Category Archives: Sport

ENGLAND CRICKETER JOS BUTTLER OPENS KING’S NEW SPORTS FACILITY

King’s College recently welcomed back former pupil Jos Buttler as he officially opened the schools’ new sports facility, the Sports Performance and Cricket Centre (SPCC).

Friends, parents, benefactors, pupils and staff gathered to celebrate as this much-anticipated facility was officially opened by Jos. Following the unveiling, Jos then demonstrated some of his world-famous cricket strokes in a masterclass with pupils and King’s Director of Sport, Phil Lewis.

Pupils were challenged to bowl at the England player, with the chance to win a coveted Millichamp & Hall cricket bat if they got him out. It was Fifth Form pupil and Somerset girls’ cricket player Alice Dymond who successfully got one past the international cricket star.

Taking part in a Q&A session afterwards in the school theatre with guests and pupils, including a number of promising young players, Jos talked about what life is like as a first-class cricketer. The England star rounded off his visit by meeting some of the pupils, signing autographs and posing for selfies.

Having joined King’s when he was 13 years old, Jos started his career with Somerset County Cricket Club before joining Lancashire. Remembering his time at King’s fondly, he said: “I first came to King’s as part of the cricket festivals that are held at the school every year. My parents, also having looked at other schools, thought that King’s had a great ‘feel’, a real sense of community. This I remember most of all – the feeling of belonging, especially to my house, Tuckwell. I made many life-long friendships at King’s.

“Attending a school that suddenly enabled me to play and practice several times per week was amazing. I always had the determination to become a professional cricketer, but having access to such a fantastic sports programme and being mentored by such positive and supportive people as Dennis Breakwell, was a massive bonus.”

In offering guidance to young players, he added: “It’s important to enjoy the game. Yes, there are times when your performance is not so great. Then there are the celebrations. The key is to remain balanced throughout the highs and lows, and to always remember, there’ll always be another game!”

Of the new sports centre, he added: “This is a fantastic facility. To anyone serious about their cricket, make sure you’re demanding to use it, to make full use of it!”

Commenting on the day, Phil Lewis said: “It is always such a pleasure to see Jos back at King’s and his visit will be an inspiration to the next generation of young players at the school. The Sports Performance and Cricket Centre is a fantastic addition to the school. It will enable us to run an even more challenging cricket programme for our pupils but also to incorporate a number of different sports and training sessions. With underfloor heating, retractable side panels and a brilliant lighting system, it is an inspirational facility and one we know will engage our pupils even more. We are very, very lucky.”

Director of Development, Julian Mack added: “The SPCC is a monument to the power of philanthropy. We are hugely grateful to our generous benefactors who have made it possible. It will be enjoyed for many years to come by King’s girls and boys.”

THE GREAT EXMOOR RIDE IS COMING

The Great Exmoor Ride is a new city-to-coast challenge bike ride from the team behind the hugely-popular Great Weston Ride and, following on from a successful test event in 2017, it is set to return on Sunday 2 September 2018.

The Ride starts in Taunton and ends in a tranquil spot on the West Somerset coast at Blue Anchor near Minehead, and along the way it offers a stunning 66-mile (105km) route through quiet Somerset country lanes and across the eastern part of Exmoor National Park.

The test event confirmed that participants can look forward to a great personal challenge courtesy of a spectacular route that will test the legs and, despite somewhat inclement weather conditions in 2017, the GER was given a resounding ‘thumbs up’ by those who took part.

2017 saw a great mix of people riding on a variety of bikes and the event is specifically designed and supported as an ‘all-comers’ challenge – there’s plenty on offer to test participants (as well as delight them), but there are no time pressures on anyone and the emphasis is very much on rising to a personal challenge and enjoying both the route AND the immense sense of achievement that comes with completing it.

A spokesman explained: “We believe that there’s something special and different about completing a spectacular, challenging ride and then actually ending up somewhere other than where you started, and that’s exactly what the Great Exmoor Ride offers.

