Going the extra yard in the Cambridge United Sport in the Community Awards
Recognising the monthly winners
One of the biggest virtues of sport in Cambridge is the breadth and range of disciplines on offer.
It is not the case that one activity dominates, and that helps to create a healthy culture where success is achievable for many.
In an environment where the call for participation is so great, it is important that everyone’s needs can be tailored for.
This month’s winners of the Cambridge United Sport in the Community Awards give an idea of the range of sports on offer.
Thomas Keen is a young runner who is certainly making a big impression, while the same can be said of one of his coaches, Mark Vile, whose squad is enjoying significant achievements.
David Burkett is at the heart of encouraging youngsters to participate in sport, having set up Cottenham under-13 girls’ football team, while Cambridge South III have shown remarkable success in turning their fortunes around.
And the work of Harston & Newton Primary School has placed them in the national elite.
“It is tremendous to see the riches being gained through sport in so many areas,” said Cambridge United Community Trust chief executive Ben Szreter.
Champion of the month: David Burkett
Going above and beyond is so often the case in grassroots sport, and David Burkett has definitely done that.
David started working with a group of girls at a Living Sport/Cambs FA initiative after school in Cottenham in 2016.
There was plenty of interest in the sessions, and it led to an under-13 Cottenham team being formed to play in the 9 v 9 S-Tech Girls’ League.
David has no family links to the team and is just focused on developing them as footballers, coaching a lot of them after school on a Monday and at a colts training session on a Wednesday.
The numbers have increased and from having lost their first game 7-0, they are now unbeaten in six, with five wins and a draw; the confidence and self-belief of the girls has soared.
David also helps to coach and run a boys’ under-15 team, which is unbeaten in three months, and coaches at the Cottenham Colts FA SSE Wildcats Centre for primary school girls, which regularly has up to 45 players attending.
Star of the month: Thomas Keen
Thomas Keen is making a big impact on the athletics scene.
The Cambridge & Coleridge athlete has gone from average to anything but in a very quick period of time.
Thomas earned his first England vest last season, and he has continued to go from strength to strength.
He was first in the South of England AA Cross Country Championships in January.
And Thomas followed that up by representing England in the international EasyKit Cross Cup international In Belgium, where he finished second.
And the weekend before last (February 24), Thomas was part of the victorious C&C under-17 boys’ team – with David Dow, Oliver Newman and Nicholas Harhalakis – at the National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill.
But one medal was not enough as he took bronze in the individual under-17s’ race.
Most importantly perhaps, Thomas continues to be an integral part of the group at C&C and despite his achievements remains as humble as ever.
Coach of the month: Mark Vile
Inspiring is the word that has been used to describe Mark Vile.
The endurance lead coach at Cambridge & Coleridge Athletics Club has a successful group of athletes that he gives a lot of his time to in order to progress their training.
Mark inspires the younger athletics with the success of the older ones he coaches.
And rather than pushing his young charges, he nurtures them with their long-term goals and potential.
The endurance running group ranges in age from under-13s to adults, and they have had a lot of success at cross country and track championships over the last year.
Three athletes – Jack Gray, Charlie Christensen and Thomas Keen – from the training group were selected to represent England in an international cross country match in Belgium in February.
School of the month: Harston & Newton
Harston & Newton Primary School is one of only 104 schools nationally to receive the School Games Mark platinum award.
The prize is a government-led awards scheme to reward schools for their commitment to the development of physical education and sport across their school and into the community.
Harston & Newton had achieved five successive gold awards, the top mark of three, before the platinum award was launched this year.
It recognises schools who have maintained consistently high standards with their school sport provision and means that they have had to meet a set of demanding criteria.
Team of the month: Cambridge South III
It has been a quite simply remarkablee season for Cambridge South Hockey Club’s ladies’ third team.
They were formed in October 2013, initially playing friendly matches before entering the lowest division of the East Hockey League the season after.
Despite winning their first competitive match, they finished bottom of the table in 2014-15.
There was slight improvement in the following two seasons as they first finished one place off the foot of the table, and then two places above the bottom.
It means over three seasons they had a record of won seven, drawn seven and lost 51, with 37 goals scored and 297 conceded.
It has been a dramatic change in fortunes this campaign though.
They have won 16 games out of 16, scoring 124 goals and only conceding four.
South III have been crowned Division 5NW (S) champions.
They have been breaking team records all season, surpassing their previous totals.
They are currently top scorers across all East Men’s and Women’s League divisions, which encompasses 41 divisions and 468 sides.
Finally, they have a strong candidate for the top scorer award in the East Women’s league this season in centre-forward Lucy Davidson, who has 41 goals to her name so far.