SPORTS UPDATE by Chris Lines

Athletics, Squash, Rugby, Football and more

Sports Update
Chris Lines

One of the great aspects of sport in Sedgefield is the large number of people who participate in a multitude of activities. Of course, young and old tend to specialise in the sports that they like best, or are most suited to, but that doesn’t stop folk from trying others and there are plenty of opportunities to do so in Sedgefield.

Many focus on one winter or one summer sport, depending on the time of the year, but a good number will get involved in various sports at any time. So, it’s no surprise that our community produces loads of multi-eventers, and this is a big theme of this month’s update, with news from all generations.


Squash

First things first, an apology for an error last month. The report should have stated that, in the Sedgefield Squash Club annual awards, the ladies’ player of the season was Sharron Brown.

There was also a brief mention last month that the club had been crowned Durham & Cleveland County Squash Club of the Year for the 2016-17 season. This is an achievement for which Sedgefield Squash Club can be justifiably proud, after a year which has seen unprecedented success for the teams on court, increased membership numbers and an ever-burgeoning junior section.

Members attending the county presentation evening only found out on the evening, which probably explains the extra beam in their smiles in the photograph above!

Between now and the end of July, the main activities at the club are junior coaching on Saturday mornings and club night on Thursday evenings from 6:00-8:00pm. Both are open to non-members or aspiring members, so get in touch if you or your children are interested. Check out the club website www.sedgefieldsquashclub.co.uk for more details.


Athletics

Junior athletes from Sedgefield Harriers have been competing in the North East Youth Development League (NEYDL) over the last few months. NEYDL is a track and field competition; two events have taken place so far, with another two ahead to complete the season. There have been some great results so far for Sedgefield, with plenty of youngsters participating in an athletics competition for the very first time. Sedgefield Harriers boasts some very versatile and talented young athletes. Competing in the first two events were:

Boys - Callum Darby: 100m, 200m, long jump, 75m hurdles, 800m.
Kwesi Attauah: 100m, 75m hurdles
Thomas Rowe: 1500m, javelin, shot
Ciaran Lines: 800m, long jump
Max Howell: 1500m
Robbie Till: 100m, high jump.
Girls - Ella Robinson: 100m, 200m, long jump, high jump, javelin
Ellie Spink: 200m, 800m, long jump, shot, javelin
Mollie Presho: 100m, 75m hurdles
Laura Wallace: 100m, 800m
Aimee Graham: 800m, shot
Eryn Upton: 800m, long jump
Amelia Martin: shot, high jump, 800m
Heba Naan: 100m, 800m, 1500m, shot
Sophie Glaister: 300m, 800m, 1500m, long jump
Abbie Walker: 300m, 800m, 1500m, javelin
Jess Hall: 1500m, shot, high jump
Peta Collins: 100m, 800m, 1500m
Jenny Walker: long jump. javelin, discus
Kate Wallace: javelin, discus, shot
Felicity Golightly: shot, long jump
Aimee Barlow: 80m hurdles, 200m, 800m, long jump, shot, high jump.

There was more success for Sedgefield’s junior athletes at the Durham School Track & Field Championships, when four competitors qualified to represent the county at the Inter Counties Track and Field event in Hexham. Kate Carmichael (shot), Aimee Barlow (hurdles), Liam Welsh (discus) and Joseph Dredge (discus) picked up county honours in their respective events.

Sedgefield Harriers' next event is the Gerry Kearsley Summer Handicap on Thursday 20th July. This undulating, scenic multi-terrain run of about six miles starts and finishes just outside Fishburn, and follows trails and old railway lines around Bishop Middleham. Handicaps are based on a runner's best 10k time, leading to an exciting conclusion with most participants finishing within a few minutes of each other. Entry is free and registration opens at Fishburn Club at 5:30pm. The event is suitable for runners of all ages and ability – everyone is welcome. For more information, visit www.sedgefieldharriers.co.uk/gerry-kearsley-handicap.

As I type this, sad news has just reached me of the passing of Eamonn Murtagh. For many years, Eamonn sponsored prizes at the summer handicap mentioned above, one of the numerous ways that he backed Sedgefield Harriers from the club’s early days. As a younger man, Eamonn had been an active and talented runner himself with Middlesbrough and Cleveland Harriers, but became a very enthusiastic supporter of Sedgefield Harriers once the club was founded. I will provide a more detailed tribute to Eamonn next month.


Duathlon

As mentioned briefly last month, Sedgefield athlete James Oldfield has qualified for the 2017 Duathlon (run-bike-run) World Championships, which will take place in Penticton, Canada, in August. He qualified as a Team GB age group competitor by finishing high up the field in the sprint distance at Stockton Duathlon Festival in April. James (pictured in action) has been a member of Sedgefield Harriers for three years and is one of the club’s most successful runners. As an amateur athlete, James has to self-fund his travel to Canada to compete. Being a full-time teacher with a young daughter makes training hard to fit in, but support from his wife Kate is allowing James to pursue his dream.

The opportunity to compete on the world stage marks quite a change in fortunes for James. In January 2013, just before his 28th birthday, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer. This put his sporting life on hold for 12 months, while he went through treatment. Four years on and clear of the disease, James is ready to take on a life changing chance to compete for Team GB. James is still raising funds to be able to compete represent his country (and Sedgefield!) in Canada.

If you would like to support James get in touch with him on 07973 830487, on Facebook or email James_oldfield_is@hotmail.com.


Ironman Triathlon

Sedgefield Harrier Ean Parsons is making his final preparations for one of the biggest sporting challenges of his life. On Sunday 2nd July, Ean, who now competes in the vet 55 category, will take part in his first ironman triathlon event in Klagenfurt, Austria. He will tackle the small matter of a 2.4-mile swim followed by 112 miles on the bike, finishing off by running a marathon.

Ean explains his motivation: “With nearly 500 races behind me as a runner, including a few marathons, it seems the right time to turn my attention to an ironman triathlon. It’s not a matter of being too old, more the case that I’ve been training for 36 years for this moment. My triathlon career goes back to 1992, but when bikes started getting a bit more technical than an old Raleigh I thought better of it and stuck to running. An operation in 2015 and a chance to refocus, plus seeing someone I know do the Austria ironman, gave me the impetus to come back stronger and take the plunge. So, the target is Klagenfurt and the mental approach is to enjoy a day out doing things I enjoy, followed by pizza.” News of how Ean gets on next month.


Football

St Edmund’s FC finished a respectable fourth in the Durham Sunday premier league last season, but the feeling around the club is that of a missed opportunity. For a large part of the season, the side was leading the division, taking points off all of the top teams, but there was also the disappointment of going out of three cup competitions on penalty shoot outs. Everyone involved with St. Edmund’s believes that the club is capable of better next season.

At the club’s presentation night, Louis Brown won the players’ player award, John Maddison won player of the year, Callum Johnson was crowned young player, while Steve Flockett and Andrew Beamson were joint leading goal scorers. Brian Fairhurst was presented with an outstanding service award.