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Sports review 2016
Published 03/01/17

Henley Hawks relegated; Abbey win league title; Royals miss out on semi-final

HENLEY HAWKS remained in relegation trouble in National Division 1 after losing 19-11 at home to Darlington Mowden Park, 13-12 at Blackheath, 38-16 at home to Ampthill and District and 26-17 at Wharfedale. The Hawks’ last match of the month saw they win 25-19 against Loughborough Students. Henley ended the month second from bottom in the table.

Abbey reached the finals of the Southern Region Intermediate Cup after beating Bicester 13-12 at home thanks to a late penalty by Callum Wylie. In the league the Rosehill side maintained their promotion push as they ended the month with victory at Stow-on-the-Wold to top of the Southern Counties North division.

Reading manager Brian McDermott had a reasonable first month in charge since rejoining the club for the second time as his side won three matches, drew three and lost one in all competitions. In the Championship the Royals kicked off the New Year with a 1-0 home win against Bristol City. This was followed up with a 1-1 draw at Derby, 1-0 defeat at Milton Keynes Dons and a 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday. In the FA Cup the Royals beat Huddersfield Town 5-2 at home in a replay after drawing 1-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium. The Royals ended the month by booking their place in the fifth round of the competition after beating Walsall 4-0 at Madejski Stadium.

Henley Town saw little action during the month due to a combination of waterlogged and frozen pitches. When they eventually took to the field after almost a month without playing the Red Kites ran out 7-0 winners at Didot Town Reserves in a match that saw Ben Clark score four goals.

In hockey Henley 1sts lost out to Spencer and Old Georgians in the league while Henley Ladies 1sts defeated league leaders PHC Chiswick 3-2 before losing to Witney and Buckingham.

A Shiplake Vikings athlete came away from the South of England Indoor Rowing Championships with a gold and bronze medal. Eleanor Blois-Brooke secured gold at the Abingdon event in the girls’ J14 four minute event where she rowed 1,036 metres in a field of 30 competitors.

Fellow athletes Eleanor Lee finished sixth having covered 1,006m, Georgia Wornham 14th with 968m, Katie Jackson 17th with 951m and Emilie Jackson 21st with 937m. Blois-Brooke, along with fellow Vikings club mates Lee, Wornham and Jackson, went on to take bronze in the J14 girls’ relay event held at the White Horse Leisure Centre. Eton Excelsior took gold in the event while City of Oxford were runners-up.

An Upper Thames Rowing Club veteran eight won the men’s masters category at the Quintin Head of the River Race. There was also success for Henley Rowing Club in the junior girls’ category on the 4,600m course between Hammersmith Bridge and Chiswick Bridge.

A HENLEY rugby player set a world record in powerlifting. Amy Atkinson lifted 90kg in the bench press at the final of British Unequipped Full Power Championships at Kings Lynn. She bettered the previous record of 88kg in what was only her second official competition. Atkinson also lifted 130kg in a squat and 155kg in a deadlift, giving her an overall total of 375kg. She came joint first in the open and top of the senior categories for her under 70kg class.

In football Henley Town maintained their Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East promotion push with 3-1 wins at Holyport and at home to Woodley United. As well as having several matches postponed the Red Kites lost their final match of the month 2-0 at home to Chinnor to end February in fourth place in the league.

Reading won three, drew two and lost one match in all competitions. In the FA Cup the Royals made it through to the quarter-finals after defeating Premier League West Bromwich Albion 3-1 at Madejski Stadium. In the Championship Reading lost at Ipswich Town, drew at home to both Wolves and Burnley while winning at home to Rotherham United and away to Charlton Athletic.

In rugby Henley Hawks had a disappointing month as they lost all their matches — 48-16 at Hartpury College, 36-0 at home to league leaders Richmond, 27-8 at Plymouth Albion and 40-14 away to Blaydon. The run of defeats left the Hawks second from bottom in the league, 10 points from safety.

Abbey suffered heartache as they lost out 17-0 to North Dorset in the the Southern Counties Region Intermediate Cup final. In the South West League Southern Counties North Division Abbey beat Thatcham and Swindon College Old Boys while Drifters conceded their fixture as the Rosehill side ended the month in top spot in the league.

In hockey Henley 1sts drew with Oxford Hawks, lost to Havant and London Wayfarers before ending the month on a winning note by beating Oxford University. Elsewhere Henley Ladies 1sts drew with Eastcote and won at Maidenhead.

Pippa Woolven was in fine form in the British Universities Cross Country Championships in Gloucestershire. The Medmenham athlete ran an astute tactical race and overtook fellow Birmingham University student and GB athlete, Rebecca Murray with 200 metres to go, to take gold in the event. The junior section of Henley Rowing Club won seven events at the Hampton Junior Head. Henley, who entered 25 crews, also picked up a further eight second and third place finishes.

Zara Hawkins won gold as she and her triplet sisters Danielle and Lily, from Gillotts School ski team, competed as part of the England Senior Schools squad in Geilo, Norway. Zara was on the podium in all three key races and struck gold in the giant slalom and silver in the slalom. Her sisters missed out on the podium places but achieved notable fourth and fifth place finishes respectively for Danielle and Lily.

