Category Archives: Sport

BARNSTAPLE ABILITY FOOTBALL CLUB CELEBRATE TOUR OF BRITAIN

This is a press release from North Devon Council.

An event has been held by Barnstaple Ability Football Club to celebrate the Tour of Britain’s visit to North Devon recently, thanks to a grant from North Devon Council.

In the approach to the Tour of Britain travelling through North Devon, £3,000 of funds were made available by North Devon Council for any local community group or schools who wanted to get involved and celebrate the Tour. Barnstaple Ability FC used their grant of £200 to hold two events for their squad, including a Tour of Britain-themed football session and social, and a cycle along the Tarka Trail with players and their families. The club is made up of players over 16 with any additional needs, including sensory impairment, physical disability, learning difficulties and mental health issues.

At their football session on Thursday 30 August, the squad were encouraged to cycle to training, and afterwards spent time together enjoying a burger and the company of their family and friends. 45-50 people participated in the event, with people cycling to training from Abbotsham, Bideford, South Molton and Barnstaple to the club’s Tews Lane training ground at Bickington. At the club’s next event on Saturday 1 September, 20 cyclists from the football club set off from Barnstaple train station along the Tarka Trail to celebrate cycling and the Tour of Britain coming to North Devon, with refreshments along the way. Participants, who have a variety of additional needs including Down Syndrome, autism, learning difficulties, dyspraxia and mental health issues, used a variety of bikes to cycle along the trail to Bideford with stops at Fremington and Instow.

Melanie Regan, a volunteer coach and the chairperson for Barnstaple Ability Football Club, says: “We would like to thank North Devon Council, whose Tour of Britain grant made this event possible and meant that everyone, regardless of ability, was able to participate and enjoy cycling and celebrating the Tour coming to town. We are also grateful to Shelley’s Snacks, who provided the delicious food at our football social. Our events demonstrated that cycling is for everyone, with participants varying in age from five to sixty years old.”

North Devon Council’s Executive member for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We are so pleased that we were able to help our local communities get involved in the run-up to the Tour of Britain’s visit to North Devon. The events held by the Barnstaple Ability Football Club clearly brought joy to a lot of individuals, and encouraged people to get on their bikes and get fit, whatever their age and ability. We are very proud of how the people of North Devon welcomed the Tour to our beautiful district and hope our residents thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of the build-up and the big day.”

For more information about joining the Barnstaple Ability Football Club please contact Melanie Regan on 07764 767955 or by email to melanieregan7@icloud.com. Training takes place every Thursday at 5.45pm at various locations.

MINEHEAD TO WELCOME TOP UK AND EUROPEAN JET SKI RACERS

P1 AquaX Championships will serve up two days of high-speed marine motorsport action at the Minehead Summer Festival on the weekend of 4-5 August.

More than 40 jet ski riders from seven countries will head to Minehead Bay on the West Somerset coast to compete for UK and European P1 AquaX titles. This will be the first visit to Minehead by P1 AquaX since the race series was launched in the UK in 2011, and it now stages events in the USA, Malaysia and mainland Europe.

The Minehead Summer Festival has come about through a partnership between the Minehead Events Group, Minehead Coastal Communities Team, ThunderCat powerboats and P1 AquaX. It is hoped that the weekend will become an annual event to entertain residents and attract visitors to the town to raise its profile and boost the local economy. The double bill of fast and furious jet ski and powerboat racing will be free to watch and Andy Hadley, chairman of the Minehead Events Group, said: “As a fun weekend for all the family to enjoy, we are hoping to attract visitors from far and wide to watch the top class jet ski and powerboat racing, and I want to thank local sponsors Amicus Law, Beaver Ford, CJ Lynch & Sons, Autohaus and Jewson for their support in making this event possible.”

Mayor of Minehead, Cllr Norman Hercock, is looking forward to the Summer Festival: “I’m sure all the sporting action that will take place on Minehead seafront will deliver a special and entertaining weekend for both local residents and holidaymakers alike.”

Former world champion jet skier and now Global Head of P1 AquaX, Lisa Barsby, explains: “Our events take place on the sea with simple, wide-open race courses that give riders the chance to open up their throttles and enjoy the full performance of the craft. The racing includes both sprint and endurance classes, lasting about 10 minutes and 30 minutes respectively, with the racers reaching speeds of up to 80mph.

The four-venue P1 AquaX EuroTour series kicked off on France’s Mediterranean coast in May – following the announcement that Experience Kissimmee, the travel and tourism authority in central Florida that promotes the destination, had become the title sponsor of this season’s tour – and then visited Normandy last month. After Minehead the racers will travel to Port Balis near Barcelona for the final round in October. The UK Championship has raced in Torquay and Porthcawl this Summer and Minehead now hosts the finale.

