A Year of Champions: The Hunts Post Sport Review of 2012, part 1...

HERE is part one of Richard Hughes’ look back at a year of sporting achievement in Huntingdonshire...

January 4

FORMER Brampton striker Niks Savalneiks starts the year with two goals for his new club Huntingdon Town after moving on loan from Cambridge City. The Latvian striker scores twice in Huntingdon’s 4-0 win over Wootton Blue Cross. St Ives Boxing Club’s Shona Whitwell wins her second National Schoolgirl Championship title in Manchester and will go on to win her third in Cannock in December to complete an impressive hat trick.

January 11

JEZ Hall and Warren Everdell were honoured by St Ives Town after celebrating their 500th match in charge in their 10th year as joint managers. Mike Hyem scores Godmanchester Rovers’ late winner in their 3-2 Hunts Senior Cup semi final win over Ramsey Town. Huntingdon Stags start their new year with a 37-19 win over Wellingborough in the Midlands Two South East division.

January 18

LOUIS Smith and Daniel Keatings are among six of the gymnasts who help Great Britain qualify their team for a place at the London 2012 Olympics. The team that will compete in London is yet to be selected, however. St Neots confirm The Only Way Is Essex star Mark Wright has signed for the club, despite the actor’s Twitter denials. He will never make an appearance. St Neots are beaten by St Ives in their Hunts Senior Cup semi final.

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January 25

OFFICIALS and delegates from the region’s United Counties League clubs are up in arms about the FA’s proposed plans to scraps it’s Premier Division. Meanwhile, St Neots manager Dennis Greene tells us: “If we beat Bedworth on February 7 then we will be able to say this division had become a two-horse race”. St Ives Cycling Club’s Chris Penney completes a 12-hour charity pedalathon. Danni Belbin and Bliss Laurence are selected for the Loughborough Lightning netball team’s development squad.

February 1

KIERAN Bywater, the 16-year-old footballer from Sawtry, is offered a scholarship by West Ham United. Huntingdon Town win their UCL Division One derby with Eynesbury Rovers 1-0, while Stefan Moore and Shane Tolley both score hat tricks in St Neots’ 9-2 win over Aylesbury.

February 8

ST Neots’ home match against Daventry Town is postponed minutes before kick off despite the best efforts of manager Dennis Greene who had been using drums of burning wood to try to defrost the pitch. Huntingdon Town’s Ricky Marheineke was named UCL Division One manager of the month, while Godmanchester Rovers’ joint boss Nev Nania tells us: “Hunts football is in rude health”. Lola say ex-Formula One driver Nick Heidfeld will drive one of their cars at the Le Mans 24-hour race in France. Sad news this week was the closure of Fenstanton Cricket Club.

February 15

SNOW hits Huntingdonshire and St Ives’ big FA Vase game against Gresley is called off. Hunts Athletic Club sprinter Ryan Palmer sets four records in one day at the South of England Athletics Championships. Both Shona Whitwell and her younger sister Harli win their fights at St Ives Boxing Club’s Corn Exchange show.

February 22

CONOR Washington scores twice as St Ives beat Gresley 4-0 to book their place in the quarter finals of the FA Vase for the first time ever. Ben Mackey scores a hat trick for St Neots in their 3-1 defeat Burnham with manager Dennis Greene saying he has the best three strikers in the league. St Ives Bulls keep up their chase of the top two in the Midlands Four East South division with a 20-0 win over Oundle.

February 29

ST Neots top the Southern League’s Division One Midlands table, Huntingdon Town top Division One of the UCL, and Godmanchester Rovers top Division One of the Eastern Counties League. Looking good for a hat trick of champions then? St Neots billiards player Jan Hughes picks up her first World Seniors trophy in Swindon, while 17-year-old Ryan Palmer becomes the first Hunts AC sprinter ever to break seven seconds over 60 metres indoors.

