In the second, and final blog from our guest Sosie Cox, herself an IoM sport enthusiast, she tells us about the fantastic sport on offer on the Isle…
Cricket is also a major sport for the Island, with a particularly strong junior squad at the moment. Players registered total approximately 700 (senior and junior) which is a significant number for such a small island. Although cricket has been played by various clubs on the island since late in the 19th century, the Isle of Man Cricket Club was eventually formed in April 1930. Many years affiliation to Lancashire County Cricket Board was eventually replaced by full international recognition in July 2004 when the Isle of Man Cricket Association were elected as the 90th member of the International Cricket Council (ICC). In 2008 cricket has been granted a Key Community Sport status by the Government body Manx Sport and Recreation. This helped enable the IOMCA to take a great stride forward in the development of the sport by appointing its first full time Development Officer in summer 2008.
Isle of Man compete in ECC competitions, having so far participated at Senior, Under 19, Under 17 and Under 15 levels. Membership of The IOMCA comprises 12 clubs (Castletown, Cronkbourne, Crosby, Finch Hill, Grashoppers, Peel, Ramsey, Ronaldsway, St John’s, Union Mills and Valkyres). The facilities on the Island also boast an excellent standard, with a total of 8 cricket grounds where matches are played on regularly.
The biggest entry route for juniors to take up new sport on the island is the Manx Youth Games. This is a festival of all sports held in May each year. Each region comes together to play against each other, with over 150 children taking part on average. There are 4 age groups per region, with several teams made up within those age ranges (boys u11, girls u11, boys u13, girls u13). This is a simple way that the Isle of Man encourages sport from a young age.
Netball on the IOM is a hugely popular sport with 17 clubs taking part in fixtures every Sunday. The coaching on the Island is of a particularly high standard boasting some excellent results. Pip Cross is the president of The Manx Netball Association (founded in September 1984 by Judi Clark-Wilson). Pip has won the North West Regional Goalden Globe for her services to Grassroots Officiating and was also awarded the National Grassroots Officials Award at the Goalden Globe Awards in September, incredible achievements. Jess Smallwood is a talented young netball player on the Island. She started netball at a young age at primary school and has been playing in the Island’s senior league since she has been old enough. Jess has been part of the Manx Aces, the island team, for many years and got selected from this to go away for North West trials. She was selected to play for the Manchester (Northern) Thunder academy and was going to practices every two weeks, a huge commitment for someone on the island. Jess received Sports Aid, a government initiative to help elite athletes on the Island. Jess said ‘This was incredibly helpful because they funded some of my trips away and gave me support. They also let me see the physios and sports masseurs to help improve my performance.’ The 15 year old netballer has trials coming up again which she will travel to the mainland for.
The Island is also competitive in other sports, particularly swimming and cycling. Charlotte Atkinson, a 17 year old from the Island, has made it to a particularly high level in this sport. She first got into swimming aged 7 and joined Douglas swimming club. Charlotte, joined the Island team shortly
after her coaches saw she had potential and this meant she was able to take part in Island Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. Charlotte recently won 2 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze medal at the Island Games in Bermuda, and now holds 3 Island Games Record times. Her 50m Butterfly time of 27.73 places her No.1 in the UK Short-Course rankings for 16 year old girls. Charlotte will train with Plymouth Leander Swimming Club and be coached by Olympic Coach, Jon Rudd from September 2013. The squad she will be training alongside includes Ruta Meilutyte, the 16 year old Olympic and World Champion and double World Record holder, as well as other Olympians, international medallists and British record holders. Charlotte would like to thank her sponsors Isle of Man sports aid, Mark Cavendish, and Gubay chase your dreams for helping her get where she is today.
In cycling the Island has produced an Olympic and world champion. Mark Cavendish is arguably the fastest man on two wheels and has proved this by his outstanding track recording, including receiving an MBE for his efforts. He was the first rider ever to win the final Champs-Élysées stage in the Tour de France four years in a row (2009–2012). Having a Manx rider dominate world cycling in this way works as a great motivator for young cyclists on the IOM. Another young rider from the Isle of Man is Peter Kennaugh. He was part of the GB team pursuit quartet that won 2012 World Championships gold in Melbourne, setting a new world record in the process.
All of these fantastic opportunities and achievements truly prove that the Isle of Man is a sporting Island not to be overlooked!
Activate Sport are running several sports courses, including the Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy, Hockey Masterclass and INternational Netball Roadshow at King William’s College, Isle of Man, during August 2014. There is also a fantastic residential option for these courses too. If you would like a taste of what the Isle of Man has to offer sport style and recive some great coaching please visit www.activatesport.co.uk