Sport

BRANDS Hatch Grand Prix Circuit provided a bittersweet finale to the F4 British Championship for Double R Racing last weekend, with Mexican racer Sebastian Alvarez just missing out on a deserved driver’s title.

Woking’s Double R, which sealed the Teams Cup crown during the penultimate event of 2019 at Silverstone two weeks ago, headed into the championship finale with Alvarez tied on points at the top of the driver standings with Carlin Motorsport’s Zane Maloney.

Double R Racing’s Sebastian Alvarez on the podium

Coming third in the first of Saturday’s two races, Alvarez needed to claw back a 10-point deficit in the second encounter and he duly delivered with a fantastic victory to open a five point advantage ahead of Sunday’s decisive finale – the tightest championship finish in British F4 history.

In a highly charged and unbelievably dramatic and unpredictable round 30 on Sunday though, a luckless retirement ended his title dream.

He concludes 2019 in second position with five wins and 14 other podiums.

“We really feel for Seb, he’s done a fantastic job this year but it wasn’t lost this weekend to be honest – we should’ve bagged 20 more points from Snetterton, for example, but a few things went against us this season”, reflected Double R team principal Anthony Hieatt, “Credit to the team though, the mechanics have done an incredible job with a difficult F4 car that can often be unreliable.”

For the full story get the 17 October edition of the News & Mail

It’s been a stunning start for Westfield in their second season in the BetVictor Isthmian South Central Division.

Six wins out of eight and sitting second in the league – having had spells in the top spot – marks them out as serious contenders for promotion to the third tier of non-league football.

The Westfield FC team

For chairman Steve Perkins, his side’s form under boss Tony Reid has not been a surprise and he is planning accordingly.

He told the News & Mail: “Obviously you don’t just get to the end of the season and then think about what you have to do off the pitch.

“So I’m fully aware of what we need to do in the event we get promoted, and I’m confident that we will be able to comply at Woking Park.”

As Westfield turn in strong performances week-in week-out, Perkins knows that success comes with its challenges too – particularly keeping hold of the players and staff that have delivered it.

But he hopes the environment he and the club have created plays its part.

“Our policy is to encourage any players that come to Westfield, if they’re good enough, to play at a higher level,” he said. “But I always put the caveat in when I talk to them: ‘Please go and play the best level you can, but provided you still enjoy your football’.

“We’re sitting near the top of the league, they get looked after, they’ve got a great playing facility and they play for a great manager – and they enjoy it.

“Why would you want to leave?”

Perkins can now add ‘progress in the Buildbase FA Trophy’ to that list of attractive factors.

On Saturday the Field travelled to Great Wakering Rovers of the BetVictor Isthmian League North – and triumphed 5-3 to register their first ever win in the competition.

Hat-trick hero Aaron Watson was the chief architect, but there were also strong displays from Tinashe Nkoma and Max Blackmore.

Westfield have arguably their biggest game of the season tomorrow (Saturday, 19 October) as they welcome table-toppers Hanwell Town to Woking Park.

Three points from that encounter will be one more step towards step three.

For the full report of this interview, get the 17 October edition of the News & Mail

ATTACHING the term legend to a footballer is an easily overused habit in these days of ridiculously inflated wages and non-existent player loyalty to a club, writes Mark Doyle.

But when it comes to Woking FC, one name keeps recurring when the word legend is mentioned.

12 April 1958: A triumphant Charlie Mortimore holds aloft the FA Amateur Cup after leading Woking to a 3-0 victory over Ilford at Wembley Stadium on his 30th birthday

That name is Charles (Charlie) Mortimore MBE, who died last week. He was 91.

In what was to be the most noteworthy event in the club’s history since the FA Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers in 1908, England amateur international and former Aldershot player Charlie and his brother John signed for Woking in August 1953. 

Charlie’s arrival at Kingfield and his belief in total football transformed Woking in a few short seasons into a club recognised for always trying to play stylish passing football. 

