the North East Regional Sportshall Competition for U11s, U13s and U15s in South Shields, representing County Durham. The youngsters put in some excellent performances and the team claimed second place in all age categories. Well done to everyone who took part.

Sedgefield Harriers is preparing to host the Neptune Relays in Hardwick Park on Wednesday 25th April. The event is now very well-established on the region’s grass roots athletics calendar and attracts entries from all over the North East and Yorkshire. The Neptune Relays are open to teams of four runners of men, women or juniors (13+ and U17). There are trophies (and prizes of fruit!) for club teams and corporate/non-club teams (composite club teams will be regarded as club teams - non-club teams must include at least one unattached runner). Each leg is roughly 1.7 miles and follows a route on trails and paths around the park, starting and finishing in the temple field. Prize categories include seniors, juniors, MV50, FV45, and non-club. Entry costs £8 per attached team (£10 for unattached) and is on the day only, with registration opening at 4:00pm in the visitor centre. The races start at 6:45pm and the event is a great spectacle for watchers as well as participants. For more information find ‘Sedgefield Harriers Events’ on Facebook, or contact Ean Parsons on ean2005@hotmail.co.uk or 07771 828568.