Leander athletes made a strong start to the racing season when their eight and quad recorded the fastest times over the two-mile course at the Reading University Head. Elsewhere Upper Thames won the Masters D pennant.

LEANDER’S women athletes were on top form when they raced a GB development eight to first place at the Women’s Eights Head in London. Emily Carmichael, Fiona Gammond and Katherine Douglas joined forces with athletes from Reading Rowing Club and Tees Rowing Club, with Leander cox Erin Wysocki-Jones steering them down the four-and-a-quarter mile course from Mortlake to Putney. Later in the month Leander top men’s eight were beaten to the title by Oxford Brookes University.

In football Reading missed out on the chance of a second successive FA Cup semi-final appearance at Wembley after they went down 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace at Madejski Stadium in their quarter-final clash. In the Championship the Royals suffered a disappointing month as they failed to win any of their matches, drawing 2-2 and 1-1 against Fulham and Cardiff City respectively while going down 3-1 at Huddersfield and 1-0 at Brighton.

Henley Town, after suffering further postponements earlier in the month, got back to action with a 3-2 home win against local rivals Woodcote/Stoke Row in the second round of the Reading Senior Cup. In the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East Henley kept their promotion hopes alive with a 3-1 win at Chalfont Wasps.

In rugby Henley Hawks slipped to the bottom of the league after losing 31-24 at home to Hull Ionians before having their relegation from National Division 1 confirmed with a sixth successive defeat at Fylde, 35-21.

In South West League Southern Counties North, Abbey beat their nearest rivals Aylesbury 32-17 and defeated Beaconsfield as they closed in on the league title.

In hockey Henley 1sts beat Banbury and Staines lost to Old Cranleighans, Milton Keynes while Henley Ladies lost to Hampstead and Westminster and High Wycombe.

A skier from Rotherfield Greys picked up a gold medal at two European skiing championships. Emerson Proctor, nine, won the U10 category in the giant slalom at the Interschools Championships in Les Houches, France before coming top in the same event at the Aiglon College Championships in Villars, Switzerland, later in the week.

Jill Campion, of Henley Squash Club won the national over 55s women’s championship for the second year running. Campion, who lives in Bix, defeated Julie Field in the final 10-8, 9-7,  9-3.

FOLLOWING a promising start to the month for Reading, who beat Bolton Wanderers 1-0 and Nottingham Forest 2-1, the Royals took just seven Championship points from a possible 24 on offer. Apart from picking up a point from a 1-1 draw at QPR, Reading lost to Birmingham City, Middlesbrough, Leeds United, Hull City and Preston North End.

Henley Town ended their Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East campaign in third place after securing victories against Chalfont Wasps (3-1) and Woodley United (2-1). Elsewhere the Red Kites lost to Penn and Tylers Green and Bicester Town and ended their league campaign with a 4-4 draw at Chinnor. In the Reading Senior Cup Henley made it through to the semi-finals thanks to a 1-0 home win against Bracknell Town.

In rugby Abbey secured back-to-back promotions with a 39-17 home win against Bicester. Later in the month the Rosehill side lost out at Bletchley before wrapping up the league title with a 27-12 win at home to Buckingham.

Henley Hawks, already relegated from National Division 1, lost 39-27 at home to Coventry and 52-7 at Esher to make it eight defeats in a row. The Dry Leas side stopped the rot with a 31-20 home win against Blaydon before losing 27-14 at Cinderford and ending their campaign with a 31-12 home loss against Rosslyn Park.

Badgemore Park Golf Club’s Millie Anderson successfully defended her Oxfordshire ladies’ champion crown at Frilford Heath, beating three home course players in the process. Anderson defeated Cara Gainer in the quarter-final, Kate Evans in the semi-final before beating Jane Binning in the final to retain her crown.

The Upper Thames senior men and women triumphed at Belgium’s Ghent Spring as they returned home with two gold, two silver and three bronze medals. In the coxless fours event, the four crews finished first, third, fifth and 14th overall, beating strong opposition from the Netherlands and France. In the eights the club beat crews from Sport Ghent and Westminster School. In other events the women overturned a defeat by host club Sport Ghent to finish second behind a Dutch national eight. In the double sculls Jess Belcher and Amanda Hynes narrowly defeated club mates Emma Peacock and Victoria Carver in the final while the coxless four of Alexis Perkins, Sam Earle, Hollie Bartlett and Ciara Buckley rowed through Dutch University  champions Phocas in the last 500m.

In cricket Harpsden 2nds, playing their first ever Chilterns League match, got their Division 3 campaign off on a winning note as they triumphed at Littlewick Green. Elsewhere the club’s first team, who were promoted to Division 2 last season, also got off to a winning start as they despatched Holyport.

READING sacked manager Brian McDermott following a run of six defeats in the final matches of the season which saw the Royals finish in 17th place after their final day defeat at Blackburn Rovers. Overall McDermott’s record last season saw his side win just nine out of 30 matches.