“We know from last year’s feedback that the route itself is both fabulous and challenging, but also very do-able for anyone with a degree of fitness and/or a lot of determination – so it’s there for anyone who wants a real challenge as part of a great day out full of wonderful views, and it could be the perfect way to round off the Summer.”

The event is registered with British Cycling, and participants benefit from a whole host of event support services, including clear route signage, medical cover, and mobile mechanical support throughout the route.

There will also be a medal, a BBQ and an event bar waiting for riders at the finish and, by all accounts, anyone who takes on the challenge will certainly have earned their rewards!

CALVERT TRUST THIRD ANNUAL EAT DIRT EVENT

Mountain bike enthusiasts from across the South West will converge on the picturesque Exmoor town of Dulverton on 6 May 2018, for the third annual ‘Eat Dirt on Exmoor’ event.

Hosted by local charity Calvert Trust Exmoor, working in conjunction with British Cycling, the ‘Eat Dirt on Exmoor’ event offers cyclists the opportunity to enjoy 22 miles of beautiful Exmoor scenery, much of which is not normally open to the general public.

The route starts in the picturesque Exmoor town of Dulverton and follows the route of the River Barle up to Tarr Steps. From there the route climbs up onto the moor, with far-reaching views in all directions, before heading south east to the River Exe and then back into Dulverton for the finish line.

Rob Lott, Head of Communications at Calvert Trust Exmoor, said, “We’re delighted to be running this fantastic event again for the third year. Last year 282 riders took part, enjoying a fantastic ride and raising over £5,650, enabling us to help more people with disabilities to access cycling and other adventurous activities. We are extremely grateful to the wonderful people and businesses of Dulverton and the surrounding area; without their support in allowing us to use their land, volunteering to be marshals, running refreshment stations, and helping set up the route, this event just wouldn’t be possible.”

Registration for the event is just £21 per rider, with £20 of that fee going directly to Calvert Trust Exmoor to help them support people with disabilities to enjoy accessible adventure activities, including accessible cycling. (The remaining £1 is an administration fee retained by British Cycling).

The riders really enjoyed the 2017 event. “Rock solid ride out! Many thanks to all who helped. Great loop with nice challenging hills, I’m glad to have ridden all of them! Thanks to the landowners and villagers too. Loved the bluebells!” (Dave Hewlett)

To find out more about Eat Dirt on Exmoor or to sign up visit www.calvert-trust.org.uk/eatdirt or email Sharon from Calvert Trust Exmoor on sharon@calvert-trust.ork.uk.

LEISURE CENTRE PROJECT FOR NORTH DEVON MOVES FORWARD

The dream of a new leisure centre for North Devon took three monumental steps closer to reality last week, with exciting news from Sport England as the icing on the cake!

The project, led by North Devon Council’s Parks, Leisure and Culture team, will see a new eight-lane swimming pool and other leisure facilities built onto the Tarka Tennis Centre at Seven Brethren, Barnstaple.

Last week a planning application was submitted and validated, with hopes that this will be determined by December. The search for an operator to design, build, operate and maintain the new leisure facilities is now live, with details of the contract online at www.supplyingthesouthwest.org.uk – the closing date to register an interest and submit a response is 27 October 2017 at midday.

On Thursday 14 September, Sport England confirmed that its Investment Committee is in support of the project and has formally invited the council to submit an application for funding. This means Sport England has ring-fenced £1.5m towards the project, and will work alongside the council to support its application for funding. If successful, construction of the new facilities could begin in autumn 2018 and be complete by summer 2020.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We may have been fairly quiet about our leisure centre project for a while, but behind the scenes a huge amount of work has been going on to drive the project forward and this is the news we’ve been waiting for from Sport England. I am so delighted by their decision to support our application and look forward to continuing to work with them to progress our funding bid.

“We also reached two key milestones last week, with the planning application lodged and the contract out to tender. I would like to congratulate the officers for what they have achieved so far and thank them for their professionalism and continuing  hard work. North Devon Leisure Centre is coming to the end of its useful life and we’ve got to work hard to secure this funding to provide a new pool and leisure facilities to replace it.”

To keep up to date with the progress of this project, follow the council’s blog www.newleisurecentre.wordpress.com.

