Sport creates friendships.
It breaks down barriers, acts as a much-needed discussion point at social gatherings and provides a sense of togetherness that is often sadly lacking in modern society.
Sunday’s ‘Hope for Heather’ charity match at Downham Market Academy did exactly that. It brought together a large group of people – many who didn’t know each other – to play in and watch a football match that was part of a wider charity family fun day.
It didn’t take long for people to mix and bonds to be formed in the dressing room and on the pitch. It was a great occasion and a perfect reminder of how sport can be used to bring people together for an afternoon of fun.
The action on the pitch was, as expected, the respectful side of competitive but there was plenty of endeavour and effort, especially during a first 30-minute quarter that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the higher reaches of the Anglian Combination.
That’s hardly a surprise given some of the non-League players who were on show – King’s Lynn Town goalkeeper Alex Street and fellow promising Linnets Charlie Congreve and Joe Taylor, Dereham Town’s Matty Castellan and some top quality older players such as John Murphy, Shaun Frohawk, Gary Collins and Jerry Rose who rolled back the years with a smile on their faces and, no doubt, some aches in their legs and knees the next day.
Of course I was happy to be on the winning ‘Team Andy’ side. Yet ultimately the day wasn’t about who triumphed (yep, you keep telling yourself that Team Chris players).
The day was held to raise money for terminally-ill
mum-of-four Heather Bellamy, who has been battling an acute form of leukaemia for four years and needs £250,000 to get to America for
Team Chris captain Chris Hayes and his counterpart Andy Lucraft-Townley have already walked from Downham Market to Cardiff to raise money and deserve immense praise for their efforts. But so do the countless other people, including Nathan Nicholls, who allowed the day to be hosted alongside his Keeper Wars.
They’re all winners – let’s just hope enough money (currently about £70,000) is raised so Heather and her family and friends can celebrate the biggest victory of all – her eventual return to good health.
Team Chris: Chris Heyes, Alex Street, Charlie Congreve, Ben Jackson, Callum Batterbee, Ash Gilbert, Callum Robinson, Jacob White, Andrew Carter, Jack Frohawk, James Dougal, Jack Vickerstaff, Steven Tyler, Luke Jackson, Stuart Griffiths, Alfie Randall, Jack Langford, Mikey Hollingsworth, Steven Green, Chris Green, Haydon Page-Heyes.
Team Andy: Andy Lucraft-Townley, Daniel Clark, Matty Castellan, Harrison Paul, Jeff Paul, Karl Tansley, Gavin Caney, Michael Chow, Justin Uddin, Daniel Murphy, John Murphy, Jonny Clark, Joe Taylor, Kieran Weston, Mark Catterall, Gary Collins, Shaun Frohawk, Jerry Rose, Max Lincoln, Jack Lincoln, Tom Craig.
First 1/4: Team Andy 1
(Joe Taylor) Team Chris 0
Second 1/4: Team Andy 1
(Gary Collins) Team Chris 0
Third 1/4: Team Andy 3 (Taylor 2, John Murphy)
Team Chris 1 (Jacob White)
Fourth 1/4: Team Andy 2
(Jerry Rose, Tom Craig) Team Chris 2 (White 2, Chris Green)
Team Andy 7 Team Chris 4
• Donations can still be made via the Go Fund me page. Search ‘Auntie Heather’s Last Chance’ to contribute.
Stars surge needed after derby joy
It wasn’t the best meeting I’ve ever seen.
But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t great to be back at the Adrian Flux Arena last week to watch some live speedway for the first time this campaign.
For a variety of reasons, I don’t get down to Saddlebow Road as much as I used to but my love for King’s Lynn and speedway will never diminish – even if it roars somewhat less fiercely than it used to.
The smell, noise and sight of watching the bikes roar around the track was as thrilling as I remembered, it always is, but unfortunately the racing left a lot to be desired.
There was little passing and it all felt a bit processional at times. Yet the most important thing was the Stars picked up an incredibly comfortable win, especially as it came in the A47 derby against Peterborough Panthers.
Lynn learned last year how peaking too early is pointless in a play-off based sport so it matters little that they sit outside the top four right now.
As long as the victory against their fierce rivals kickstarts a surge up the table and improvement in form so they qualify for the end-of-season shoot-out for honours, that’s ultimately all that matters.
Revved up for the BTCC
It’s always good to get some practice in.
So I’m looking forward to being back on the mic tomorrow at the Snetterton round of the 2019 BTCC season to host a Flux Presents Live Q&A with drivers Jason Plato, Ash Sutton and Josh Cook.
It should be fun and it’s always great to go to these things.
LAST WEEK – WE ASKed…
Which of these four would you say was England’s player of the Cricket World Cup?
• This week’s poll…
The 2019/20 Premier League season kicks off a week today. But will Norwich City still be in it come this time next year?
Yes – They’ll stay up
No – They’ll go down
Get involved, vote and comment, on Twitter