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JANUARY

Date: Friday 2nd January 2009

Penrith United Football Club members vote to merge with Penrith Town ahead of the latter’s move away from Southend Road to a new stadium under construction on the outskirts of the town at Frenchfield. Members of United, formed in 2004, voted 76-15 in favour of the move, which would come into force at the start of the 2008-09 season with the new club known as Penrith AFC.

Kirkby Stephen athlete Sarah Tunstall was called up to the senior England ladies’ cross-country team for an event in Belgium.

A Keswick-based team took top honours in the world’s only winter 24-hour mountain bike challenge, the gruelling Strathpuffer, held just north of Inverness. Ben Bardsley, Chris Hope, Paul Carnforth and Andy Wrigley comprised the Keswick Mountain Bikes team, sponsored by the company of the same name, which won the endurance challenge, held entirely off-road in around 17 hours of darkness.

FEBRUARY

Talented Eden cyclist Alistair Robinson, of Dockray, Matterdale, was awarded a prestigious scholarship to race in Belgium for the second consecutive year. By coincidence, his girlfriend, Vicky Ware, was chosen as one of five recipients nationally of a scholarship, awarded by the Cycling Time Trials organisation.

Cumbria League leaders Keswick RUFC broke the club points record with a 109-0 defeat of bottom club Workington Steelers. Keswick ran in 17 tries and recorded their eighth clean sheet in 15 games on their way to winning the championship and gaining promotion to North Lancs./Cumbria League.

Danny Grainger won the SPL’s Young Player of the Month award for January just weeks after joining Dundee United. Defender Grainger, whose family live at Eamont Bridge, near Penrith, moved to Tannadice at the start of the year after more than five years at Gretna. He has been a first team regular at left back since arriving at United and said that the award capped a “fabulous” first month.

Eden youngster Katie Wilson spent a dream day out with Ryder Cup golfer Colin Montgomerie, part of a coaching masterclass at the launch of the HSBC Wee Wonders Championship.

MARCH

Eden tennis veteran Gary Payton won the Scottish indoor title in Glasgow without dropping a set to edge into the world’s top 20 rankings.

His impressive victory, at a tournament featuring many of Britain and Europe’s top players, meant he held both the Scottish Open outdoor and indoor titles.

APRIL

Penrith Queen Elizabeth Grammar School’s first XV rugby team suffered a heartbreaking 14-13 defeat in the Daily Mail Under-18 Vase final at Twickenham. It came at the hands of Sussex Downs College, of Lewes, who clinched victory with a penalty four minutes from time, bringing disappointment for the QEGS players and coaching staff, and hundreds of supporters who had travelled to London for the match.

Greystoke-based Tony Dobbin one of the country’s leading jump jockeys retired after 19 years in the saddle. He ended his career by winning a race at his home course, Carlisle.

The Northern Irishman first came to England in 1988 and spent five years with top trainer Jonjo O’Neill who was based at Skelton Wood End. He then joined Maurice Barnes, who was then at Little Salkeld, for a season, before linking up with the late Gordon Richards at Greystoke, where Gordon’s son, Nicky, took over the reinsfollowing his father’s death in 1998.

The highlight of Dobbin’s career was winning the Grand National in 1997, when the race was run on a Monday for the first time after an IRA bomb scare on the Saturday. He and wife Rose now plan to open a training yard in Northumberland.

Penrith Rugby Club development manager Nigel Beaty quit the club after five years in the role, during which time he led the first team to its highest ever level of competition. He was replaced by ex-Fylde head coach and former Cumbria player and coach Stuart Connell.

Penrith Town Football Club clinched the Northern League Division II title, and with it, promotion to the top flight.

Penrith Rangers FC retained the Westmorland FA Junior Cup with a 3-2 extra-time victory over Kendal United. They went on to win Westmorland League Division II.

Penrith RUFC under-17s won the county cup with a 27-10 victory over Carlisle in a bruising encounter at Wigton. However, the cub’s first team was relegated from North 1 into North 2 East.

Two students from the Penrith Tae Kwon Do School, 11-year-old Oliver Tallis, and 25-year-old Joss Yates, gained their black belts.

MAY

Sisters Charlotte and Rosie Watson, of Keswick School, picked up gold medals in the World Schools’ Orienteering Championships. Charlotte, aged 15, and 13-year-old Rosie were members of the England squad in the competition, staged in the forests of Fife and Sterling. Charlotte was second in the 3.9km race and won gold in the 2km middle distance event. She and Rosie were members of the five-strong England team which lifted the team gold.

Appleby FC lifted the Westmorland League High Sheriff’s Cup with a 2-0 extra-time victory over Kendal County.

Former Eden man Stuart Lancaster was named the RFU’s new head of elite player development. Lancaster, who was brought up at Culgaith and played junior rugby for Penrith, ended a 16-yearassociation at Premiership side Leeds Carnegie to take charge of England’s stars of the future. The38-year-old stepped down from his role as director of rugby at Leeds where he had previously been a player, captain and academy manager.

Judo expert Michael Horley hoped his gold medal at this year’s British Student Championships was a sign of things to come. Already recognised as a London Olympic contender under the UK’s Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), 20-year-old Michael has his sights firmly fixed on reaching the top in his sport.

The outdoor leadership student at the University of Cumbria’s Newton Rigg campus, near Penrith, is already a second black belt dan and a member of the British senior squad. He won a gold medal at the American Open in 2006 and has taken silver at the English Open for the last two years.

Former Carlisle United players Paul Murray and Stephen Hindmarch have joined forces with former Blues manager Paul Simpson at Shrewsbury Town.

