Sport

WOKING swimming club topped the performance table in this year’s Hants and South Coast Invitational Swimming Meeting at Woking Pool last Saturday.

Woking Swimming club juniors with their well deserved trophy

Competing against five other clubs, it was a chance for Woking’s younger age groups to shine in a number of 50m and 100m events.

Matt Watt was named the top nine-year-old male swimmer on the night following his win in his 50m freestyle.  

For the full report and pictures get the 21 March edition of the News & Mail

SENIOR Woking gymnast Jamie Lewis won one silver and two bronze medals at this year’s British Gymnastics Championship (14-17 March) at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.

There was a big crowd in attendance for the senior competition, with a star-studded field containing World and Olympic medallists.

Jamie Lewis, middle, with teammates Lorenzo Carrozo and Timothy McCarthy

In the Men’s Senior All-Around, Lewis was involved in a tightly fought contest for a podium position. Despite errors in his pommel horse routine, the former European junior gold medallist finished with a strong rings’ routine to take home the all-around bronze medal with a score of 80.950.

He added a second Senior bronze medal with his floor routine, where he beat the current Olympic champion – Max Whitlock MBE, before picking up a silver on the rings after reaching the Masters on the final day.

Fellow senior gymnast, Tim McCarthy, started with a stylish parallel bars’ routine, scoring 12.900. Although he suffered a fall from the pommel horse, he accrued an All-Around score of 71.450 to take 15th place in what was an otherwise unblemished day of competition.

Meanwhile, team-mate Lorenzo Carrozzo had a jittery afternoon. However, he did manage to catch his Kovacs on high-bar for the first time in competition, which meant he finished in 21st place overall (69.450).

Other Woking gymnasts performed well – see today’s (21 March) Woking News & Mail for the full report

THE chairman of The Football Association visited the Byfleet village Club at the weekend.

Greg Clarke, right, with Paul Robinson (club chairman), middle, and Rosie Ainsworth (club secretary), left

Greg Clarke, who previously served as the chairman of The Football League and Leicester City, was given a tour of Byfleet Village’s facilities by Paul Robinson (club chairman) and rosie Ainsworth (club secretary). Clarke also watched practice sessions involving the club’s girls and under fives.

His visit was part of a whistle-stop tour of some of Surrey’s youth development clubs for boys’ and girls’ football.

Robinson said: “It’s nice to see that people at the The FA are willing to come down and see what we are doing at Byfleet Village.

“This season we got our first girls’ team off the ground, at under-11 level

A Byfleet Village player practices her footwork

“We’re also actively involved through local schools helping to promote girls’ football, where we’re currently providing training free of charge until the end of the season to try and get as many girls involved in football as possible.”

Clarke said: “Byfleet village is a wonderful club run by wonderful people.”

For the full picture feature get the 14 March edition of the News & Mail

WOKING moved back to the top of Vanarama League South on Tuesday – but they didn’t have it all their own way against mid-table Oxford City at Court Place Farm.

Armani Little celebrates after scoring

The Cards’ last-gasp 2-1 victory was enough to lift them three points clear of Torquay United at the summit, although the Devonians now have a game in hand and still boast a much superior goal difference.

The home team secured just a single corner in the first half, and failed to win another until 10 minutes from full-time, but certainly frustrated Alan Dowson’s outfit and were deserving of a draw.

Oxford went into the match on the back of a 5-3 home defeat to Hampton & Richmond Borough, and with a dismal record of only one win from their previous 10 league matches in 2019. But after seeing Woking’s Max Kretzschmar fire a free-kick narrowly over the bar, City went ahead in the 15th minute. 

What followed was a tense back and forth that saw the hosts come a hairsbreadth from equalising more than once as they harried the Woking visitors at every turn.

However, with the clock showing five minutes of injury-time played, City were unable to clear and Harvey Bradbury – on loan from Oxford United – volleyed past King, via the underside of the bar, to break the hearts of home players and supporters.

