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Sports Update by Chris Lines

Athletics, Squash, Rugby, Football and more

In the sport this month...

Sport in Sedgefield
Sports Updates by Chris Lines
The annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award event proved to be a good night for cricket, with the England’s victorious team at the men’s ICC World Cup picking up prizes for team and greatest sporting moment of the year, followed by DCCC’s Ben Stokes claiming the main award of the night.

In another year with plenty of great contenders, I reckon that all three of those awards were richly deserved, as was the one presented to John Blackie as coach of the year (he has guided world champion sprinter Dina Asher-Smith and many others) and the lifetime achievement recognition that was given to Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, yet another local connection.

However, probably the most impactful moment of the night was when the amazing Doddie Weir was presented with the Helen Rollason Award. The Rugby union forward was capped 61 times by Scotland and played for the British and Irish Lions, but he won the award for what he has done since being diagnosed with motor neurone disease three years ago, setting up a foundation that has so far raised £5m to fund research into finding a cure for the disease and bringing a lot of attention to the cause in the process.

When he accepted the award, Doddie’s speech was spine tingling and was in keeping with the man who many in the North East will be familiar with from his time at the Newcastle Falcons (he was part of the team that won the Premiership) and as a regular guest and speaker at events in the region over many years. Doddie is making the absolute most of every day he has left and it was extremely fitting that he was celebrated in this way by the BBC.
Email club reports to Chris Lines: chrisjlines@aol.com
Youth teams - please call Tony Magee on 07837 114 271 if you would like him to report on your club or matches.
Athletics
For many runners, the main focus of winter is cross country. Last year the conditions were unusually benign, with a distinct lack of rain, snow, wind and mud at most fixtures. It was said that the biggest queue at the venue for the English National Cross Country Championships near Leeds in February was for the ice cream van! This season is already proving more testing. There was plenty of rain and mud in Aykley Heads for November’s Harrier League event. Runners and club tents at the NE Counties Cross Country Championships in Alnwick in December had to contend with strong, biting winds.

However, none of this was quite as challenging as conditions in Sedgefield for the North Easterns back in 2015, when the snow started falling during the first race and didn’t stop all day. No-one involved will forget it and Sedgefield will have another opportunity to host a memorable occasion, as Harriers have just been awarded the the championships in 2020, during the club’s 15th birthday year. The club holds its annual winter handicap race, for the Gerry Kearsley Memorial Trophy on Sunday 19th January, starting and finishing in Bishop Middleham and following a scenic multi-terrain two-lap course of around six miles. The event is for affiliated runners, free to enter, with handicaps based on each runner’s best 10K time from the previous 12 months.

Full details at https://sedgefieldharriers.co.uk/gerry-kearsley-handicaps
Find out more at www.sedgefieldharriers.co.uk.
Squash
For all coaching contacts, membership and general information, visit the club’s website at www.sedgefieldsquashclub.co.uk.
Sedgefield Youth FC
The Sedgefield Youth FC U10 teams continue to make excellent progress. The Saturday team – buoyed on by much success already - currently sit at the top of their division in the Russel Foster League, with only four games to go in the winter league at the time of writing this.

Meanwhile, the newly formed Sunday team is setting the Teesside Junior Football Alliance alight, winning all 13 games that they have played so far, while scoring 88 goals and conceding just 10. Keep watching this space!
Cricket
Sedgefield Cricket Club wishes its members, friends and families a prosperous 2020 and hopes that everyone continues to enjoy the facilities and from April, the cricket. January serves as a reminder that membership subscriptions are due (which provide the all-important bar discount!)

The club is currently developing a new online membership system with MyClubhouse, a firm specialising in offering systems to volunteer run organisations. This will allow subs to be paid online, although cash and card payments will continue to be taken at the bar. Details of how to renew will start to be publicised by the end of December, including the new subscription levels payable. Any general queries can be emailed to Chris Bunting at sccmemberships@outlook.com.

Looking ahead, junior indoor coaching is already underway for some of the age groups, with the remainder beginning over the next few weeks - parents will be contacted by the coaches with details. Keep in touch with what’s going on at the club by following it on Facebook and Twitter.
Cycling
Cyclo cross returned to Hardwick Park at the end of November, for the eighth year in a row. After several years of good conditions, prolonged rain in the lead-up and on the day made conditions heavy going for riders on the course based in East Park. The small field of Under 12s had the worst of the weather, with Harry Knox of Tyneside Vagabonds narrowly beating Daniel Thompson of Cleveland Wheelers, after swapping places several times over their nine laps of a shortened course.

In the main senior race, with some improvement in the weather, Jon Bailey of Gosforth Road Club led from the start for a comfortable win over eight laps of a 1.2mile course. Among the field of 43 riders were several cyclo cross regulars from Sedgefield, with Chris Dobson finishing the highest up the standings in eighth, while Rob Spink, Mark Bayles and Richard Bayles also rode well. The venue is expected to be used again in 2020 as a round of the North East Cyclo Cross League. For more information on the league visit www.neccl.co.uk.
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