Sports Update by Chris Lines

As summer seems to finally be asserting itself (did we even get spring?), the grass roots cricket season is now properly underway, while the rugby and football seasons are drawing to a close. There’s news on all of that and more this month.

Cricket

Much like in 2023, the 2024 cricket season was slow to get fully underway after miserable early spring weather, but by mid-May Sedgefield Cricket Club was buzzing with activity. The early season highlight has been 2nd XI captain David Lamb scoring 113 not out as the team continued an unbeaten league start by defeating Blackhall.

The 1st XI began their defence of the Brunton Cup with a dominant victory over Newton Aycliffe and are looking to transfer that cup form into the league after a slightly indifferent start. The 4th XI, or Winkers as they’re better known, have started their campaign well, with a corresponding spike in bar turnover too. And finally, the junior teams have now begun their seasons with some excellent performances, exceeded only by their enthusiasm.

By the time you read this, dozens of fixtures will have been completed, and with the clubhouse and bar open virtually every day during the season, it promises once again to be a successful year for the club.

Squash

At the recent Durham and Cleveland County Squash awards in Norton, Sedgefield Squash Club was proud to be presented with the Club of the Year Award. Alongside this, Rob Pearce was presented with the award for Premier League Player of the Year, and the ladies’ team picked up the trophy for winning their division.

The Club Championships have also reached their conclusion, with some incredibly tight matches. The finals evening kicked off with two junior matches. The U15 trophy was won by Huey Lamb, beating Magnus McKay, in a very close five game thriller. The Junior Championship was won for the first time by Joseph Billany, beating Matteo Rutherford in another close match.

Then followed the over 40s, 50s and 60s, with the winners being Colin Langley, Patrick Billany and Ian Williams respectively. Colin Langley picked up his second trophy of the night by winning the Racketball competition.

Unfortunately, the eagerly anticipated Club Championship final between Rob Pearce and Chris Gillespie could not take place as Chris had to withdraw because of an injury, leaving Rob to lift the trophy. This left the finale of the night to the ladies, and Marie Priest and Emma Allen did not disappoint. In a marathon five game match, both ladies produced some of the best squash of the season. Marie was the eventual victor.

At the club’s annual presentation night in the Parish Hall, as well as formally presenting the above awards, accolades also went to Huey Lamb (Junior of the Year), Gary Ankers (Player of the Year), Lucy Morgan (Ladies Player of the Year), and Josh Hetherington (Member of the Year). Chairman, Gordon Peden, also received a standing ovation for consistently going above and beyond for the club.

Anyone interested in joining or volunteering, please contact info@sedgefieldsquashclub.co.uk or visit the website at www.sedgefieldsquashclub.co.uk.

Rugby Union

Sedgefield District Rugby Union Football Club brought the season to a close in early April with a high scoring affair at home to Gateshead, with the visitors snatching victory with the final play of the game. Despite this final day defeat, Sedgefield have successfully managed to preserve their league status in Durham and Northumberland Division 2 for another season.

The match was followed by an end of season celebration and awards presentation at Sedgefield Cricket Club. This season’s award winners were:
Most Improved Player Ben Bradley
Young Player of the Year Freddie McCormack
Coaches’ Player Mitch Corney
Ted Wood Award Andy Fife
Committee Player of the Year Daniel Lawson
Players’ Player of the Year Daniel Lawson

Look out for social media announcements of events over the close season, including information about touch rugby sessions.

Football

After a long old season, St. Edmund’s FC have now played 36 games, with two league games left (at the time of writing this). The team has already secured the runners-up spot in the Durham Sunday League Premier Division, won the Bishop Auckland Heart Foundation Cup, and were beaten finalists in the League Cup.

So, overall, it hasn't been a bad season. In the Heart Foundation Cup Final in Norton, St. Edmund’s beat Eppleton FC 4-0, with goals from Keiran Parnaby (two), Jack Marley and Dale Milburn. The League Cup was less than 48 hours later, and was lost 3-1 to Ouston, though the scoreline doesn't give a true reflection of the game.

It was 0-0 at half time. St. Edmund’s missed two or three good chances and then went 1-0 up through Keiran Parnaby, but the game changed on a penalty for Ouston, which they scored and then followed that up with another goal five minutes later. St. Edmund’s chased the game for the equaliser but got caught out on the break.

In hindsight, two finals so close together may have just been a bridge too far.

Athletics

Over 400 runners from around the region recently took part in the club’s annual Neptune Relays in Hardwick Park. The Neptune Relays event involves teams of four, with each runner tackling a 1.7 mile route around the park, starting and finishing in the field below the Temple to Minerva.

The senior men’s event was won by New Marske Harriers in a time of 33 minutes and 58 seconds, with Durham City Harriers claiming second place in 34:53 and Elvet Striders third (35:36). Crook & District AC won the women’s event for the second year in a row, in 41:33, followed by Durham City Harriers (42:07) and Stockton Striders (42:47).

In the V50 men’s race Crook & District AC defended the title in 38:31, and the club also won the V45 women’s race in 50:57. Crook also won the junior boys’ race in 45:02 and junior girls’ race in 55:10. Aycliffe Running Club won the mixed team race in 42:57 and the non-club race was won by ABC Arrows, also in 42:57.

On the night, runners and spectators made donations of food and money to Sedgefield Harriers’ chosen charity, Feeding Families. The Neptune Relays could only be hosted with the support of a large number of volunteers, the team at Hardwick Park, and Durham County Council, which allowed the park to host the event

Bowls

Bowls is a sport that can be enjoyed by players of all ages, and Fishburn Bowls Club is very handy for residents in our area. A minimum level of fitness is required, together with an enjoyment of gentle exercise, fresh air and friendly company.

Fishburn Bowls Club welcomes all comers, male or female, who have an interest in outdoor bowling. Young children have to be accompanied by a responsible adult. Membership is not restricted to Fishburn residents, so everyone will be welcome, and informal coaching is readily available for those who want it, at no cost and without commitment.

There is no dress code beyond the wearing of shoes with flat soles, though that does change if a member wishes to play in the club competitions, when players are generally expected to wear grey trousers/skirt and white shirt/blouse.

Annual membership is currently just £1 and provides access to the bowling green and the clubhouse by way of a key.

The green is generally available for play between the end of April and the beginning of September, subject to the agreement of the greenkeeper. Between these dates, members can use the green as frequently as they choose without further charge.

There is a number of sets of bowls at the club, which can be used by potential members to help them decide if the sport is to their liking before they incur any expense. Fishburn Bowls Club is located between the football pitches and the Fishburn Youth and Community Centre off Butterwick Road in the village.

Park at the gate near the football pavilion - the bowls club is through the gate and to the left. To find out more about the sport of bowls and Fishburn Bowls club, use the following contact details: Carol Mason - 07446 032450 Terry Graham - 01740 621627.