 

NORTH DEVON SCHOOLS SHOW JUMPING LEAGUE: OVERALL REPORT & REPORT FROM SOUTH MOLTON COLLEGE

Thank you to Vicky Fiddes for sending us this report of the North Devon Schools Showjumping League semi-finals, which took place last weekend. Vicki writes:

On Sunday 30 July North Devon Schools Show Jumping League held their semi-finals at Coxleigh Barton Equestrian Centre in Barnstaple.

The 50cm team competition was won by Chulmleigh Primary School’s team, The Cubs. The riders in the cubs team were: Zak Flanagan, Ella Otto, Morgan Callister and Fred Barlow. The 50cm individual winner was Lilli Fiddes from Braunton Academy, riding Redvears Peregrine.

The 60cm was won by Braunton Academy’s team, Trivium: Lilli Fiddes, Sienna Gray, Katie Holton and Poppy Priscott.  Katie Miles riding Apple Blossom from West Buckland took the individual win.

Sadly, during the 60 competition Chulmleigh rider, Ella, has a fall and broke her collar bone. We would like to take this opportunity to wish her a speedy recovery from everyone at NDSSJL and hope to see her back in action next season.

The 70cm team class was won by Bethany Robinson, Ellie Dawson, Molly Mellett and Caitie Streete, who were riding for Park Community College’s team 1. The individual winner was Grace Sinclair, riding Annandale Royal Warrant from South Molton Community College.

The 80cm team comp winners were South Molton. The riders making up Team Storm were Izzy Beard, Molly Matthews, Maisie Atkinson and Grace Sinclair. Grace and her horse Cregg Surprise  also took the  individual win.

The 90cm was run purely as an individual competition with Molly Matthews on Million Dollar Girls taking the win. She rides for South Molton Community College.

Head judge and course builder, Sara Gallagher, commented: “I have seen such an improvement from every one of the children, especially those who would not normally have the chance to go out and compete. I do love the team encouragement for each other.”

Show jumping trainer at NDSSJL,  Nancy Hutchings, said she had thoroughly enjoyed training lots of the individual and team riders and that the improvement in all the riders from the first show to now has been incredible to watch.

Organisers Jo Gay and Lucy Jenkinson and myself have thoroughly enjoyed running the series and can’t wait for the Championship event on 1 September at Coxleigh Barton. The League has been an absolute pleasure to run. Each and every child has done their school proud! They have all been fantastic to watch, have shown great team spirit and been very polite throughout every competition.

After our championship show at Coxleigh on 1 September, the new league will be starting on 1 October. The competition is open to all school age children in North Devon. Full info on how to get involved can be found on the North Devon Schools Show Jumping League facebook group or at Coxleigh.com.

And thank you to Mrs Sherwood, who sent us a report detailing how South Molton Community College got on at the semis. Here is what she wrote:

Showcasing show jumping talent, this year is the inaugural North Devon Schools Show Jumping League. A friendly, local competition held at Coxleigh Barton Equestrian Centre, the newly established league is encouraging and welcoming all North Devon pupils to take part. Representing their respective schools, the successes of individual pupils have been tallied across the league tables since the first event in April. The monthly qualifiers came to a head on Sunday 30th July.

Pupils from South Molton Community College have consistently performed exceptionally well – claiming first and second place in the 80cm class and first and second in the 90cm.

Horse riding requires huge amounts of dedication and resilience, winning classes has not been down to luck or chance. Our students have worked hard throughout the cold and dark winter months to prepare for this league. I am always impressed with how well they turn their horses out and how considerately they ride – always putting the horse or pony first.

The school’s Show Jumping Team have been sponsored by Acorn Saddlery this year, who have provided the team with their purple livery.

Andrew Finney, Principal of South Molton Community College, said: “We are immensely proud of our students and how well they represent our school and local community. We’re very much looking forward to the Championship in September.”

