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Boxing and chess supporting African schools

A sporting event combining cerebral prowess with boxing agility is being staged in Norwich to support an innovative Norfolk charity that uses technology to deliver education to remote African schools.

Chessboxing sees opponents slug it out and then sit down and swap chess moves in alternating rounds in a sport that truly brings brain and brawn together.

Four bouts are being staged at Norwich OPEN on Saturday, October 21, to raise funds for the Yellobric charity’s work in harnessing technology to deliver eBooks and e-Learning platforms to African schoolchildren.

Yellobric founder Gavin Paterson, who farms at Smallburgh, promised: “It will be much more than a sporting event; we have commentators explaining chess moves, there will be a bar, cabaret, DJ and food and there will be a great atmosphere on the night.”

Among the contestants is 25-year-old former UEA student Cameron Little. Now a geotechnical technician, which involves surveying land across East Anglia as a precursor to development, he has been chessboxing for a year and fights under the name of Hurt Locker.

“I think chessboxing coming to Norwich is great,” he said. “It represents the sport growing beyond the confines of London and into other parts of the UK. As I also used to live in Norwich, I am hopeful a few friends will come out and show support.”

Chessboxing has been described as “a wild mix-up of two of mankind’s oldest sporting obsessions” and sees the winner decided by checkmate or knock-out, whichever comes first.

Cameron’s opponent on the night is Matt Gershfield, aka Jock Talk, a British advertising executive based in Amsterdam. Local fighters from Norwich include Prince Titus Beya-Smiler, known to friends as Lambert and with a fight name of the Prince of Pawn. Lambert studied criminology at UEA and is now a key worker at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust working as a mental health specialist.

Cameron started playing chess when he was 10 but also did Tae Kwon Do for about four years. “I’m used to training hard, but I would consider myself more a chess player who boxes,” he added. “Putting the two sports together is the ultimate test of brawn and brain. Remaining sharp over the board gets more difficult after you’ve exhausted yourself on the boxing and taken hits to the head. Add the pressure – there are maybe 500 people watching you – and it is a real challenge.”

Yellobric was formed by Gavin after a visit to Africa and gained charitable status in November 2011. Over the past six years it has delivered e-Learning platforms to schools in Africa and provided more than 300,000 eBooks at a fraction of the cost of conventional novels and textbooks.

Doors open for the chessboxing event at the OPEN Norwich at 7pm on Saturday, October 21, with the first fight at 8pm. Tickets start at £15 (£12 – NUS). For more information and ticket details visit www.londonchessboxing.com or www.opennorwich.org.uk or call 01603 763111.

Sign up now for summer holiday sports challenge

The summer holidays are on their way – what are you going to do with your time?
A full week of active, healthy fun will be on offer this summer for young people who sign up to Challenge 23.
Challenge 23 is an action packed week of sporting activity for children aged six to 14, based at Stalham Sports Centre.
For the 23rd year this summer North Norfolk District Council’s expert coaches will create a whole week of fun games, sports and activities, in the form of the ever popular Challenge Week.
Challenge 23 kicks off on Monday, August 7, and runs every day until Friday, August 10, It costs £90 per head.
The week combines a safe and welcoming environment, the chance to make friends, excellent coaching and lots of opportunities for adventure. Days run from 9am-3pm, except for Friday which is 8am-5pm.
Friday will include a trip to the Horstead Centre and include canoeing, crate stack, tower experience and team challenges.
This will be followed by an end of week presentation back at the sports centre and a party for everyone to enjoy.
Maggie Prior, cabinet member for leisure, health and wellbeing, said: “Challenge Week is a fabulous, excellent value opportunity to take exercise all week, trying out different sports, games and activities, while having a thoroughly enjoyable and fulfilling experience.
“It’s delivered by our highly talented staff who know how to combine learning new skills with lots of fun.”
There is a Challenge 23 open day in advance of the full event where you can come and meet the team, learn all about Challenge, ask questions, sign up and try out activities for free. This will be held on July 16 10am-2pm, at Stalham Sports Centre.

For further information, there is a dedicated Challenge 23 event page on Facebook, visit www.north-norfolk.gov.uk/book, call 01692 580864 or email john.hall-galley@north-norfolk.gov.uk.

Gresham’s pupil selected to join national rifle team

Gresham’s Sixth Form pupil, Toby Little has enjoyed a cracking start to 2017 after being selected as a member of the Great Britain Cadet Rifle Team, The Athelings.

The Athelings (meaning young noble) is a team of 18 cadets selected from the best cadet forces from across the country.  Toby has secured his place on the team for a month-long tour to Canada in August.

Toby has enjoyed an exceptional 12 months in the small-bore range.  He has recently been a member of the Gresham’s team which defended the British School Leagues for the eighth consecutive term.  He was involved with the Gresham’s team that won the British Schools Team of VIII competition and is also into the Final, with his team mates, in the National Team Handicap Competition, which they hope to defend for the third consecutive year. Toby is also the current British Under 16 Small-Bore Champion.

