Review of the year: January to June

Laura Weightman in Kenya.'Group cool down
Laura Weightman in Kenya.'Group cool down

This week sees the first part of our look back at the big sport stories of the past year in north Northumberland. January to June is here and the second part will be published in next week’s Northumberland Gazette.

JANUARY

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JUNE 22:  Garrick Porteous of Bamburgh Castle tees off on the 3rd tee during the final of The Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club on June 22, 2013 in Deal, England.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JUNE 22: Garrick Porteous of Bamburgh Castle tees off on the 3rd tee during the final of The Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club on June 22, 2013 in Deal, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

The year began with concerns over a fixture build-up for grassroots football in north Northumberland after a wet end to 2012.

Alnwick RFC fell to defeat at home to Morpeth in their second festive friendly, as the Brett Horse Trophy headed south.

Olympic finalist Laura Weightman went to Kenya for four weeks of high-altitude training.

Triple-jumper Emma Pringle, from Alnwick, landed a spot at the British Athletics European Indoor Trials and UK Championships.

Mixed marital arts fighter Ryan ‘The Bull’ Copland won a grudge-match fight against Nathan Court in what the Alnwick fighter said could be his last fight.

It was announced that members of Northumberland Anglers’ Federation would have the chance to fish for a new trophy during the 2013 season – the Jim Hardy Trophy, named for the former federation chairman.

Cricket, football, rugby and golf clubs in north Northumberland were all set to benefit from major works as a number of schemes were either under way or in the offing.

FEBRUARY

The Stephen Carey Fund, set up in tribute to the 21-year-old Alnmouth footballer who collapsed during a game and later died, unveiled its plans for a fund-raising five-a-side tournament to take place in March.

Alnwick Amateur Boxing Club was asked to stage an international event, just six months after opening its doors.

Triple-jumper Emma Pringle smashed her personal best at the British Athletics European Indoor Trials and UK Championships in Sheffield, leaping 12.81m for a sixth-place finish and a sixth-place UK ranking.

Amble’s Luke James scored a last-gasp winner for Hartlepool United in a 2-1 victory over Leyton Orient as the 18-year-old aimed to salvage something from his ‘nightmare’ season at the then League One club.

Aston Whitlow helped inspire North England U18s to a 21-5 win over London South East. The Swarland teenager’s pick-and-go secured the first try.

A 24-hour pool marathon raised around £2,500 for The Stephen Carey Fund.

MARCH

Equestrian star Gayle Bloomfield was named female personality of the year at the North East Disability Sports Awards 2012. The 42-year-old from Seahouses was also in the running to win equipment for the Pegasus Centre where she is based.

Boxer Cyrus Pattinson was king of the ring after landing the Northumberland Gazette Sports Personality of the Year Award for 2012.

Referee Richard Clark, from South Broomhill, was selected to officiate at a renowned international tournament in the US, featuring youth sides from some of the world’s highest-profile clubs.

The five-a-side competition hosted by The Stephen Carey Fund was hailed a success as former Bolton Wanderers star Fabrice Muamba offered his support to the campaign.

Wooler-based motorcyclist Callum Laidlaw called for sponsorship support as he reflected on his ‘dream come true’ - a first season competing in the world of international racing.

APRIL

Amble United were celebrating as they defeated Carlisle City 3-2 to win the Kicks Leisure Challenge Cup. The league title also remained firmly in the Seasiders’ sights.

Hartlepool United star, and Amble lad, Luke James was named the League One Apprentice of the Year for 2013 at the Football League Awards.

Some 17 years after Manchester United used Alnwick Town’s St James’ Park home to prepare for a crucial title decider against Newcastle United, the Premiership club donated footballs to the Northern League team to say thanks.

Alnwick RFC were on the verge of promotion glory as they thrashed lowly Sunderland 60-7 on Wearside.

And a week later, the Greensfield side made it certain by winning 28-10 over Medicals to secure the Durham/Northumberland Division One title and promotion to North One East.

At the other end, Alnwick Town were guaranteed a finish in the relegation places in Northern League, Division Two, but were waiting to see if they would be granted a stay of execution.

MAY

Alnwick Town marked their 1,000th Northern League game in stunning style with a last-day-of-the-season 5-2 victory over Washington.

Later in the month, there was relief all round as the FA ratified the Northern League’s decision to relegate Ryhope, meaning Alnwick were safe.

Triple-jumper Emma Pringle, from Alnwick, leapt to a new personal best (12.88m) as she won the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Championships in Bedford.

Alnwick Harriers hosted their annual Les Allcorn 10k and the host club’s Jo Gascoigne-Owens won the female race in 37.26, knocking 12 seconds off her personal best for the distance.

There was silverware for Amble Tavern as they won the Morpeth Sunday League’s Lewin Cup, beating Barrington 4-1.

But there was sad news for the town’s football community as Amble United resigned from the Northern Alliance and folded as a club due to a lack of committee members.

JUNE

Athlete Laura Weightman bagged a qualifying time for the World Championships in her first 1500m event of the season, not long after shaving a massive 19 seconds off her 3000m personal best as she posted the fourth-fastest time in the world this year.

Towards the end of June, she earned a useful 11 points for Britain as she came second in the 3000m at the European Athletics Team Championships in Gateshead.

Bamburgh Castle golfer Garrick Porteous teed up a four-shot victory in the prestigious Carrick Neill Scottish Amateur Strokeplay Championship, becoming the third Englishman to take the title in five years.

Later in the month, the 23-year-old won the English Amateur Championships, which earned him invitations to play at The Open at Muirfield and next year’s US Open and Masters.

Almost 200 golfers helped to raise more than £5,000 for charity at the 12th annual Alnwick Rotary Club Charity Golf Day.

Lucy Bronze was selected for the England squad ahead of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 finals in Sweden. It was the former Duchess’s Community High School pupil’s first senior call-up.