A lot of the students at South Molton Community College are part of their local Pony Clubs and often train and attend additional competitions. Most recently, Jess Cumings, Josh Flanagan and Molly Matthews qualified for Grass Roots Area Eventing, with Jess Cumings, Molly Matthews and Lily Cronk qualifying for Grass Roots Show Jumping. Caroline Sherwood said: “SMCC students are kind, motivated and hardworking – they can achieve anything they put their mind to – inside or outside of the classroom.”

Editor’s note – Exmoor Mag would like to hear from all schools with their individual reports if they want to send them in. Don’t be left out! Email  editor@exmoormagazine.co.uk to let us know how you got on at the Championship! Good luck to all the riders!

SOMERSET STAGES WILL TAKE YEAR OUT IN 2018

The following statement has been issued by the Somerset Stages…

The Organising Committee of the Somerset Stages Rally have decided to have a “Year Out” in 2018, which would have been our 40th running of the Somerset Stages Rally.

After considerable discussions we have reluctantly come to this decision.  The factors creating this are mainly due to the very much reduced entry level for our 2017 Event. The reduced entry level trend is occurring generally across all gravel events for reasons well known by all concerned.

However, the organising costs are continuing to rise each year, jeopardising the financial side of the Rally.

This has created a considerable overall financial loss, which has seriously impacted our reserve funds from previous year’s Events.  Also, we cannot see any signs of this situation improving in the near future, which would obviously impact entry levels in 2018.

This, together with some possible logistical restrictions on Stage usage in 2018, and some complications on public road closures for competitive use in the area. This will need to be resolved during the coming year, including arranging suitable insurance cover.

We are sure the businesses in the Minehead area and within the Exmoor National Park will be disappointed to hear this news, as they do support the Competitors and Organisers and we, and the Competitors, do generate a significant income into the local economy.

The Organising Team plan to return in 2019 with our 40th Anniversary Somerset Stages Rally, again using the Forestry Commission gravel roads, the Porlock Toll road, and a section of closed public road, if at all possible.

When the 2018 championships and rule changes have all been confirmed, we will announce our plans for 2019. In the meantime we would like to thank all those who have supported the event since its inception in 1977.

Howard West  –  Event Director
Jason Hayes  –  Clerk of the Course

PHOTO: The 2016 event winner Luke Francis / John H Roberts in their Evo9 – courtesy Gasmark Media.

WATCHET BOWLING CLUB STARTS TO REALISE ITS DREAM

Watchet’s ambitions to have a state-of-the-art Bowling Club are closer to being realised thanks to a £50,500 grant from a Leisure Fund secured from the Hinkley Point C project which is administered by West Somerset Council.

Watchet Bowling Club is keen to transform its facilities and provide a high-quality community venue for the area and the money will go towards the first phase of the project to replace old garages with a new indoor bowling rink.

The high-achieving club has a real track record: the women players reached the semi-finals of two trophies last season, while the men won the league and also swept the board in county competitions.

A new indoor rink will give the club the space for county-level competitions and make it possible for games to be played simultaneously, rather than have to wait for the one rink to become available.

The club has now gained planning consent for this project and is hoping the community will also support the initiative through the newly launched Somerset West Lottery. The club is one of the local good causes that will benefit from the weekly draws.

Tickets for the lottery are now available to buy and the first weekly draw takes place on 29 Jul, with a top prize of £25,000 on offer and a two-night stay in The Royal Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes as an additional bonus prize for this first draw. The lottery is a joint West Somerset Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council project to help community initiatives.

The Bowling Club started out on its journey to transform its premises four years ago and, after consulting the community, drew up plans to improve its own facilities while also providing a real community hub for educational, recreational, sporting and social activities for all age groups.

The initiative has three main strands:

  • replacement of garages with a new  indoor double rink bowling green with associated facilities
  • internal and external alterations to the existing clubhouse to provide a quality community venue able to accommodate 150 people
  • erection of an extension to provide a gym

The club is working in partnership with Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership and local providers and clubs.

The successful bid for funding from West Somerset Council will be followed by bids to other funding pots including Sport England, Power to Change and the Big Lottery.

Club treasurer, Marilyn Binding, said: “Watchet has no community venue able to accommodate large numbers. Our improved venue will fill this gap and it will provide somewhere for all sectors of the local community to take part in a wide range of activities.