Swiftly becoming captain, centre-forward Charlie soon began collecting personal honours in a playing and managerial reign at Kingfield spanning 15 years.

These included playing for Surrey, Hampshire, the FA XI, the Isthmian League, Middlesex Wanderers and the England amateur side, holding the club individual scoring record of nine goals in a game – in a 10-3 win over Dorking in 1963 – and becoming the Cards’ all-time record marksman with more than 260 strikes. 

Fortunately for Woking, the Charlie Mortimore legacy of total football lives on at the club.

Future Woking teams went on to play his style of football – not always with great success – but generations of supporters grew accustomed to this approach and demanded nothing less.

For the full story get the 19 September edition of the News & Mail

WOKING Squash Rackets Club chairman Stewart Perry is delighted at the “change in dynamic” that has come from increasing numbers of women and children joining the club.

Perry, who is nearly a year into his role at the Horsell Moor-based facility, has built on the work of his predecessors to make the changes reality.

Woking Squash Rackets coach Chris Bartlett sporting the club’s logo

“In the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties, squash was a really popular sport,” he said.

“There were 300-400 members here and as many again on the waiting list. That was really the heyday.

“When I joined, in 2004, it was at a bit of a low point. Membership numbers were going down but a few previous chairmen began to turn things round again.

“We’re really proud we’ve attracted so many female members. Two of our coaches started running Friday morning coffees and socials alongside some sport, and the numbers have mushroomed. It’s changed the dynamic of the club.”

The club, who also cater for racketball, had success growing their junior section too, and recently brought on board Rob Beaumont – a Surrey Squash coach – who will be charged with continuing this evolution.

Perry has also been hard at work improving the facilities over recent times, with significant investment going into the changing rooms and court maintenance.

Coach Paul Reilly, ready to serve

He is rightly proud of all the incremental developments since then and excited by what lies ahead.

“You can come down here on a first-team night and watch some really high-standard squash.” the chairman said.

“Squash has struggled in the television era as you can’t really follow the ball or appreciate just how fit the guys are and how fast it is. But when you see it live, it’s fantastic to watch.”

“In general the club’s just starting to do really well.

“It’s a nice, friendly place with a very broad range of members. There are builders and solicitors and we all get on really well.

“I’m looking forward to seeing our first team play again – we have a strong team in the winter. There’s a lot I’m excited about.”

For the full story get the 12 September edition of the News & Mail

VALLEY End dominated the girls’ Smash It competition staged at their club.

The hosts won both sections – under-nine and under-11 – of the year’s final tourney.

Valley End’s Caroline Hales said: “This was the last of the Smash It tournaments organised by Gabby Dunnage, who is part of the Surrey Cricket Foundation and whose role this year has been to promote girls’ cricket in the county.

The under nines winners

“In response to demand, Valley End set up a girls’ team in June this year with just a handful of girls.

“Such was the interest and enthusiasm that we now have 32 girls registered, and they have been playing in these tournaments over the summer.

“Some of the earlier tournaments had just a few teams entering but they have grown, with one having 16 sides participating.

“Last Friday we had just seven teams – three in the under-nine age group and four in the under-11s.

“We were due to host the tournament two weeks previously with a lot more teams and even an under-13 age group – but the weather got the better of us.

“Gabby said that this year has seen a significant increase in girls’ participation throughout Surrey. At Valley End we are very keen to promote girls’ cricket, and will be holding winter tournaments. Some of our girls will be moving into hard-ball cricket.

“We are very much looking forward to next season and will be entering under-11 and under-13 teams in the Surrey leagues as well as next year’s tournaments. Not only have the girls improved their cricket skills but they have increased their confidence and teamwork, had fun and made friends.”

Valley end scores a wicket against Bagshot

Annabel Lewis captained Valley End under-nines to glory last Friday. Bagshot were runners-up and Wimbledon & Epsom came third.