One of the competitors with only a short journey next week will be Simon Gill, the experienced and successful jet skier from Bristol who is the reigning UK and European champion in 2-stroke sprint. “Minehead is just down the road,” says Simon, “And I often ride that coastline. There’s a very fast rise and fall tide there, with a range of more than 12 metres in the Bristol Channel, so it could make for some exciting racing especially if there’s a bit of wind about to produce some interesting conditions.”

The jet ski action will start at 9.30am on Saturday (4 August) and 11.30am on Sunday (5 August), with the podium presentations to the winning riders taking place on The Esplanade at 4pm on Sunday. The racing will be filmed for television and shown internationally on leading sports channels and also on P1AquaX-YouTube.

For information about the weekend follow this link… p1aquax.com/Race-info/Minehead/2018/86196

NORTH DEVON GYMNAST TO REPRESENT GREAT BRITAIN

North Devon’s Adam Tobin has qualified to represent Great Britain at the European Championships in Glasgow next month.

The event is an exciting new multi-sport competition bringing together some of Europe’s leading athletes in gymnastics, rowing, triathlon, golf, cycling, aquatics and athletics. Adam is the only gymnast from the South West in the junior team of five.

Seventeen-year-old Adam is also waiting to hear if he has been selected to represent Great Britain at the Youth Olympic Games at Buenos Aires this autumn. If successful, he will be the only male gymnast to represent Great Britain at the event, which will be a massive springboard for his gymnastics career.

Falcons Gymnastics Academy was founded in 2004 and has firmly established itself as the leading gymnastics facility in the South West, with members travelling from as far away as Bristol to take advantage of the world-class coaching and equipment on offer.

In 2012, North Devon Council made land available next to the Tarka Tennis Centre in Barnstaple and agreed a low-interest loan of £200,000 to enable Falcons to build a brand new state-of-the-art facility. The club was also lucky enough to receive the gymnastic equipment used at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Falcons now has 26 coaches teaching 1,000 children each week, which is the largest number of participating members of any sports club in North Devon.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “Adam can be rightly proud of this achievement and I’m looking forward to hearing if he has been selected for the Junior Olympics. Falcons has gone from strength to strength, which is credit to the commitment and vision of the coaching team and the hard work and determination of the club’s members. This puts North Devon firmly on the sporting map!”

Mike Beagley, Head Coach at Falcons, says: “We’re all so proud of Adam, he’s worked very hard to get to the European Championships and everyone at the club is really excited for him. Adam is one of the sport’s rising stars and the Europeans will be a great experience for him. He would never have got this far without this facility on his doorstep, so I’d like to thank the council for believing in our vision and supporting the development of gymnastics in North Devon.”

Having completed his studies at PETROC, gymnastics is now Adam’s full-time career, with funding from British Gymnastics allowing him to travel all around the world to compete. This year he’s already visited Texas, Germany, Portugal and Azerbaijan. If he makes it to the Youth Olympics he will be jetting off to Argentina in October.

Adam Tobin says: “I’m really proud to be part of the British Gymnastics team. I have to work hard, training 29 hours a week at Falcons and once a month I travel up to the National sports centre in Lilleshall with Mike. It’s really inspiring to train alongside Olympic athletes. Now I’ve finished studying, life is a bit easier as I can now dedicate all my time to training and nutrition. I’ve had an awesome start to 2018 and I hope to do myself, Falcons and Great Britain proud at the Europeans next month.”

Adam isn’t the only Falcons gymnast to make it to National Squad. Nineteen-year-old Joe Cemlyn-Jones is part of the GB senior squad, training and competing alongside double Olympic champion Max Whitlock MBE.

You can follow Adam’s progress at the European Championships at www.glasgow2018.com, tickets are available online and the event will be televised. Also, regular updates will be posted on the Falcons Gymnastics Academy Instagram page.

Falcons Gymnastics Academy offers a range of classes suitable for all ages and abilities. For more information follow Falcons on Facebook, Instagram or go to www.falconsgymnastics.co.uk.

PHOTO: Coach Mike Beagley with Adam Tobin at Falcons Gymnastics Academy, Barnstaple.

U14 CRICKET TEAM TAKES COUNTY TITLE

West Buckland School’s U14 cricket team have been crowned Devon county champions after a good win against Exeter School. The quality of the squad is unquestioned, having kept a clean sheet of wins all season.

West Buckland, in North Devon, has a strong heritage of sport and this win for the U14s comes on the back of this squad having won the same title at U13 level. In fact, the current U14s remain unbeaten in all boys sport for the entire academic year!

In a strong team effort, there were a few individual performances of note. Lead wicket-taker of the match was Ethan Cross and top run scorer was Reuben Windley, who are both in Year 9.

Cricket coach, Dom Ford, is impressed with their results this summer but sees this as just part of the bigger picture at the school. “West Buckland has always invested fully in its sport and the boys’ efforts are testament to this. But it is not just the cricket that is benefiting, This summer will see the astroturf pitch surface replaced, which will be great for our boys and girls hockey. In addition, our tennis programme continues to be very popular with our senior teams remaining unbeaten for two seasons!”

