Worcester: a city of sporting prowess
- Credit: Archant
From Wolves to Warriors... Lynn Ede can only stand back in admiration at Worcester’s sporting prowess…
As the New Year begins, resolutions usually include something along the lines of ‘move more, eat less’, at least they do in my diary. More of an armchair sportsperson, I enjoy observing sports activities rather than getting personally hot and sweaty in a team seeking cups and awards – rather, I go for the personal best angle. Don’t ask. It’s not impressive. This year that must improve, but what form of sport should it take? I do love swimming, so I think that’ll be the way I’ll go in 2016 (feel free to check up on my resolution and, indeed, to tell me yours).
Worcester is a city at the northern edge of the Cotswolds where there’s a lot of activity going on. The city offers a wealth of sporting opportunities and has pride in team achievements too.
If you want to get involved, Worcester City Council has quite a list of venues, including Nunnery Wood Complex in Spetchley Road, St John’s Sports Centre in Malvern Road, Worcester Swimming Pool in Sansome Walk, and Perdiswell Leisure Centre in Bilford Road. Clubs are many, such as squash, judo, running, karate, tennis, golf amongst others.
A touch of sporting luxury can be had via a membership at DavidLloyd.co.uk which will give you indoor and outdoor pools along with gym and restaurant facilities, whilst PF2 at Diglis offers an holistic approach to health and wellbeing. The city is more than adequately served with several pools at Nuffield, Worcester Pools & Fitness Centre, Worcester Citizen’s and a journey a little further out to Malvern Splash will add a further dimension of fun; take the family and you’ll find you can have the whole beach, flume and wave machine thing going on.
Worcester is well known for its rugby achievements - you can find out more at warriors.co.uk – the club has been in existence since 1871. Its skills have proven the recent results of 2014-15 British & Irish Cup Winners and also Greene King IPA Championship Winners for the same year. To keep ahead of games, news and their achievements, follow their progress on Twitter @WorcsWarriors. The Club gives back to the community, too, participating in such worthy events as the Acorns Hospice Charity Match Day in January.
If you are bowled over (groan) by cricket, then check out the city’s matches agenda at http://wccc.co.uk/1st-xi-fixtures You might want to check through your cupboards as Worcestershire County Cricket Club is supported by a Heritage and History group which is appealing for memorabilia of the Club over the years. So, if you have sitting around in a dusty attic any photos, merchandise, information about past events, they are keen to hear from you at http://wccc.co.uk/heritage-group—history.
Starting from a mere patch of three sheep fields in 1895, the Club has developed in leaps and bounds; the most recent addition to the grounds being the spectacular complex The View; a multimillion pound build which now claims to be providing one of the best facilities for cricket in the country.
The city seems to cater for all tastes so whatever your sporting interest is, you will find it in Worcester. Its professional basketball team Worcester Wolves enjoys third place in the British Basketball League and has achieved its most recent acquisition in UK talent Orlan Jackman. He joins the team hot foot from Portugal and promises to be an asset to the Club. The end of 2015 saw both Orlan joining and also the Sponsorship deal with Westlands, a Toyota dealership in the city. This means four of the most current vehicles are now available for the team. Follow their progress on Twitter @BBLWolves
The beautiful game, as they call it, in Worcester is represented by Worcester City FC. The football team has a long history and was founded in 1902; a good read for football fans is The Official History of Worcester City FC, a book by Bill Cook and Julian Pugh which can be purchased at WorcesterCityFC.com It charts the team’s progress over many years. In 2014/15 the team won the first away game in its history against a Football League Club.
Horseracing is a favourite of mine, though again attending in a posh frock rather than jodhpurs has always been my preference or, let’s be honest, my limitation. I have actually attempted to ride a horse; a few times, well ‘ride’ may be stretching the truth a bit; it was quite exciting but I wouldn’t say it was a successful, happy partnership for me or the horse with such a novice in the saddle. I’ll leave that to others and remain standing, cheering and staring in awe as they gallop expertly past me.
There can be few more exciting sounds than those powerful horses thundering past, their hooves soundly pounding the earth, their jockeys hunched over heading for another win by a nose to the heady sound of joyous cheers from the crowd. It’s an exciting day out and in the Cotswolds we are spoilt for choice of meetings. Worcester is amongst those to attend. It offers a full calendar of events from May to October which you can find at www. worcester-racecourse.co.uk
If you’ve never been to a course for a flutter, the website outlines a handy guide for beginners. Make a day of it, enjoy good food at the popular Severn Restaurant on the second floor of the grandstand, which overlooks the river and course. Raceday package price is £59.50 so you can watch your winners come in from your own reserved table, with an elegant wave of your racecard. Sounds pretty civilised to me.
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On Grandstand Road too is the Rowing Club. Appropriately at The Boathouse, it is one of the city’s most ancient sports, along with horseracing. The first Worcester Regatta was held in 1845 and popularity remains. Club membership shows interest from ages 12 to 70, one of whom has even made it to the Olympic Games. So, all that remains is that New Year’s resolution.
Time to purchase a new cossie and put some effort into that swimming for me in 2016… what about you?
For more information about Worcester, please visit: ‘Worcester: what lies beneath the streets of this historic city’