A delighted Toby, who was selected from more than 1,000 competitors at the National Rifle Association’s Imperial Meeting, said: “I am really pleased with my selection and I am really happy to have made my family proud. I am looking forward to meeting the team and spending the time in Canada.”

Gresham’s master of shooting Freddie Grounds said: “This is a wonderful achievement for Toby and it is a deserving reward for the dedication and the many hours of training he has put in since he first joined the Rifle Club in 2013.  In the last year or so, Toby has really started to show his true ability and he has never really looked back since his outstanding performance at the 2016 NRA Imperial Meeting.

“Toby continues to improve all the time and is certainly one of the top shots in the country for his age group and his name is now up there with the very best shots that Gresham’s has produced over the years.”

Toby follows in the footsteps of an impressive number of former pupils who have been selected to the join prestigious team.  Gresham’s has seen 18 pupils represent the Athelings during the course of the last 10 years, an amazing achievement in itself.

Toby Little Athelings selection Jan 2017

First female captain in Cromer Golf Club history

Royal Cromer Golf Club has achieved an important milestone in its history with the election of Jayne Jones as the first female club captain in its 129-year history.
Jayne was elated to receive the unanimous support of the membership vote to elect her as captain for the 2017 season, saying: “It is with immense pleasure that I accept the role of  club captain. I am here to serve the members, the committee and all of our fantastic staff. I am so looking forward to working alongside the whole team and together to take the club forward.”
Jayne identified the development of the junior section as a particular goal for 2017 and was delighted that a partnership with Cromer Academy was recently agreed to offer free coaching to its pupils.
Royal Cromer Golf Club was formed in 1888 and was immediately given Royal Patronage by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII. Jayne joins a long list of distinguished individuals to be given the honour of representing the club as captain. The first was the Rev HC Rogers who graciously presented seven silver medals for competitions held during his year and was clever enough to win the only medal to be retained by its winner.

Rev Rogers has been followed by many important people including The Lord Suffield and Sir Samuel Hoare MP, who was the Home Secretary.
Now approaching its 129th year, Royal Cromer Golf Club continues to hold a prominent position amongst the nation’s golf courses and attracts visiting golfers from across the world.

Jayne is picture second left with Mick Baxter, vice-captain and ladies' captain and vice-captain.

Jayne is picture second left with Mick Baxter, vice-captain and ladies’ captain and vice-captain.

New football pitch and facilities at Cabbell Park

Cromer’s Cabbell Park improvement works are on track for an early completion, with the pitch relocation completed on Friday (December 2).

North Norfolk District Council commissioned Renosteel Construction, Thrower & Rutland and Redhill Services to carry out work on Cabbell Park after MedCentres received the go-ahead for the multi-million pound medical centre this autumn.

Work was scheduled with Cromer Town Football Club, to ensure it didn’t disrupt the playing schedule.

As well as moving the pitch the council has:

Drained land at the western end of the park to ensure the realigned pitch is to the required playing standard;

Provided a new match officials’ changing facility on the Cromer Academy site;

Refurbished and improved the team changing rooms at Cromer Academy as a replacement for the dated facilities at Cabbell Park;

Provided a new path and gate linking Cabbell Park to the changing rooms;

Moved the floodlights and ducting to ensure the pitch is playable in the evenings;

Moved the pitch, goals and dug-outs to comply with football league regulations;

Put up new posts and rail to match the new pitch layout;

Put in a new electricity supply.

Tom FitzPatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said: “We have been working hard to put the new facilities in, to support the provision of a modern health centre for the people of Cromer and to ensure that the club and football supporters have the facilities they need.

“The before and after photographs tell the story of our investment in Cabbell Park. We will have improved football facilities, the clubhouse is available to be used and there will be a modern medical centre to serve the people of Cromer. The council is also working to identify a long term home for community sports facilities that can serve the people of Cromer.”

The pitch has been moved westwards within the site. Part of the ‘old’ pitch forms part of the ‘new’ pitch.

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Wimbledon lawnmowers gifted to Cromer Tennis Club

Two lawnmowers which cut the most famous grass in the tennis world will be heading to Cromer to take up their new permanent home in the new year.

Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club groundsmen Matthew Jordan and Peter Cooper will be taking ownership of two of Wimbledon’s mowers in January to help them maintain the excellent surfaces for which the club has become well known.

The famous All England Club, which manages Wimbledon, has gifted the mowers to Cromer.

Matt, aka Jordy, who is the year round groundsman at the Norwich Road club, explained: “A lot of care goes into the surface to ensure it is well maintained all year around. People think it’s just a summer job, but that’s not the case. We put in the work all year and that’s why the Cromer club is in the top six grass courts in the country.”

With 10 grass courts to maintain the surface comes in for a lot of wear and tear during the season, which usually runs from April to October.

For eight years Jordy has been scarifying, spiking, clearing and cutting, fertilising and top dressing the surface to ensure people are playing on one of the best grass court lawns in the country.

