Mixed emotions for sports stars

CUP KINGS: Soham Town Rangers celebrate their 6-1 victory over CRC in the final of the Cambs Invitation Cup in April
CUP KINGS: Soham Town Rangers celebrate their 6-1 victory over CRC in the final of the Cambs Invitation Cup in April

Mixed emotions blessed those with sporting connections in the area in 2014 as both many fond memories and major talking points were produced.

Emotions ran high on the rink at the Potters Leisure Resort in Norfolk back in January as Nicky Brett secured victory with his City of Ely Bowls Club teammate Greg Harlow in the Just Retirement World Indoor Pairs Championship.

Brett, who lost his dad Brian just weeks before the event, took the title with Harlow following a win over reigning champions Paul Foster and Alex Marshall.

Martial arts star Nato Ficarra welcomed in the New Year in style after the Newmarket-based fighter was honoured by the Italian Federation of Judo Karate Martial Arts with a promotion to a sixth Dan black belt.

In February, relegation-threatened Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Ely City suffered a major setback after Alan Alsop announced he was to quit as the Robins manager.

Alsop, who guided to the club to back-to-back victories in the Cambs Invitation Cup, left the Unwin Ground outfit with the team sitting 18th in the league.

All-conquering greyhound trainer Mark Wallis ticked off another box on his already glittering CV after Hometown Honey provided him with his first-ever winner in the Category One Ladbrokes Golden Jacket.

Newmarket Hockey Club women’s first team had the champagne flowing in March after clinching the East Division Three North West (South) with a 1-1 draw at home to St Ives II good enough to take the title by a point.

Elsewhere in the town, Newmarket Rugby Club were rocked by the news they would be without head coach Steve Drawbridge for the foreseeable future after being handed a lengthy suspension for being accused of verbally assaulting the referee in charge of their 29-26 defeat to West Norfolk.

Josh Bates claimed the biggest individual title of his career when powering to victory in the British Under-21 Championship final at Monmore Green in April.

Digging deeper than ever before, the then Mildenhall Fen Tigers star beat a quality field which included the likes of Jason Garrity and Kyle Howarth to join an illustrious list of names on the trophy.

Amateur jockey Ross Birkett from Exning saw his name enter the record books after completing the Virgin Money London Marathon as the fastest runner dressed as a jockey in three hours eight minutes 30 seconds.

On the football field, Soham Town Rangers put their disappointment of missing out on a place in the Ryman League Division One North play-offs behind them by thrashing CRC 6-1 in the Cambs Invitation Cup Final.

Ross Paterson wrote his name into Newmarket Town folklore in May after firing in a dramatic late winner to hand Newmarket Town a 2-1 win in the final of the Red Insure Thurlow Nunn League Cup.

It was the club’s first cup triumph since lifting the Suffolk Premier Cup back in the 1998/99 season.

Night Of Thunder floored hot favourite Kingman in the Qipco 2000 Guineas on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile with the Richard Hannon-trained 40/1 shot pouncing late under Kieren Fallon.

Twenty-four hours later, master French trainer Andre Fabre completed his set of English Classics after Miss France captured the Qipco 1000 Guineas.

Newmarket-based greyhound owner Ron Mills celebrated the biggest win of his career after 20/1 shot Salad Dodger caused a major upset to win the William Hill Greyhound Derby 
at Wimbledon.

Turning attentions to the golf course, The Links Golf Club, Newmarket, member Toby Crisp was all smiles after demolishing his rivals in the Cambridgeshire Area Golf Union (CAGU) Championship at St Neots Golf Club.

The John Gosden-trained Taghrooda maintained her unbeaten run with victory in the Investec Oaks at Epsom in June.

The win provided her Newmarket handler and jockey Paul Hanagan a first win in the fillies’ Classic.

Further big race success was to head Gosden’s way as Kingman exacted his revenge over his Qipco 2000 Guineas conqueror Night Of Thunder in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Veteran handler Clive Brittain saw his stable star Rizeena add another Group One success to her name by winning the Coronation Stakes at the five-day meeting.

Demi Jade Resztan created history when stepping into the boxing ring for the European Union Boxing Championships in Italy after becoming the first ever boxer from Newmarket’s New Astley Amateur Boxing Club to compete in a major international event.

Following an interrupted start to the year, Chantal Wooten and Purple Moon secured a somewhat surprise victory at the Hickstead Derby Meeting with a win in the Tattersalls and Retraining of Racehorses Thoroughbred Championship.

In next Thursday’s edition catch up with the highlights from July to December.