Sports Update by Chris Lines

Along with material from some regular contributors, this month’s update includes news from local boccia superstar Lee Maddison, who continues to perform brilliantly at the highest level.

Meanwhile, as we hopefully head into more summery weather (how many times have I written ‘hopefully’ in relation to the weather in these updates?!), I have some useful information about local opportunities to play tennis and bowls.

Boccia

In March, Sedgefield’s own Lee Maddison travelled to Ireland for the four nations 2024 Boccia Challenger event. Athletes from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales attended the twoday competition.

After battling through the rounds, showing some fantastic skill and even beating a Boccia UK (Team GB) athlete on his way, Lee made it to the final on the Sunday. He didn’t quite secure the title, but winning a silver medal was a great result.

As always, Lee’s friends and family are very proud of him, and as ever, huge thanks go to Chris Foster, his sports assistant, without whom these great achievements would not be possible.

Squash

The Durham & Cleveland Squash Leagues have concluded for the 2023/24 season. The ladies’ team have once again led the way, securing the championship by just four points ahead of Leyburn in a thrilling season finale. The first team finished a very creditable fourth in the Premier Division, especially notable as the top five seeded players are home grown talent. A special mention and congratulations go to Rob Pearce, the club’s number one, who has been awarded the Premier League Player of the Year.

After a slow start, the second team finished mid table in Division 1. The third team had a tough season and were relegated from Division 2. They are already preparing for next year after a team bonding session around Sedgefield’s excellent pubs and restaurants. The fourth team boasts a mix of experience, youth and ‘new to team squash’ players. Competing in Division 3 is a huge challenge, and the team has performed well over the season, finishing in ninth position.

Finally, as reported in last month’s update, the club made it to the shortlist of four for England Squash Club of the Year. Unfortunately, Sedgefield did not win, but it was a great achievement to make it so far and everyone at the club is rightly proud of that. Congratulations go to Abbeydale Club from Yorkshire which won the award.

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

Tennis

Chilton and Sedgefield Tennis Club is gearing up for a busy summer. Based at Chilton Miner's Welfare Ground, the club has four courts, including two with floodlights, and has plans to add a fifth in the near future. Chilton and Sedgefield fields four teams in the Cleveland League, a well-established six-division league, playing in summer and autumn competitions.

This year's cup draw means that the club’s A and B teams will meet competitively for the first time in the last 16. Chilton and Sedgefield holds social sessions throughout the year and the timings vary, depending on the schedule of competition matches.

However, typically, players get together every Sunday morning and rotate Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. There are also more relaxed sessions on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. In short, there are plenty of opportunities to play!

The club welcomes anyone, whatever their level of experience. It also has a coaching programme on Sunday mornings, which is open to all ages, plus internal singles and doubles competitions throughout the summer.

To find out more or get involved, use the following contact details: Club website - clubspark.lta.org.uk/SedgefieldTennisClub Facebook - facebook.com/Chiltontc Instagram -instagram.com/chilton_sedgefield_tennis_club.

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.

Cricket

Sadly, the local cricket season’s opening weekend had to be postponed, because the weather had prevented clubs from being able to prepare pitches.

So, hopefully(!) next month, I will include a round up of the first fixtures featuring teams fielded by Sedgefield Cricket Club.

Athletics

Sedgefield was well represented in the County Durham Schools Cross Country Finals in March. Pupils from Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 at Sedgefield Primary School and Sedgefield Hardwick Primary School took part in the event.

Congratulations go to Jessie Davies and Karl Thompson who both ran brilliantly to come home with silver medals after their races. Meanwhile, the senior cross country season is nearly complete. Once again, Sedgefield Harriers’ men’s team has been competing in Division 2 of the North East Harrier League.

With one fixture to go, the team is in ninth position, three points above the relegation zone. The final race is scheduled for 13 April for nearby Thornley Hall Farm, so there are high hopes of fielding a big squad and securing a place in the division for a third year in a row, which will be a notable achievement when competing with some of the region’s biggest clubs.