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Happy Birthday, Sevenoaks Sports magazine!

Some said it couldn’t be done! Some were sceptical about their chances! Some thought they couldn’t possibly keep going! These were just some of the sports stories that Sevenoaks Sports has brought you over the last 12 months. But Lizzy Yarnold did win her second Olympic Gold medal, Sevenoaks Town FC did win the League Championship and the Sevenoaks Suns did keep on going, all the way to the title! Steve Rowley, the Editor of Sevenoaks Sports, takes a look back on the first year reporting your local sports news.

What a year! When Sevenoaks Sports magazine started a year ago this month, we set out to inform the local community just what was happening in sport on a monthly basis, both in words and in photos. We did this by initially focusing our attention on local clubs that play at a particularly high level.

Cricket, Rugby, Football and Hockey were always going to be up there as these local clubs are well attended by both spectators and players alike. But we soon found that other sports in the area were also highly regarded in the public eye, with Basketball, Swimming, Bowls, Tennis, Boxing and Cycling too, not to mention the Athletics Club.

To start things off, both Sevenoaks Vine and Holmesdale Cricket Clubs kept us on the edge of our seats well into September, and a last day win for the Vine kept them in the Kent Premier League, unfortunately the same could not be said for Holmesdale, who suffered the dreaded drop. However, the way these two teams are playing this season, it is heavily anticipated that we will see them playing each other again in the KPL next summer.

Over the last 12 months we have been highlighting local sport in our glossy magazines, and you’ve been telling us how much you like it!

September also saw a number of leagues get underway, none more so than the men’s 1st XI Hockey team who were playing in the National Premier League for the very first time. A shaky start to their campaign but all came out good in the end as they came second in the playoffs to retain their league status.

International trimuphs
In February, West Kingsdown’s Lizzy Yarnold travelled to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea hoping to retain her Olympic Skeleton title. Lizzy won the event, beating her closest rival by half a second, to claim her second Gold medal. However, in doing so, she also became the most successful British Winter Olympian and the most successful Olympic Skeleton athlete of all time from any nation.

Lizzy fever then swept through the district in April as numerous schools and hundreds of members of the public turned out to congratulate her as she toured the area on her Victory bus.

April also saw Tom Bosworth, from Kemsing, compete in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia, where he finished the Men’s 20km Race Walk in a new British record time on his way to picking up the Silver medal. Chantelle Pressley of Sevenoaks Suns also grabbed a Silver as she helped the England Basketball team reach the Gold medal match.

Sevenoaks’ Super Saturday
Come the end of April and all eyes turned to Greatness Park where Micky Collins and his squad of extremely talented individuals were about to send Sevenoaks Town FC soaring to heights never before seen at the club. A great win away at Erith Town clinched the South East Counties Football League Championship and a spot in the Bostik League for the 2018/19 season.

Bizarrely, on the same day, Sevenoaks Suns were on the verge of clinching their first WBBL title but had a tricky game away at Manchester Mystics. However, coach Len Busch and his Suns didn’t disapoint and duly won the league Championship with a record of 19-1. That day shall now forever be known as Sevenoaks’ Super Saturday or simply Triple-S!

The Suns went on to defend their WBBL Play-Off title in May at the O2 in London.

The Sevenoaks Academy
With so much sport happening on a weekly basis, it is not surprising that so many clubs and individuals find themselves playing at the highest level, but everyone has to start somewhere.

We’ve strived to include our up and coming youngsters that play sport for local clubs. Max Denniff and Renee Ojikutu, members of Sevenoaks Hockey Club, have become household names after being picked to play for England Hockey at under 18 level and are now heavily involved in England Hockey’s pathway programme. Expect to see them in England shirts on your TV screens very soon.

Kelan Ryan from Kemsing is another young individual who has led by example. His chosen sport of Parkour, or Freerunning, is not very well known, and especially to the members of the Sevenoaks & District Sports Council who turned down his request for funding due to lack of knowledge in the sport.

When we heard about this we ran a feature on Kelan and his love of Parkour, what the sport was about and how he had challenged the stereotype to get where he is. We’re pleased to say that after reading the feature, the S&DSC agreed to give Kelan the much needed funding.

It is worth noting that the S&DSC has been providing young athletes in the Sevenoaks District with grants for many years now, in fact, both Lizzy Yarnold and Tom Bosworth were early recipients of this funding.

More recently, in fact the article is on page 15 this month, Bethany Ecuyer-Dale from Ightham has just returned from a two week tour of Australia with England‘s U18’s Netball squad.

With sports becoming ever-more important to a childs school curriculum, it is wonderful to see so many of our local primary schools engaged in the governments Games Mark scheme. This is especially highlighted by the work Clare Strange and her team have achieved by getting local clubs into schools to teach children a different sport from a qualified instructor. These connections are invaluable going forward for every child in the district and one that makes us all very special, we’re all part of the Sevenoaks Academy.

Charity is just around the corner
Something we were also keen to support was the number of local charity events that take place throughout the year. We highlighted the work of West Kent Mind and went on the water with Wealden Sailability. We also talked to Robin Marchant, a local sports hero who suffers from MS, and his fun dog show in aid of Canine Partners.

It’s not us, it’s you!
We are so immensely proud of our own achievements over the last 12 months, but these are simply an exaggeration of the success Sevenoaks District teams and individuals have enjoyed. We wish you all well for the next 12 months, and as a reminder, we’ll be here each month to record your achievements both in words and in photos. We can’t wait to see what you do next!



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