And Abigail Shaw-Hales led Valley End under-11s to success in their section. Bagshot took second place, with Reigate third and Horsley & Send fourth.

Francesca Barclay had a truly smashing time for Valley End under-11s – in only two overs, she clubbed 30 runs.

For more pictures, see the 12 September edition of the News & Mail

IZZY Fisher began playing rugby at Chobham when she was just five years old.

Now 21, she has returned to the club as chairman of women’s and girls’ rugby – a role she is taking over from her mother.

Chobham chairman of women’s and girls’ rugby Izzy Fisher

“I know the ins and outs from Mum having done it for six years, so it makes sense to pass it on,” she said.

“The really good thing about Chobham is that they’ve had a massive shake-up. There’s new people here, there and everywhere.

“They’re particularly keen on the younger generation coming through and giving their views, and I’m younger, so that’s why I was approached.”

It helps that Fisher is not only a RFU Level 2 qualified coach, but also part of the 1st XV squad at Wasps Ladies, who play in the country’s top tier of women’s rugby, the Tyrrells Premier 15s.

During her time there she has rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in women’s rugby – and she feels these experiences have been hugely beneficial.

Fisher said: “It’s hard work, but the RFU funding has been immense in terms of helping to keep up with the internationals.

“At Wasps, Danielle Waterman and Harriet Millar-Mills have been amazing as mentors. The knowledge they have and the technical detail has been awesome to listen to.

“In my first season we played against Heather Fisher – she was on SAS: Who Dares Wins on TV and is an absolute beast – and I remember she just handed me off and ran straight through me. That was an eye-opener and a privilege at the same time.”

As she settles into her new role at Chobham, she has one chief focus.

“Recruitment is definitely the biggest priority,” she said.

“This year we’ll have three squads – under-13s, under-15s and under-18s – which will be brilliant. It’s something we haven’t done for a very long time, so our main goal to start off with is to field three sides.

“Girls’ rugby is on the up and this is the best time to get girls to come to the club and just give it a go.”

Chobham girls begin their season in mid-September.

For the full interview, get the 15 August edition of the News & Mail

“I WANT top three,” says Westfield boss Tony Reid, who is targeting another shot at promotion from the Isthmian League South Central Division.

In addition to making several new signings during the off-season, Reid has retained all 15 of his 2019-20 squad. And he has a clearly defined view of how he wants his tenure at Woking Park to continue.

Westfield FC manager Tony Reid

“What I’m looking for is young, hungry players who want to win games and make a name for themselves.”

Chief among those Reid has brought to the club this summer is Max Blackmore, who was his leading scorer for two seasons before heading to Metropolitan Police.

Blackmore’s return will be a huge boost for the manager who at times last season had to make do without any strikers at all.

“I’ve got a very good relationship with Max on and off pitch and he gives me that firepower that I needed,” he said.

“We’ve also got Charlie Postance from Bedfont Sports, 6’3”, good in the air, good on the ground, and he was their top scorer last season. So he adds something different and we won’t rely on just one striker.

“We’ve brought in a couple of new midfielders too, but it’s about them buying into our philosophy. Some players come with reputations – I don’t do reputations. It’s what you can do with me.”

Over the summer Reid has had the chance to think back to last season, particularly the Yellows’ defeat to Bracknell Town in the play-offs. Time, however, has not healed the pain of losing out on promotion.

“When I reflect on it now, the top five clubs had a considerable amount of money compared to what I had. We’re not the sort of club that can throw bundles of cash at players.

“Training facilities are different, too. We train on a 3G five-a-side pitch in the winter, so we couldn’t really do set-pieces or patterns of play. Everything we were doing was off the cuff or from a whiteboard. I think we trained on a full-size pitch twice all season.

“So when I reflect on it, there were obstacles to overcome, but those are excuses. Whatever cards you’re dealt, you’ve got to deal with them.”

As for what he’s most excited about in the coming season: “The first whistle.”

Westfield commence their campaign in the newly named BetVictor League with a trip to Northwood today.