March 7

WEMBLEY dreams dashed: St Ives are knocked out of the FA Vase at Staveley Miners Welfare, but St Neots chairman Mike Kearns says his side are on course for promotion. St Neots Rugby Club fail to show up for their Midlands Four East South match at Oundle because they don’t have enough players. “I don’t really know how we get around this,” says chairman Nigel Samms.

March 14

ST Ives Bulls win the big Hunts rugby derby when they beat St Neots 19-10 at The Chicken Shack. In football, St Neots lose their big top of the table clash with Slough Town in front of a record home crowd of 1,060.

March 21

GRAFHAM motorcycle racer Jonathan Railton prepares for the new 12-round Superstock 1000 season, while Ash Miller moves from Australia to Huntingdonshire as the 20-year-old chases the dream of a future in motorsport. A Lola-Toyota car finishes on the podium in the 12-hour Sebring race in Florida. Paul Bass scores twice for Godmanchester Rovers in their 2-0 win over Fakenham Town, and David Cobb rejoins St Ives who win 7-2 at Irchester United.

March 29

ST Ives Bulls captain Jim Robinson is ‘gutted’ after a 19-19 draw with Northampton Men’s Own leaves the team’s hope of promotion in tatters, while St Neots thrash Westwood 78-7. Hunts Gym’s Patrick Murphy, 12, wins a bronze on the pommel horse at the English Gymnastics Championships. ‘Five wins for the title’ says Mike Kearns after St Neots’ 3-0 over Bedfont Town leaves them three points clear at the top of the table. ‘Promotion is priority’ says Goddy Nev Nania.

April 4

LOUIS Smith brushes off concerns over a damaged finger ahead of the gymnastics World Cup meeting in China, but Dan Keatings stays home with an ankle injury. Figure skater Calum Titmus wins gold for Britain at the Special Olympics in Austria. Max Roberts scores his first ever goal for St Ives in their 2-1 win over Stewarts & Lloyds. St Neots Town remain three points clear at the top of their table, while Goddy are on the verge of promotion in Division One of the Eastern Counties League.

April 11

“IT’S not our divine right to win this league,” says Mike Kearns as St Neots slip up and lose 2-1 to Biggleswade Town. Ricky Marheineke says he is confident of promotion after a mixed Easter weekend for Huntingdon. Fenstanton win the Cambs League Senior B championship but Goddy will have to wait another week for promotion despite their 10-0 win over Cornard Rangers. Jonathan Railton slides out of his opening Superstock 1000 race. Warboys says they are ready for the step up into cricket’s Cambs & Hunts Tucker League.

April 18

GODDY go up in style by beating Debenham LC 5-0. “They were focussed and set – I could see it in their eyes,” says Nev Nania. St Neots close in on their title, with two games to go they have a three point lead over challengers Slough. Huntingdon lose 3-1 at their title challengers Harborough Town in Division One of the UCL. Huntingdon Stags win their final home match of the season – against Stockwood Park – 71-3. St Ives Boxing Club’s Martin Rooney continues his rise through the ranks with another win, and Jonathan Railton’s fifth-place at Thruxton is the 21-year-old rider’s best ever result.

April 25

ST Neots have finally won promotion. Ben Mackey and Dan Jacob both score hat tricks as the Saints destroy North Greenford United 8-0. “We were a class act,” says Dennis Greene. Huntingdon win promotion with a 7-0 win over ON Chenecks at Jubilee Park. “Now for the title,” says manager Ricky Marheineke. St Ives secure their highest ever finish – third place in the UCL Premier Division – with four games still to play. Hunts AC runner Dave Connell comes 213th in the London Marathon.

May 2

HUNTINGDON are champions after beating Rothwell Town 3-0 at Jubilee Park, while St Neots pick up their Southern League silverware at Ashford Town. Hot shot Conor Washington says he doesn’t clean his boots after games he has scored in because he might ‘wash the goals away’ – he then scores another four as St Ives beat Daventry United. St Ives Bulls beat Huntingdon & District II 49-15 in the Hunts & Peterborough Trophy final.