“Our proposed project will act as an accessible and inviting focal point for our current population and newcomers moving here to work at Hinkley Point and join in with what is happening locally.

“The centre will make the most of the opportunity to target both workers themselves and their friends and families – encouraging them to participate together in community activities, including healthy living, educational, social and leisure activities.”

Cllr David Westcott, Lead Member for communities with West Somerset Council, said: “This is an ambitious project with a real community focus that will provide Watchet with facilities that many larger towns would envy.

“The Club has also shown the initiative to make a successful bid for funding from our Leisure Fund and to become one of the good causes supported by our local lottery.”

SOMERSET CCC AND MILES PARTNERSHIP RENEWED

Local Tea & Coffee merchant Miles continues to work with Somerset CCC following a successful year.

The Miles directors have announced a commitment to another year of partnership with the Somerset County Cricket ground. This will involve sampling on selected days throughout the year, competitions and exclusivity across the tea sector. Miles award winning tea blends will be available at outlets in the ground.

This is an exciting year for the County ground, with an International game and the Women’s World cup.

Sam Burton, Marketing Manager at Miles, said, “Following continued investment in our Somerset production sites, this partnership provides us with a perfect opportunity to share our passion for quality tea and provide a future for employment in our rural area. We are all excited to be working with Somerset CCC in such an historic year and congratulate them on hosting the Women’s World Cup and an international game.

Jez Curwin, Head of Commercial Operations at Somerset County Cricket Club, said, “We are delighted to continue to work alongside Miles Tea & Coffee as a local business, a good cuppa and cricket make the perfect combination. We are looking forward to developing a long working relationship.”

 

KING’S GIRLS RETAIN ISFA U18 TITLE

King’s College, Taunton set a new record when they won the Independent Schools’ Football Association (ISFA) Girls’ Under 18 eleven-a-side cup by beating ACS International School Cobham 9-1 in the final at the home of Thame United at the end of April.

King’s became the first team in the history of the competition to retain this national title. In addition, this is the third time in the past four seasons that they have lifted the trophy, underlining  the status of King’s College, Taunton as the leading independent school in England for girls’ football.

On the first evening, King’s dominated proceedings from start to finish, and by half time led 4-0 thanks to goals from Lucie Waddon (2), Karolayne Alencar and Sarah Hill.

After the break, King’s extended their lead, with goals from substitute Lannece Hole, Beth Barzotelli, Kayane Alencar, Captain Beth Beale and Sarah Hill, before Repton pulled one back late in the game.

Chris Heayns, the Director of Football at King’s Schools, said: “This is a very special group of players who have worked hard and come together to produce some outstanding football. In doing so, they have set an excellent example to the younger players following them through school. They fully deserve this success.”

The football program at King’s has come a long way under Chris Heayns, who has been in charge for eight years. The program continues to evolve to provide the right opportunities, and to ensure the experience for each player is the best it can be.

“We want every player to achieve the very best he or she can be, at the same time getting a sound education and enjoying all of the other opportunities the school offers,” said Chris.

“Many of the girls play in women’s football leagues and there is no doubt that our links with Exeter City Ladies and other clubs has been a valuable part of their development. Three girls who were part of the winning side joined our Sixth Form on scholarships two years ago. In September will be taking up scholarships in North America.”

King’s are once again offering Sixth Form Scholarships worth up to 50% in a range of subjects for candidates who have the talent and the aspiration and show outstanding potential in their field, who would like to join Year 12 in September 2017.

As well as receiving top-class coaching to develop their particular skills, all pupils at King’s benefit from being part of an exceptionally happy and caring community. The school offers highly regarded academic subjects that universities prefer, small class sizes, and teachers who inspire pupils to reach their full academic potential. There is a range of excellent facilities, a broad offering of co-curricular activities, and opportunities to stretch pupils academically, which include visits, seminars, clubs and societies that are open to all.

