SPORTS UPDATE by Chris Lines

Athletics, Squash, Rugby, Football and more

Sports Update
Chris Lines

The sun has been shining, the temperature has been rising and the sound of leather on willow can once again be heard on the edge of Sedgefield and around the UK. Of course, cricket won’t enjoy the lion’s share of media attention this summer, thanks to the small matter of the football World Cup, but it is great to see warm weather sports such as that and track and field athletics come to the fore again. I’m not making any predictions for the World Cup, other than to expect a testing time logistically (and possibly ‘culturally’) for any England fans who do travel to Russia. Personally, I have really liked Gareth Southgate’s approach to his job (and the media) so far and wish the young squad every success this summer. Talking of talented young sports people…

Junior Football

Huge congratulations to Sedgefield Youth FC under 8s who finished their first ever season as league and cup double winners.

The team achieved this great success in style, scoring over 120 goals in just 21 games against opposition with much larger catchment areas, such as Durham, Washington, South Shields, Darlington, Gateshead and Hartlepool. This is even more remarkable when considering that five of the eight lads had never played a competitive game before this team started up back in November (and three of them are playing a year above their own).

The coaches, Mal Dickenson and Chris McGirr, would like to thank the team’s sponsors (Mark Stanley, Sedgefield Co-op and Right Lines Communications), the Russel Foster Youth League, David Ryder, and eight “amazing” sets of parents and their young lads (Benjamin Smith, Max Royal, Zac Short, Will McGirr, James Glass, Ben Burrell, Fraser Groves and Daniel Dickenson). The team won’t get long to bask in the glow of their success, as they will start the new season in just a few weeks. This time, it will be 7 v 7 football and with this in mind, the club has already signed two more high quality players in Jack Murphy and Ashton Davison. Sedgefield Youth FC will also have some exciting news to announce next month, which will secure the team’s future for at least two more years.

Coach Mal Dickenson comments: “These boys play football not only in the right way, but also with smiles on their faces. They are an absolute pleasure to be associated with - long may it continue.”

Junior Athletics

Junior Sedgefield Harriers have teamed up with Derwentside AC to enter a team into this year’s North East Youth Development League (NEYDL), a track and field competition that runs through the summer. The Sedgefield/Derwentside team is competing in Division 2 of the league in this part of the region and has enjoyed a promising start to the season, finishing in second place behind Durham City Harriers at the first fixture. Athletes score points for their team by taking part in a schedule of events at each meeting, which include sprints, middle distance, throws and jumps. Already this year, Sedgefield athletes have recorded a host of personal bests across a wide range of disciplines.

Many of the juniors have also been taking part (along with senior Harriers) in this year’s North Yorkshire and South Durham (NYSD) series of track and field meetings. NYSD events run from April to July and are held alternately at the track and field facilities in Darlington and Middlesbrough. The events are very welcoming and each meeting has a different schedule, designed to encourage participants to try out something new. All of the events are officially sanctioned, so offer great opportunities for athletes of all ages to register times, distances or heights that are recorded and ranked by UK Athletics. Participants can measure their own performances against those of club mates and other equivalent age category competitors throughout the country.

Junior Cricket

While the teams in Sedgefield Cricket Club’s strong junior set up have now started their 2018 seasons, the players of the future have been getting their first taste of the sport. The club is one of those throughout the country that is hosting the England and Wales Cricket Board’s All Stars initiative.

On Friday 18th, scores of girls and boys aged five to eight headed to Sedgefield Cricket Club for their first All Stars Cricket session, coordinated by the expert guidance in a range of skills that will help turn them into the next generation of batters, bowlers and fielders. There was a lot of enthusiasm on display during the first of what will be six weeks of sessions.

Rugby Union

Sedgefield District RUFC 1st XV brought their Durham & Northumberland Division 2 campaign to a close, with defeats in their final two fixtures against North Shields at home (17-41) and away at Whitby (48-14). Sedgefield ended the season in ninth place, satisfied with progress as a competitive force in the division. The team will now aim to strengthen their squad in key positions over the summer. Congratulations go to Acklam as Division 2 champions, and Whitby in joining them in promotion as runners-up.

Sandwiched between those final league matches was the semi-final of the Durham Junior Cup, played at Hartlepool Rovers against Sunderland. An impressive young Sunderland team built up a healthy lead in the first half and despite two second half tries for Sedgefield by Kevin Vaughan, Sunderland ran out 29-12 winners, and then went on to beat Ryton in the final.

The Sedgefield Saxons closed their Tees Valley Social League campaign with a fine 45-12 victory over Horden & Peterlee III. The Saxons finish their debut social league season in 11th place, and have put in some impressive performances, which have seen a number of players develop and progress into the first team. Congratulations go to Billingham III who were social league champions.