May 9

ST Ives complete a four-day double by beating Goddy 3-1 in final of the Hunts Senior Cup at St Neots and King’s Lynn Town 4-1 in the final of the UCL Cup at Yaxley. Conor Washington scores one against Goddy and a hat trick against King’s Lynn to finish the season with 52 goals in 50 games. St Neots lift the Hinchingbrooke Cup by beating Stotfold of the South Midlands League 6-0. The cricket season slowly trickles into action, while Kira Reuter – Hemingford’s 11-year-old tennis star – spends the weekend at the national Tennis centre in Roehampton.

May 16

WITH the football season over, The Hunts Post makes it to eight games of cricket on one Saturday afternoon. Starting at Waresley, we pop in at Eaton Socon, Alconbury, Huntingdon, Hougton & Wyton, Warboys, Upwood and Ramsey. Ramsey’s defence of their Cambs & Hunts Tucker League title gets off to a terrible start with a defeat to eventual title winners Foxton. Conor Washington is off to Peterborough for a trial, while former manager Matt Plumb returns to Eynesbury Rovers after Paul Dodson is shown the door. Hunts AC’s Jonathon Edwards’ hammer throw at the Cambs Athletics Championships is an astonishing 20 metres further than anyone else’s.

May 23

WARBOYS teenager Todd Kane is called into Chelsea’s Champions League squad for their final win over Bayern Munich. Conor Washington’s trial with Peterborough doesn’t go well but he is now linked with moves to both Cambridge United and Dagenham & Redbridge. Alconbury set the early pace in the Hunts Cricket League. St Ives Boxing coach Steve Whitwell says 18-year-old boxer Tommy Martin is ready to go pro.

May 30

A STRANGE new rule means teams in the Cambs League, below the Premier Division, will be able to use roll-on roll-off substitutes. Fenstanton boss Dom Moody says: “It could end up like American football”. Brampton Bowls Club celebrate their golden anniversary, while St Neots captain Lewis Webb decides to leave the club. Alconbury remain unbeaten in the Hunts League. Jonathon Railton is up to 10th in the Superstock standings. Louis Smith wins silver at the European Artistic Gymnastic Championships.

June 7

SHANE Tolley leaves St Neots and signs for Spalding, while Lewis Webb opts for King’s Lynn, before later switching to Corby. Former Fenstanton Cricket Club Club players get together for one last bash against Abbots Ripton on the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday Monday. Eaton Socon begin to rev up their Hunts League engines with a good win over Godmanchester II to take them third. Alconbury are still top though.


TOMMY Martin becomes a professional boxer and links up with the TKO stable in London after his final amateur win over George Hormer. Louis Smith says he is ‘fine tuning’ after winning a silver in Maribor. Teammate Dan Keatings hits form in Ghent. St Ives Roosters rugby league club maintain their 100 per cent record with a 56-8 win at Bury Titans. Abbots Ripton are Hunts cricket’s form team.

June 20

CONOR Washington shocks Hunts football by re-signing for St Ives after interest from Peterborough, Cambridge United and Dagenham & Redbridge fails end in frustration. Jeremy Ireson and Simon Rathbone play 72 holes of golf at four different Hunts courses in one day. In cricket, Alconbury are still the team to beat in the Hunts League. Somersham Town scrap their first team and drop down to Division One B of the Cambs League. Jordan Gent leaves St Neots for Soham.

June 27

ST Neots high jumper Robbie Grabarz won his place in Team GB for the London Olympics by claiming the gold at trials in Birmingham. Eaton Socon are climbing the Hunts League and Alconbury are knocked off the top by Ufford Park. Godmanchester’s Wayne Bradley scored a century in 76 balls. St Ives Roosters extend their unbeaten run with a 54-35 win over Bedford Tigers – but coach Ian Hill says the performance was ‘disjointed’.

NEXT WEEK: July to December...