For the full match report get the 14 March edition of the News & Mail

WOKING Ladies could be on course to complete the ‘treble’ if they beat North Leigh Ladies in their League Cup semi-final this Sunday.

In what is only their second season in the Thames Valley League, Woking Ladies rise to the fore could see them trump their male counterparts to silverware.

Chelsea Goulter on the ball

Under the managerial guidance of former Reading Town and Chertsey Town Ladies’ coach Craig Gareppo – and assistant Leigh Hunter – Woking Ladies are fast proving a force to be reckoned with.

With just two defeats in 22 matches, The Cards could win the Division Two East championship and reach two cup finals by the end of the month – a feat many other clubs would find hard to rival.

Speaking exclusively to the News & Mail, Gareppo praised his players’ renewed drive and professionalism after they finished third in their inaugural season.

“We’ve attracted players who have played at a higher level, which has helped bring about a more professional approach,” explained The Cards’ boss. “Their attitude on match days has really rubbed off on the whole team.

The Cards are currently three points behind Abbey Rangers Ladies Reserves, but with three games in hand. 

The Ladies’ section also has the full support of Woking’s men’s manager too, Alan Dowson, who has not only watched a few games, but also took charge of a few training sessions in the summer.

For the full story, pick up the 7 March edition of the News & Mail

In 2011, Cardinals Netball was nothing more than an idea shared between two former Sheerwater school friends. Nine years later, it’s one of the most successful and fastest growing clubs in Woking and Surrey at large.

Young cardinals with Surrey Storm and South Africa International player Shadine Van Der Merwe

Co-founders and level 2 head coaches Kate Carthy and Hilary ‘Hils’ Hooper have been instrumental in the meteoric rise in popularity of netball, with Cardinals now becoming a beacon for other clubs to aspire to.

“It was actually my husband who suggested that we should start a netball team. My daughter wanted to play netball in year three at school, but there wasn’t really anything that she could get involved with until she was in year five, so there was a gap to fill,” Carthy said.

In the early days, the club comprised a small group of friends, which included Carthy and Hooper’s sons, to help make up the numbers.

Since then, the club has grown year-on-year through word of mouth. It now has in-excess of 250 girls playing netball each week.

Kate Carthy and Hillary “Hils” Hooper

Speaking of Cardinals increasing popularity, Hopper added: “Netball is one of the biggest growing sports in the UK.

“Girls’ sport in particular has experienced high levels of growth over the past decade or so, not just through the likes of football and cricket, but netball too.

“The fact that they’re now showing netball on television has really helped to raise awareness of the sport; so much so, it’s actually becoming increasing more difficult to get tickets to watch Surrey Storm compete in the Netball Superleague.

“We now manage the best part of 20 teams, who train at Sythwood Primary School and SJB (St John the Baptist School).

“We promote the fact that we are inclusive, not exclusive and that we will always do our utmost to accommodate every player we can between the ages of six and 18,” added Hopper.

Carthy and Hooper are now looking into the possibilities of running a summer league this year to demonstrate the club’s ongoing commitment to provide a pathway for progression and soon to be unrivalled sporting achievements.

For the full interview get the 28 February edition of the News & Mail

WOKING returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory away to Truro City on Tuesday.

Going straight into The Cards’ starting line-up was midfielder Olu Durojaiye, who signed from Bostik League Premier Division outfit Haringey Borough on Monday.

Hodges, right, on the ball

Despite having made their longest journey of the season – a daunting 240 miles – Woking got off to a superb start at Treyew Road, David Tarpey and Jake Hyde peppering the goal with shots. The pressure finally paid off when Armani Little unleashed a rocket from 25 yards and beat City keeper Harvey Rivers.

Truro, with two wins and a draw from their five previous games this month, showed more steel in the second half and it was clear they weren’t going to roll over. But Woking were able to soak up the home side’s pressure and were good value for their win, which sees them back on track after the disappointment of Saturday’s match, a 2-0 defeat away to Dartford.

