Villagers ready to battle for sporting crown

North Norfolk Village Games at Cromer Academy. Gary Hewitt and his son Harrison Gilding-Hewitt, 13, from Briston.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY North Norfolk Village Games at Cromer Academy. Gary Hewitt and his son Harrison Gilding-Hewitt, 13, from Briston. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
2:38 PM

Scores of people from villages across Norfolk will do battle as part of the Village Gmes at the UEA on Sunday. EDP reporter ADAM LAZZARI previews some of the teams

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Roadshows, training sessions, fetes, six district competitions, 181 villages, and more than 11,000 people. It all boils down to this Sunday to see who will be crowned Norfolk Village Games winners for 2014.

Twenty-six teams will descend on UEA Sportspark in Norwich to battle it out to be ‘Best in Norfolk’. They have all successfully won their places from one of six district competitions that took place throughout June.

There will be three special guests cheering the teams on during the day. Suffolk girl Louise Jukes represented Team GB at London 2012 as part of the handball team.

She will be joined by two up-and- coming Team GB Skeleton stars, Jor’dan McIntosh and Jack Thomas. All three will be at UEA Sportspark for the day to cheer on the competitors.

Sports that will feature are archery, table tennis, short mat bowls,
football, rounders, athletics,
badminton, tennis, darts, climbing wall and fitness triathlon.

Honours will go to the teams that win the most points on the day across all sports.

All ages are taking part and spectators will be out in force to support their local village teams.

Ellen Vanlint, games lead for Active Norfolk, said: “The County Final is always a fantastic day of competitive sport, all done in the right spirit. We have several new villages qualified this year, and this will be sure to keep some of the others on their toes.

“It is always an amazing atmosphere with more than 1,500 people competing and cheering on their teams.

“Competition will be fierce and I am sure that this year’s result will again be very close and that every point will matter. I can’t wait to see the results.”

Ben Jones, director of Active Norfolk, said: “We are keen that rural sport continues to grow in Norfolk, and the Village Games shows how well communities and people of all ages can join together. The potential and enthusiasm behind the project is certainly there and we look forward to this day every year.”

The competition kicks off at 10am and will conclude with presentations from 3pm. The overall village winners of the ‘Best in Norfolk’ title will receive their crown shortly before 4pm.

To register your interest in Active Norfolk’s Rural Sports development programme visit www.activenorfolk.org/villagegames or call 01603 732333.

All this week we are featuring some of the villages taking part.

Briston and Melton Constable

The Norfolk Village Games has helped foster a thriving community spirit in Briston and Melton Constable.

The two villages, near Fakenham, are taking part as one team for the fourth time on Sunday.

With around 40 people expected to represent the two villages, manager Alison O’Malley believes they have their strongest ever team.

She said: “We’ve been getting better each year with more people wanting to get involved and there is a lot of enthusiasm towards it.”

Mrs O’Malley said Briston and Melton Constable, which is competing in the medium villages section, is particularly strong in archery where John Hancock competes for them, and table tennis.

But she added: “For us it’s all about taking part, having fun, getting people off their sofas and enjoying friendly competition against other villages.

“We set up a netball team this year from a group of mums who hadn’t played for years and they are all really enjoying it.

“That’s what it’s all about.”

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