Anyone who would like to find out more should make contact with the school’s Registrar, Kate Rippin, on 01823 328204 or visit www.kings-taunton.co.uk

 

SOMERSET STAGES SUCCESS FOR PETCH

Durham rally driver Stephen Petch took a well-deserved victory at the Minehead-based Somerset Stages Rally on Saturday 8 April, but had to fight hard on all 14 stages to bring his Ford Fiesta WRC home in the top spot.

On paper, Petch looked to have dominated the dusty Exmoor forest stages but he didn’t have it all his own way during the event. Despite opening up an early event lead, Petch and co-driver Michael Wilkinson were challenged all day long by Callum Black and Elliott Edmondson in their Fiesta R5. Petch finally took the win after Black lost time in the closing loop of the day with power steering failure.  2013 rally winners Connor McCloskey and John Rowan made the worthwhile trip over from Ireland to round off the top three in their Fiesta WRC.

The seaside resort welcomed the 100 crews who started the Burnham-on-Sea Motor Club and Minehead Motor Club organised event, bolstered by crews from the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship, REIS ASWMC Loose Surface Rally Championship and FMP Rally Challenge.

The thousands of spectators that headed to Kennisham Forest to watch the action were in for a treat and number one seeds Luke Francis and John Roberts would be hoping to repeat their 2016 event win. Sadly they got off to a slow start, finding themselves languishing down in fifth place on the opening test of the day.

Ironically, the top three stage times on the opening stage would be the same order they finished, with Petch opening out a slender two-second lead over Black with McCloskey one second down. Not only that, but the top three positioned remained that way throughout the morning loop and, despite the efforts of others, no one could unseat the Fiesta trio on the gravel.

It would, however, change on the Porlock Hill stage when McCloskey lost time thanks to an ineffective handbrake and it gave others a chance to step into the frame. Hugh Hunter and Rob Fagg made a brief appearance in third sport with yet another Fiesta R5 but were edged out on the second run by Francis who was attempting a comeback.

Sadly Francis retired on the very next stage, leaving the door open for McCloskey to re-join the podium positions for the remainder of the day. But up front the battle had become intense and, with Black on a charge, he and Petch were now tied on times.  They remained neck and neck through stages eight and nine, with Black only losing out by one second in the tenth.

But Black’s impressive run would be undone with power steering failure in stage 13, losing over 20 seconds in the process, leaving Petch to take the event win by 11 seconds and spray the winners champagne on Minehead Seafront.

“This win could have gone in anyone’s favour today and it’s been a really close fought battle with Callum,” said Petch at the finish. “It’s great to finally win here and at one point I thought Callum and I would be equal coming back to the finish. He was really unlucky this afternoon. I’m no stranger to tie-breaks on the Somerset Stages though, losing out to Steve Perez on the countback rule in 2013 so it’s fantastic to finally get the win. It’s actually been a really tough rally so I’m glad we have come out on top.”

Hugh Hunter began to pick up the pace after the asphalt tests at Porlock and brought his Fiesta R5 home in a worthy fourth spot as the Ruthin driver continues to get to grips with the new car.

Taunton’s Martyn and Dawn England had the honour of being first local home on the event, finishing in fifth spot in their Fiesta R5+. England was happy with his progress through the day and, despite a “scrappy” opening few stages, settled down in the afternoon to climb the leader board from 16th spot after stage three.

The Production Cup battle for “showroom specification” models has always been impressive and this year’s Somerset Stages was no exception. Patrick Naylor and Ian Lawrence took the spoils in sixth overall, leading the trio of Mitsubishi E9’s of Russ Thompson / Andy Murphy and Richard Hill / Steffan Evans in eighth.

Tom Preston and Andrew Roughead took ninth overall in their Skoda Fabia R5 with Sacha Kakad and James Aldridge rounding out the top ten in their Mitsubishi E10.

In a rally of attrition, only 60 of the 100 starters made it back to Minehead and the tough Exmoor forests proved to be hard on cars and crews during the event.

More information on the event and full results will be available at www.somersetstagesrally.com

www.facebook.com/somersetstages

www.twitter.com/somersetstages

PHOTO: 2017 Somerset Stages winners in action – Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson in their Fiesta WRC. Courtesy of Gasmark Media.