He and Peter have continued to build on the great work of Bob Cox, who maintained the courts for 40 years before he retired in 1978, and Mike Thompson, who then took up the mantle for a further 29 years.

“When the tennis season is in full swing and a tournament is on we cut and mark every day, otherwise it’s every other day,” added Jordy. Even out of season we keep it clipped and treat it. We have a regular maintenance programme and we spray and fertilise to keep the rye grass surface in good condition.”

Nationally the focus of the Lawn Tennis Association is to keep grass courts across the country as good as possible and once a year representatives from the LTA inspect grass surfaces across the country.

“The way we see it, keeping grass courts is key to this country producing the next Wimbledon champion, it’s fundamental to that,” said Jordy.

The Cromer duo was recently invited to Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Association to share their expertise in grounds maintenance and carry out their end of season renovation, a testament to their hard work and dedication.

Multiple doubles Grand Slam winner and Davis Cup champion Jamie Murray and Dan Evans, who is also a Davis Cup champion, are among many leading names to have played at Cromer.

Judy Oliver, North Norfolk District Council representative on the club committee said: “The club has a fascinating history, and has welcomed its fair share of famous players through the years from Winston Churchill’s wife through to seven times champion Dorothy Chambers and Wimbledon champion Ann Jones. My hope is that the next Wimbledon champion comes from North Norfolk.”

Matthew Jordan and Peter Cooper, groundsmen at Cromer Lawn Tennis Club will shortly be taking ownership of two Wimbledon mowers at the start of next year.

Matthew Jordan and Peter Cooper, groundsmen at Cromer Lawn Tennis Club will shortly be taking ownership of two Wimbledon mowers at the start of next year.

Silver for dodgeball duo

Dodgeball players Lauren Hems and Holly Edmonds returned from the recent European Championships in Paris as part of the silver medal-winning England Lions Ladies team.

They previously represented their country in April at the World Cup.
Lauren and Holly were helped on their way to medal glory following a rigorous exercise programme set by England Dodgeball. North Norfolk District Council staff supported them and in collaboration with leisure operator Places for People offering free gym passes at Splash Leisure and Fitness Centre.
Becky Palmer Cabinet Member for Leisure said: “This is such a great result. North Norfolk District Council is incredibly proud of Lauren and Holly and the whole team. And we’re delighted to have been able to support Lauren and Holly’s training in the build-up to the European Championships in Paris, and for many tournaments and matches to come.”
The duo, who both live in Briston and learned the game during their time at Reepham High School and College. before they were signed up, they went through a physical assessment day and were given a rigorous exercise programme by England Dodgeball.
Before the event, Holly said: “This support is helping us achieve our dreams. Being able to challenge our bodies means we can take dodgeball to the next level; by getting stronger we can be the best we possibly can be.”
Stephen Mews, General Manager Splash Leisure and Fitness Centre, Sheringham said: “It’s fantastic we can support two local athletes. It is often difficult to get funding in sports and we are happy to support any local sporting talent.”
England manager Johnathan Rudland said: “It is vital for our players to have access to the best facilities to complete their strength and conditioning programme and it’s fantastic that North Norfolk District Council and People for Places have been able to support some of our team in such a way.
“Both Lauren and Holly have the potential to be a part of the England squad for many years ahead and this kind of support will help them progress as young athletes.”

You can follow England Lions Dodgeball on Facebook: www.facebook.com/englandlionsdodgeball/
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North Walsham young sports stars recognised at glittering ceremony

North Walsham’s young sports stars have been recognised at a glitzy ceremony at the town’s Atrium, as North Walsham High School’s annual Sports Presentation evening acknowledged the school’s high achievers of 2015.

England U16s star Lauren Hemp topped the awards, carrying off the prestigious Graeme Wilton Award for Sporting Excellence, as well as the first ever International Award, reflecting her achievements as a member of the national football squad.

The annual Sports Personality Award – given to the outstanding sports contributor in the year group which left in the summer – went jointly to Liam Clarke and Chloe Yarham.

Meanwhile, Amy Hewitt received a Service to PE Award, with Nathan Allen and Victoria Earp both receiving Outstanding Endeavour Awards.

As well as recognising those who had done well at school level, the ceremony also saw awards given to individuals and teams which had competed at county and area level.

The guest speaker was Paralympian and Sky Sports Living for Sport Mentor, Fran Williamson.

School Head of PE Paul Bradshaw commented, “Sport is a particular strength at North Walsham High School, and our annual awards are a chance to recognise publicly those who have really achieved great things over the past 12 months.

“As well as those who have reached the very highest level, there were many students receiving awards, reflecting the breadth of participation in sport at all levels across the school – something that was recognised in October when we were awarded a Silver School Games Mark.

“Sport can play such an important role for young people, not just in encouraging physical fitness and healthy living, but also in fostering a sense of teamwork, challenge and achievement which will benefit them way beyond the sports field and into their future lives.”