Henley Town had a good month as they secured the Reading Senior Cup and had their promotion to the Hellenic League Premier Division confirmed. In the cup Henley Town made a stunning comeback to win the Reading Senior Cup final against Binfield. The Red Kites had trailed 3-1 during the second half but pulled level with minutes to go to force the game into extra time. Goals from Asa Povey and substitute Liam Tindell either side of the break in the added period saw Henley lift the trophy. It was also confirmed that despite finishing third the Red Kites would be promoted as Penn and Tylers Green, who finished top of the table, could not go up as they did not have floodlights whilst second placed Bicester Town requested to stay in the division as they were in the process of moving grounds.

Emmer Green were successful in their Tilehurst Charity Cup final at Madejski Stadium where they beat Richfield Rovers 3-2 to secure the trophy.

Eight Leander athletes returned with medals from the World Cup in Lucerne, where the GB men’s four scraped gold by a narrow margin, and the women’s eight came within a canvas of the USA. Earlier in the month athletes returned from the European Championships in Brandenburg with 15 medals, helping GB top the medal table ahead of host nation Germany. Leander’s Katie Greves, Polly Swann, Karen Bennett and cox Zoe de Toledo helped the British women’s eight secure gold, burning past the Netherlands to win by just 0.37 seconds.

Henley got their Home Counties Premier League Division 1 campaign off to a winning start as they comfortably beat Great and Little Tew. Batting first Henley put on 308 with Richard Morris top scoring with 134, before bowling the visitors out for 186. Henley also beat Burnham, Reading and Slough to end the month joint top with Banbury.

In the Morrant Thames Valley League, Kidmore End lost to Harefield 2nds, Finchampstead 2nds and North Maidenhead in Division 2A while Harpsden ended the month top in the Morrant Chilterns League Division 2 table having won all four of their matches played.

Henley’s Chantal Cummings won her age group of the Barcelona Ironman 70.3 triathlon. This event, competed for by more than 2,500 competitors, comprised a 1.9km swim, followed by a 90km bike ride and finished with a 21.1km run. In a tight finish, Cummings beat her French challenger by 26 seconds and the third placed Dutch girl by 69 seconds in a time of five hours five minutes to win the 25 to 29 category. This was fast enough to beat several professional athletes and place her 13th overall among a field comprising 10 professionals.

READING Football Club appointed Jaap Stam as their new manager following the sacking of Brian McDermott last month. The former PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Lazio and AC Milan centre-back becomes the Royals’ first overseas boss in the club’s history, taking the reins on an initial two-year contract at Madejski Stadium. Fellow Dutch duo Andries Ulderink and Said Bakkati joined Stam at Madejski Stadium as part of his new-look coaching team – having both worked with the new boss as coaches at Ajax.

Eighteen Leander athletes returned with medals from the World Cup regatta in Poznan, Poland, where a silver medal in the double sculls helped place GB second in the medal table behind New Zealand. While there were gold medal performances from the established favourites, Leander’s Jonny Walton and John Collins produced the surprise of the regatta, with a silver in the men’s double sculls. Having taken the position as early leaders they kept up a relentless pace and only in the final 200m did New Zealand come through to win ahead of GB with France third.

Double Olympic silver medallist Debbie Flood won the elite quad sculls at Henley Women’s Regatta, before rushing off to present the awards. The former Leander captain, along with Lucinda Gooderham, Emily Carmichael and Fran Rawlins, beat the crew from Saratoga Rowing Association in the final to lift the Borne Cup to cap a successful three days for the club. The senior double sculls of Alice White and Emily Ashford beat Reading in their final, while Flood and Gooderham also missed out in the final of the elite double sculls and a composite GB crew with three Leander rowers lost to Princeton University in the elite eights. Henley Rowing Club also got their hands on silverware as the quad of Tilly Lock, Mary Wright, Georgina Robinson-Ranger and Charlotte Orr beat Headington in the junior sculls.

In cricket Henley ended the month in second place in Division 1 of the Home Counties Premier League. The Brakspear Ground side started the month with victory against Harefield before losing their first match of the season at home to Finchampstead whose South African overseas star player Coetzee took 5-25. The following week Henley’s match at Banbury was cancelled due to overnight rain and in their final match of the month they were held to a draw at home against High Wycombe.

In Thames Valley League Division 2A Kidmore End beat Chenies and Latimer, drew with Tring Park, lost to Chesham 2nds and had one match cancelled as they ended the month third from bottom in the league.

In the Morrant Chilterns League Harpsden remained top of Division 2 having won all of their matches played.

Elsewhere Jake Easton hit 186 not out for Kidmore End in a friendly match against Reading University Alumni and Staff. The opening batsman’s knock was not enough to win the match which ended in a draw after the visitors posted 253-4 off their allotted overs in reply to Kidmore End’s 289-3.

Sunday captain Manpreet Singh set a new record for the highest score for a Checkendon player despite the home friendly against Whitchurch being limited to 35 overs per side. Singh’s undefeated 186 included six sixes and 20 fours as the home side raced to 264-3. Whitchurch hit 182-6 in reply.

Published 03/01/17

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