“It’s no secret that Dartford are a big, strong side that look to hit you on the counter attack,” said Woking manager Alan Dowson.

“The lad who elbowed Hodgy (Paul Hodges) should have been booked; how he didn’t receive a booking, God only knows.”

“I feel a bit hard done by from our two matches against Dartford. I thought we should have got something out of both,” he added.

For the full match reports and pictures, see the 28 February edition of the News & Mail

SHEERWATER had to play 70 minutes with 10 men as they missed a host of chances in a disappointing 1-1 draw last Saturday.

After the jubilation of going top on Tuesday night The Sheers were brought back down to earth and into third as they were frustrated by Dorking Wanderers at Kingfield.

Gavin Brainch cracks in a shot, but his effort was blocked

After an early goal from Chris Machay was disallowed by the referee who had already suspended play for a foul, The Sheers’ luck only got worse.

Timmy Taylor was shown a red card after 20 minutes, leaving his team a man light for the remaining 70 minutes.

Shane Cheeseman managed to put his team ahead, only for a series of close misses to frustrate The Sheers’ efforts as Chris Machay and Gavin Brainch both missed opportunities to score.

The Sheers’ bad luck continued, as Scott O’Connor was taken off with a knee injury, and the Wanderers’ Pascal Sedgwick equalised.

A defiant Sheerwater came back hard, but ultimately fell short as Machay and Brainch both missed golden chances to score, leaving the final score tied.

Sheers’ manager Pete Ruggles said: “This is tough to take, we controlled everything but didn’t capitalise.”

For the full match report get the 28 February edition of the News & Mail

WESTFIELD stretched their unbeaten run to nine games as they dug out a 1-0 win away to FC Romania.

Westfield striker Aaron Watson

The Yellows were looking to bounce back after their midweek stalemate to Ware, and made two changes, including the addition of new acquisition Anis Nuur from Hanwell Town.

Shortly before half-time, Aaron Watson was on hand to finish off a loose ball and give Westfield the lead. Fortunately for the visitors, FC Romania’s early efforts in the second half faded, and Westfield recorded their sixth clean sheet in nine games since the turn of the year.

Manager Tony Reid said: “All that matters is the three points. The boys are all buzzing, the mood in the camp is great and we look to aim higher.”

For the full match report get the 28 February edition of the News & Mail

IT’S often said that being a football manager is one of the most stressful jobs you can do, but for Woking boss Alan Dowson, he’s taking it all in his stride.

When the Geordie first arrived at The Laithwaite Community Stadium back in May 2018, he had no players, no budget – or not one that had been confirmed anyway, and the horizon was, at best, uncertain.

Woking manager Alan Dowson, right, with Woking defender Nathan Collier

Fast forward nine months, The Cards’ boss, alongside his management team, has worked wonders to put Woking back on the map.  So much so, he has become one of the most instantly recognisable characters in non-league football – not just because of his native accent.

Speaking to the News & Mail on Tuesday, Dowson, now in his 13th year in football management, says that while The Cards are sitting pretty at the top of the National League South, the pressure is all on Torquay United and their boss, Gary Johnson.

He said: “I don’t really feel stressed about anything, that’s the truth of the matter.  Even though we’re top of the league, I don’t feel any pressure whatsoever. 

“Some things you can influence and some things you can’t, and what I can’t influence, there’s no point worrying about.

“Yes, we are in a good position in the league, but if I’m honest, I just look ahead at the next game of football, whereas Torquay have invested heavily to get promotion, so there’s more expectation on the manager and the players to deliver.  That’s pressure.

“As I see it, though, what will be will be; I’ve never been one to dwell on anything.  It’s about being the best that you can be and seizing the opportunities that come your way, which is what I tell the players,” he added.

Despite the financial gulf between Torquay, Billericay and several other clubs in the National League South, Dowson has proved that money doesn’t necessarily buy you success.  It’s having a group of players who are hungry to win silverware, not just about how much they can earn.

For the full interview get the today’s (21 Feb) edition of the News & Mail