As another bumper year of sporting success draws to a close, sports reporter SAM MURLEY looks back on who was making the headlines in the Bury Free Press throughout 2013 in the second of a two-part series.
Two of the biggest spectacles on the British sporting calender kicked off the second half of the year as the beginning of the July saw both the British Grand Prix and Wimbledon take place.
It proved a disappointing final outing at SW19 for West Harling’s Pippa Horn, who exited the Wimbledon Junior Championships in the first round following a straight sets defeat to China’s Shilin Xu.
BBC’s Ben Edwards, from Wortham, gave his reaction to a ‘mess’ of a British Grand Prix at Silverstone, which was marred by several tyre blow outs, but praised the drivers for creating an excitement spectacle despite the issues.
Meanwhile, in the same week that Needham Market fired a shot of intent to their league rivals with the signing of former Ipswich Town and Leeds United midfielder Ian Westlake, Bury St Edmunds swimmer Chris Walker-Hebborn was gearing up for a double assault on World Championship glory at the British Gas Swimming Championships.
Although Wimbledon was disappointing for youngster Horn, it was a truly unforgettable tournament for line judge Wendy Smith who enjoyed the best view of the 15,000 capacity Centre Court crowd as Andy Murray ended a 77-year wait for a British men’s singles winner, beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets to make history.
July also saw Bury Town sign former Ipswich Town defender, while rowing royalty and five-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave gave his backing to Josh Tonnar to keep his Olympic aspirations alive following a difficult period.
August saw Blues striker John Sands once again take to social media site Twitter to outline his desire to leave Ram Meadow, a wish that was finally granted in October as he departed for league rivals Canvey Island.
He was later joined out of the exit door by Lee Reed.
Bury-born Ed Upson kicked off the new SkyBet Championship season in style as his last-gasp goal gifted newcomers Yeovil Town victory over Millwall, while Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club captain Tom Huggins sealed a landmark at the crease by scoring his 100th century.
Alan Macpherson was back in the headlines as he became the first British athlete to conquer all three Ultraman competitions having overcome events in Canada, Wales and Hawaii.
Para Showjumper Cally Gould was another history maker as she won the first ever National Para Equestrian Championships, while race sensation Matt Parry’s undoubted potential was recognised with an invitation to join the prestigious British Racing Driver’s Club ‘Rising Stars’ programme.
The Tolly Cobbold Cup made a welcome return to Bury St Edmunds Golf Club’s trophy cabinet after an absence of 16 years at the start of September following victory over Ipswich, while shooting star Sam Green cemented his place among the nation’s best after clinching the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association British Open Sporting Championships.
In a candid interview with the Free Press, popular Bury Town chairman Russell Ward expressed his intentions to step down from his role after becoming disillusioned with the club’s expanding wage bill.
However, after a number of board meetings, it was a decision he would later reverse.
Bury Cricket Club bid an emotional farewell to their pavilion as around 250 past and present players marked the end of an era, while javelin star Harry Hughes was setting his sets on further glory after writing his name into the history books with a record 69.71m gold-winning throw at the Sainsbury’s School Games.
October saw the return of two popular events with the St Edmundsbury Sports Awards, as Abbeycroft Leisure and the Bury Free Press and Haverhill Echo celebrated the sporting achievements of sports men and women across the borough, while the Apex also hosted the Bury St Edmunds Chess Congress.
The month also proved a successful one on the racing track for local racers with Oli Basey-Fisher, Matty Parry and Elliott Banks-Browne all lifting titles in their respective fields of racing and motorcross.
The beginning of November heralded the biggest match in Needham Market’s history as their memorable FA Cup journey came to end following a narrow 1-0 fourth qualifying round defeat to Skrill Conference Premier Division leaders Cambridge United. The Marketmen exited with their heads held high as they matched their illustrious opponents in front of a record crowd of 1,784 at Bloomfields.
Having received her first call-up to the full England women’s rugby team a month, Lawshall’s Sasha Acheson fulfilled her lifelong ambition after making her debut in a 40-20 victory over France at Twickenham.
She would also make another appearance days later in a success over Canada as the 22-year-old set her sights on a place in England’s World Cup squad.
While left-arm pace bowler Tymal Mills was in Australia putting the England batsmen through their paces ahead of the Ashes series, kickboxing sensation Marley Davies was celebrating after clinching a medal haul at the WTKA World Championships in Massa Carrara, Tuscany.
Matt Parry was handed an early Christmas present at the beginning of December as he received the Mclaren Autosport British Racing Driver’s Club award.
The prestigious award, previously won by Jenson Button, would grant the youngster the chance to show off his talent in a Formula One car in a test drive.
Ben Mayhew hailed the role of divine intervention as he scooped the top prize at the UKIPT4 Nottingham 6-max poker tournament.
The 27-year-old, whose father past away in February, came out on top of 458 players from 31 countries to net £72,840.
The Mildenhall Fen Tigers were facing life without Brandon-based rider Steffan Nielsen who earned a place in speedway’s top flight with Elite League outfit Belle Vue Aces.
But they were boosted with the return of Joe Jacobs, who had previously helped the team to 2012 grand slam glory.
Culford School’s girls hockey team cemented their place as ‘invincibles’ as they went the whole season unbeaten.
Seventeen-year-olds Thea Beales and Amee Bullett booked their places at the BCS National Championships after winning the British Colleges Sport Eastern Region Badminton Ladies doubles tournament.
The month ended in differing degrees of success for our local stars. Chris Walker-Hebborn saw his gamble to focus on shorter swimming distances reap rewards after a bronze medal display at the European Short Course Championship reignited his passion for the sport.
In contrast, the year ended in a bleaker outlook for Bury Town as the Free Press exclusively revealed the growing concerns over the club’s finances and threat to players wages.
Those fears were realised as striker Shane Tolley departed Ram Meadow for St Neots and would be later joined by David Bridges and Ryan Semple out of the exit door.