 

TAUNTON CIDER JOINS THE GREAT EXMOOR RIDE

The Great Exmoor Ride, a new Somerset city-to-coast challenge bike ride taking place on Sunday 2nd September, has joined forces with the recently re-launched Taunton Cider Company to help riders celebrate their achievements at the end of this year’s challenge.

The Ride starts in Taunton and takes participants on a stunning 66-mile journey through quiet Somerset country lanes and across the eastern part of Exmoor National Park, before ending in a tranquil spot on the West Somerset coast at Blue Anchor near Minehead.

And, thanks to this new partnership, this summer thirsty riders can look forward to sinking a well-earned pint (or two) of Taunton Cider after a very rewarding and enjoyable day in the saddle.

Darren McKimm, the Ride Organiser, commented: “Taunton Cider has been recognised internationally as one of the best ciders in the world and we’re absolutely delighted to have them on board as one of our key supporters – it’s obviously a great Somerset partnership for the Ride which starts in Taunton, and it’s great to know that our riders will now be able to enjoy a pint of proper cider from Somerset when they cross the finish line!

“Taunton Cider has an extensive history and heritage but in its current form it’s also something refreshing and new from Somerset, just like the GER, and it feels like the perfect West Country combination for the Ride – a fabulous Somerset route with a pint of proper Somerset cider waiting at the finish – so participants can really look forward to a fantastic challenge AND a great day out.”

Matt Hill, from Taunton Cider, added: “Taunton Cider is very pleased to be supporting this fantastic Somerset event and adding to everyone’s enjoyment on the day – it’s great to see people being active and taking on this sort of personal challenge, and we also really like the fact that riders are encouraged to use their efforts to fundraise for charity. Prostate Cancer UK is a great cause to support, so we’d encourage all our customers and fans to think about taking part and then celebrating with us at the finish”.

“Taunton Cider is made from a variety of bitter sweet apples grown in a number of local orchards so it really is proper cider from Somerset, and that makes it the perfect way to round off what should be a challenging and thoroughly enjoyable day at the Great Exmoor Ride – hopefully the thought of a hard-earned and well-deserved pint of Taunton Cider at the end will spur everyone on!”.

Participants can certainly look forward to a spectacular route that will test the legs before ending by the sea on a quiet and unspoilt part of the Somerset coast.

A spokesman added: “It’s a great chance to make summer feel like it’s lasting that little bit longer, and we’re expecting to see a great big smile on people’s faces from the huge sense of achievement that they’ll feel at completing the challenge.”

The event is registered with British Cycling, the sport’s governing body, and participants will benefit from a whole host of event support services, including clear route signage, medical cover, and mobile mechanical support, and there will also be a free BBQ at the finish for riders in addition to the Taunton Cider bar.

Further information and full details on the event, including how to enter, can be found at www.greatexmoorride.com.

NORTH DEVON PIONEER PROJECT

Press release issued by North Devon Council

Are you a super surfer, kayaking king or prefer to stand-up paddle, dive, sail or swim in the sea? Maybe you want to have a go at these sports but something puts you off?

North Devon Council wants to hear from local people in North Devon and Torridge about how they do (or don’t) use the sea to exercise, in order to better understand the value, issues and benefits of using our marine environment. Anyone with an interest in outdoor watersports is encouraged to take part in a short survey online at www.northdevon.gov.uk/consultations before 19 June.

North Devon has been selected to be part of a study which explores how we can best manage our marine assets (geology, soil, air, water and living things) for the benefit of the environment, economy and people. The council wants to capture all the useful knowledge that local people have about how North Devon’s marine environment is used and appreciated by the people who live all across the coast.

Executive member for Environment, Councillor Rodney Can, says: “North Devon has an exceptional coastline and we are very proud of our marine environment, which is enjoyed by our local residents and thousands of visitors every year. Being chosen as part of the Marine Pioneer project recognises North Devon’s national importance and I would encourage anyone who enjoys outdoor watersports, including surfing, kayaking, kite-surfing and sea swimming to get involved. Equally, if you would like to take part in outdoor watersports but don’t, we would like to know the reasons why.”

Executive Member for Economic Regeneration, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “As well as the obvious benefits to our environment, the results of studies like this are really important when we apply for funding for important projects to deliver new facilities in the area. This has a knock-on effect on our local economy and enhances the health and prosperity of the area as a whole. You have until  June to take part in our survey so please get online today if you are involved, or want to be involved in outdoor watersports in northern Devon.”

The consultation stretches to outdoor watersports clubs and a separate survey has been sent to each club in the area. If you have not received this survey, please get in touch with the council’s Economic Development team on 01271 388369.

More information about the Marine Pioneer Project is available at www.northdevonbiosphere.org.uk/marinepioneer.

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.