For the full interview, get the 15 August edition of the News & Mail

KNAPHILL swept aside Shaftesbury in the FA Cup extra preliminary round on Saturday, smashing four goals in the first 23 minutes of the clash in north Dorset.

“The boys were excellent,” manager Luke Tuffs told the News & Mail.

Absolutely stunning: Luke Tuffs was delighted with the Knappers’ performance

“I’d break the game down into three parts; first 25 minutes absolutely stunning, everything you’d want; last 15 minutes of the first half a bit naive; second half very professional and mature.”

Striker Matt Bunyan, who was returning after a knee injury, turned in a strong performance and feels the win could inject valuable momentum into his side’s season.

He said: “Our mentality is to win every game we play, whether it’s league or cup. We need to start building momentum and hopefully this can be the start of that.

“Saturday showed what we can do when everybody’s at it. But we haven’t done it for 90 minutes yet and I think that’s going to be the focus moving forward.”

The Knappers will face Fareham Town at The Surrey Hire Stadium on Saturday 24 August in the FA Cup preliminary round.

For the full report, see the 15 August edition of the News & Mail

WOKING midfielder Shaun Donnellan says that he’ll give everything to ensure success for the club this season.

The 22-year-old signed during the summer, and believes his style fits boss Alan Dowson’s template.

Woking FC midfielder Shaun Donnellan

“I’m all heart,” he told the News & Mail. “I pass the ball well, win my headers, win my tackles, and I give everything. Things have gone really well since I joined. The lads are a good bunch and there’s a good work ethic about the club, so I’m enjoying it.”

It didn’t take long for Donnellan to secure his move. So impressed was Dowson after Donnellan’s performance in a full-sided game – in only his second training session – that he was offered a contract as he walked off the pitch.

Barnet-born Donnellan was convinced about the move by talking to Chelsea goalkeeper and friend Nathan Baxter, who spent the 2017-18 season at Kingfield. The pair were at Yeovil Town together last term.

Donnellan comes from rich footballing stock. His father Leo Donnellan played for Fulham and represented the Republic of Ireland at youth level, and his uncle Gary Donnellan played for Reading and Yeovil.

He said: “My old man never forced me into football, there was no pressure. He didn’t send me to an academy until I was 14. He didn’t want me playing academy football – he wanted me to enjoy my football and school.

“When I did sign at 14, school football was still a priority. He said ‘If you’re good at 16 you can have a go at it’. So when I turned 16 I began to pursue it properly.”

It was then that the youngster joined the West Bromwich Albion academy, where he was always playing ahead of his years, making his debut for the club’s under-21s when he was 16.

He also went on to represent Republic of Ireland under-21s, scoring a “crazy” winner in the ninth minute of injury-time of a European Under-21 Championships qualifier against Azerbaijan. The Ireland side featured Declan Rice.

Read the full interview in the 8 August edition of the News & Mail

SHEERWATER announced their Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League Premier Division debut in style with an extraordinary victory over Guildford at Kingfield last Saturday.

Sheers boss Pete Ruggles was thrilled with the debut game result

The Sheers went ahead in the 75th minute through Shane Rideout – but the drama was all to come. In the 87th minute, City’s Ryan Dacres-Smith fired home to level. Then on full-time the visitors were awarded a dubious penalty.

Step forward Sheers’ boss and substitute keeper Pete Ruggles, who had replaced the stricken Richard Shelley in the 70th minute. From Kieran Campbell’s kick, Ruggles saved and the resulting counter saw Danny Taylor bundle home to spark wild celebrations.

It was a remarkable denouement which owed everything to teamwork, as Ruggles explained.

“We played Chessington & Hook United last year, they got a penalty and Campbell took it. As he was stepping up, Rideout pointed to my right. I was going to my left, but I thought ‘He knows some inside information’, so I changed my mind. He deserves more of the credit than I do.”

See the full report in the 8 August edition of the News & Mail