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2022: A REVIEW OF THE YEAR

Whilst bringing you monthly columns on fitness, nutrition, mental health and sports psychology over the past year, there has also been an awful lot of sport taking place. Here is our guide to the past 12 months.

At the start of 2022 we interviewed Sevenoaks’ new Winter Olympic hopeful – Isabella Fassnidge, and she told us what it was like to follow in Lizzy Yarnold’s footsteps. We also ‘Made Some Noise’ for Sevenoaks Swimming Club as the club celebrated 90 of its members taking part in the Kent Championships, and we reported on Eva Okaro being selected for the 2021-22 Swim England Junior Squad.

Sevenoaks Hockey Club and HC Knole Park were both in rampant mode as the latter lifted two National Indoor titles and Sevenoaks Town’s women get promoted to the top flight of the South East Counties Womens Football League for the very first time.

Showcase event planning and Sevenoaks women in sport
We were very busy in February organising our inaugural Showcase Event which was to be held in the grounds of Knole Academy at the end of June. We interviewed Susie Rowe, former England Cricketer and Sevenoaks Hockey Club member, as part of our feature on Sevenoaks’ women in sport, which also included Eva Okaro, Bethany Ecuyer-Dale and Lizzy Yarnold.

Sevenoaks Town Football Club appointed Harry Hudson as their new manager, after releasing Mickey Collins from the role after seven years.

The John Heuerman Tennis Academy were offering free coaching sessions to the local community and the Savills Sevenoaks Smash was placed in the diary with an even bigger tournament for 2022.

On the March
Sevenoaks Rugby Club were quite literally on the verge of gaining a much-deserved promotion to the National League of English Rugby after defeating rivals Dorking in a closely fought contest. Nine Sevenoaks-based hockey teams secured promotion including HC Knole Park, who saw their two women’s sides take their respective Championships by a storm!

Sevenoaks Town FC started to wiggle their way out of a relegation battle and gained distance in the fight for survival in the Isthmian League.

Champions of Rugby
Sevenoaks Rugby Club overcome their last bundle of fixtures to win the England Rugby’s London & SE Premier Division and gain promotion to National League 2, their highest ever level in the club’s history, highlighted by our special Champions in the magazine, thanks to local photographer Dave Purday.

Sevenoaks Town’s women also clinched their title after a spectacular season and Chipstead Football Club held on to get the job done with promotion to the Kent County Premier League.

Meanwhile, Sevenoaks Hockey Club ladies added two more titles in the South East Hockey League, whilst their men’s 4’s and 9’s, and their ladies 7’s also added promotions to the bag.

In the summertime
Joining our front cover in the summer was young Sevenoaks swimmer Eva Okaro who was off to the European Junior Championships. We caught up with her and her twin sister Izabella, two very talented swimmers, to discuss all things poolside and why they are both at the top of their game.

We brought you the news that Sevenoaks District Council had successfully obtained funding for a much-needed cycle/walking path for northern Sevenoaks, although we have still yet to see any actual movement on this as the year closes out.

Local club Aquaoaks Artistic Swimming Club celebrates a 95-gold medal haul at the recent Kent Championships, and Olympic Gold medallist Joe Choong visited the next generation of athletes at Sevenoaks School.

We held our Showcase Event at Knole Academy with over 30 local clubs representing football, rugby, hockey, swimming, cricket, cheerleading, martial arts, boxing, athletics, tennis, basketball, fitness, dance and singing. We also had a number of local street food vendors and a Double Decker Bus Bar which went down a storm.

Award season
It was an absolute pleasure to announce in July that we had won two Sevenoaks Business Awards. Taking home the Independent Business of the Year award and the New Business award, which is given to businesses under five years old.

Sevenoaks Sport & Wellbeing commented on the occasion, saying: “We would like to dedicate these awards to all the people who make the Sevenoaks District such a great place to play and take part in sport. From the young child getting bullied at school, but found solace with sport; to the men and women who struggle with anxiety due to the pandemic, who now volunteer at their local club, these awards are for you!

Back on the pitch
We celebrated local football in all it’s different forms as we had joint interview with the managers of our Isthmian League sides, Harry Hudson at Sevenoaks Town, and Michael Golding at Corinthian.

We spoke to Kemsing United about their celebration plans for their centenary year and with England’s Lionesses winning the Euro’s we met up with the newly formed women’s side at New Ash Green FC and Chipstead FC. We then paid tribute to Alec ‘Chuffer’ Broad, a legend in the local refereeing world, who will be sorely missed.

England Rugby star Shaunagh Brown visited the ladies at Swanley Rugby Club for a training session.

It was then finals day at the Savills Sevenoaks Smash on The Vine and reigning Cup holders Holmesdale Stallions were back to retain the trophy once more. Other local sides Shoreham & Otford Darenth Valiants beat Dartford Destroyers in the Bowl whilst Sevenoaks Vine Jazzers overcame a spirited Leeds & Broomfield Queens in the Plate with just two balls to spare.

Up, up, and away…
Our new Travel Editor Frank Baldwin (ex-Sevenoaks Chronicle Editor) joined the team and gave us an insight to what it’s like to go natural swimming in Austria.

We brought you a report on Sevenoaks Swimming Club’s journey at the British Nationals and all the successes that came with it including the girls 400m freestyle relay team who won gold thanks to some excellent swims.

We also caught up with Sevenoaks Rugby Club’s Head Coach Adam Bowman about the new season in the RFU’s National League 2.

Sevenoaks Vine held on to their Kent Premier Division status for another year and will once again be joined by Holmesdale Cricket Club after they won promotion from Division One.

FA Cup dreams
One constant in an ever-changing world was that Sevenoaks Town Football Club were still in the FA Cup!. We had had two new Prime Ministers in a month and we had lost our beloved Queen Elizabeth II, but Town were still chasing their cup dreams after beating Bath City 1-0 on the road.

Sevenoaks were to later bow out in style away at another National League side, Ebbsfleet United.

We brought you an interview with local legend and two-time Olympian Tom Bosworth as he bode farewell to race walking for the very last time.

Sevenoaks Swimming Club then parted ways with their Head Coach Keiron Piper after four years at the helm and we brought you news on Sevenoaks Rugby Club’s plight with Sevenoaks Town Council at Knole Paddock.

And West Kingsdown Boxing Club broke down barriers with their new Parkinson’s Boxing sessions.

On the horizon
We announce that the magazine is expanding and evolving from January 2023 to become West Kent Sport & Wellbeing. A very exciting time as we incorporate more sports clubs and their news from the boroughs of Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.

Sevenoaks Hockey Club members competed at the World Masters in South Africa where they picked up a number of medals, whilst the rest of the club went pink once again, supporting the charity Against Breast Cancer.

Derek Hodge and Kevin Turner, two former Sevenoaks Football League Secretaries, whose joint time in office had spanned 45 years, tell us their story.

Closing out the year!
As 2022 comes to an end, and the winter sports hit their halfway point, there are mixed feelings about how well a number of our teams could do this season. Whilst the hockey clubs have a great hold on their leagues, especially in the ladies’ adult side, our football and rugby clubs are in the grip of a tight battle at the bottom of the leagues. We hope they are able to clamber up to safety come the end of the season.

The juniors however are once again smashing it, as hockey clubs reach National Finals, youth football continues to grow within a number of clubs and the Sevenoaks Rugby Club Academy team are looking incredible and unbeatable once more.

Thank you to all our clubs and individuals for a very exciting 2022, and we wish you all the very best for a prosperous and rewarding 2023. May sport always be with you!

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