Community in superb shape for Norfolk Village Games

The Forncetts team The Forncetts team

Friday, July 11, 2014
10:36 AM

Our preview to this Sunday’s Village Games at the University of East Anglia Sportspark continues with profiles of two more teams – and a look back to last year. See Monday’s paper for a full report from the event.

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A member of Cantley's Village Games team in action at 2013's competition. Picture: suppliedA member of Cantley's Village Games team in action at 2013's competition. Picture: supplied

Cantley’s team is set to be on top form for this weekend’s Village Games.

The sporty group keep themselves in tip-top shape in preparation for the competition by taking part in roadshows throughout the year, including archery, tennis, table tennis and short-mat bowls.

Cantley residents have been taking part in the Games since 2011 and always get a good team out on finals day.

Julie Hey, co-ordinator for the Cantley team, said: “I love taking part in the Village Games. It gives us a chance to do more sport in our village throughout the year and really brings us all together, especially for the big finals in June and July.

“The whole community, young and old, look forward to it every year.”

The bowls team has previously consisted of three youngsters, all aged under 16, who only started playing the spot as part of the Games competition.

Villages unite to send super squad to Games

The Forncetts will be sending a 50-strong team to the county finals as the popularity of the Norfolk Village Games continues to go from strength to strength within the community.

The team, which represents Forncett St Mary, Forncett St Peter and Forncett End, will be competing in the small village category at the finals on Sunday at the UEA, having finished runner-up in the south Norfolk heats.

Glen Humphreys, the team’s co-ordinator, said this would be the third year in which the Forncetts had been competing at the village games, having come third in 2012 and second last year.

He added there were many in the village who played sport even though the community was relatively small.

“We are a really small village, but we have done really well and people just want to get involved. People are looking after certain sports for me so that has taken a bit of the burden off my shoulders,” Mr Humphreys said.

He added he decided to set up the team after speaking to the co-ordinators of the neighbouring Aslacton team.

Mr Humphreys’ sons Josh, 16 and Zachary, 12, who play football and rounders respectively, will also be involved in the Forncetts team.

He said: “We are all looking forward to the county finals and bringing the family along and it should be a good family day out.”

Last year’s Norfolk Village Games

Last year’s Village Games involved more than 16,000 people and 181 teams.

More than 2,500 people packed the Sportspark at the University of East Anglia to watch athletes aged from eight to 80 battle it out in archery, table tennis, short-mat bowls, darts, football, rounders, athletics, badminton, tennis, darts and fitness triathlon.

There were victories for west Norfolk in the small and medium village categories, with Docking and Terrington St Clement respectively emerging victorious, while Diss and Roydon claimed the large village title.

The finals were opened by Olympic judo player Colin Oates, who delivered a motivational speech to participants, and archer Amy Oliver, who shot balloons on a target to mark the start of competition.

Mr Oates, who finished seventh in his judo class at London 2012, encouraged all the finalists in his speech, before spending the day cheering on his home village of the Lophams.

He said the Village Games were a chance for communities to bond together and for lesser-known sports to attract new participants.

“It’s nice for those sports like archery, badminton and table tennis to get the recognition, because they are just as tough as sports like football, but don’t always get the attention. It’s great to see them get a big push,” said Mr Oates.

“Events like the Village Games are so important because they get people out and enjoying physical activity. We hear so many bad reports about obesity, but it’s days like this which can get children into sport and make the difference.”

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