Murray, who spent last season with Gretna in the SPL, was left searching for another club amid growing uncertainty at Raydale Park. The31-year-old was unveiled by League 2 side Shrewsbury Town along with 18-year-old Hindmarch, of Rosthwaite, near Keswick, who was released by Carlisle earlier this month.

Young Eden basketball player Oliver Willan helped his club side reach the quarter-finals of the English championships.

Oliver, aged 16, of Morland, has been a student at Ullswater Community College, Penrith, since last August after he and his family returned from eight years living in Canada.

He was captain of his school team in Canada, the Fenelon Falcons, and was awarded the most valuable player medal at the end of the 2006/2007 season.

His English team, Preston Pride under-16s reached the quarter-finals of the English championships before bowing out against a Southampton team featuring three England players.

Eden swimmer Jeannie Darroch took part in the British International Disability Swimming Championships and came away with the bronze medal and a personal best time in the 100mbreaststroke.

Nineteen-year-old Jeannie, of Maulds Meaburn, has cerebral palsy. She is currently at Newton Riggstudying for a national diploma in sport and travels to Penrith pool from college for twice daily trainingsessions with her personal coach, Lucy Donnelly. She also trains at Manchester Aquatics Centre once a month with the Disability North West squad. She is a member of Penrith and Appleby swimming clubs.

Appleby athlete Katy Barnard put in a superb performance in three events at the North of England Athletics Championships, held in Wigan.

She won silver medals in the under-15 hammer and discus and was fourth in the shot.

In the hammer she threw 43 metres, 47 centimetres, just short of her personal best, while in the discus and shot she threw personal bests of 29m 9cm and 8m 74cm respectively.

Penrith Golf Club professional Garry Key fired a new course record during the Cumbrian Classic Pro-Am.

In round one of the 36-hole competition he shot a 63 to take a one-shot lead at the halfway point. His six under par round actually equalled the previous best score, set by John Metcalfe around six years ago at a North East/North West strokeplay event. But because the par three 10th hole has recently been extended by 40 yards it was technically a new record.

Irishman Davey Condon was appointed the newstable jockey at the Greystoke yard of Nicky Richards. He succeeded Tony Dobbin as Richards’s stable jockey after Dobbin’s retirement. Winton-based Brian Harding stays on as number two rider at the yard.

Past and present players, coaches, umpires and sponsors of Kirkby Stephen Hockey Club gathered at Shap Wells Hotel to celebrate 21 years of hockey in the town.

During that time the club has progressed fromhaving one ladies’ team to three ladies’ and a men’s side. The town became one of the few in Cumbria to have its own all weather pitch and then, in 1997, the junior section of the club was established. It now successfully competes at mini, under-11, under-13, under-15 and under-19 level.

JUNE

On what could have been his final competitive event in a rally car, VK Vent Axia driver Paul Bird raced to a superb second place at the SOL Rally Barbados.

Driving a Subaru WRC, Bird brought in his 2005 championship winning co-driver Ian Windress for the two-day event in which he was desperate to compete before he retired.And it proved to be a worthwhile trip as Bird finished second behind Ulsterman Kris Meeke, but only narrowly so, with just 17 secondsseparating the two drivers.

Gavin Skelton spoke about the excitement of a new challenge, having joined SPL side Kilmarnock on a two-year deal. Skelton, of Appleby, left Gretna at the end of last season after seven seasons at Raydale Park.

At the end of his contract, he received several offers from clubs north of the border, but put pen to paper for Kilmarnock, who finished one place aboverelegated Gretna last season.

Penrith Amateur Boxing Club’s Rick Skeltonproduced his best performance to date with a victory which was one of four successes for town fighters in a fortnight. Rick beat Joe Tighes, from Newton Aycliffe, following a previous win over Jack Collins, of Sunderland’s Hylton Castle.

Triathlete Stuart Robinson recorded his best ever world championship result as he came home in sixth place. Stuart, of Appleby, set a new personal best infreezing conditions at Vancouver, Canada, which led to the men’s swimming event being cancelled and replaced with a second run. However, the 45-year-old was able to adapt, running and cycling his way to sixth position overall in the 45-49 years category to beat his previous best of eighth, set in Mexico in 2002.

Karate kid Kirsty Elliott had a week to remember as she clinched a commonwealth title and then gained her black belt.

The 11-year-old Appleby Primary School pupil, who is a member of the Penrith Chojinkai Karate Club, travelled to the Commonwealth Open championships, held in Edinburgh. She competed in the under-35kg 10 to 11 years sparring category and took the title with some determined displays against good qualityinternational opponents.

The following weekend, Kirsty underwent hergrading assessment for black belt, under the gaze of the chojinkai senior grading panel which included Doug James, the club’s chief instructor and 7th Dan.

An Eden syndicate whose horse won at Ripon became the first recipients of the historic race trophy for more than 200 years.

Wigwam Willie clocked up its fifth victory for the Neil and Anne Dawson Partnership when it triumphed by a neck at the Yorkshire course.

That won the syndicate the magnificent silvergold-gilded trophy, which was originally given to the winner of the races held in Boroughbridge. Incredibly, it was last awarded in 1807 but the cup thendisappeared. In the 1950s it was retrieved after it was brought back to the UK from South Africa. It was then returned to the Boroughbridge Agricultural Society (BAS), which in October decided to sponsor a race at the Ripon course’s ladies’ evening.

Football-mad Eden youngster Ryan O’Sullivan won an all-expenses paid three-day trip to the Euro 2008 football final in Vienna.

Ryan, who is 12 and lives at Bolton, near Appleby, had his name entered in acompetition run by Coca Cola at Center Parcs villages by his mother, Susie.

Having bought a Coca Cola product at the Whinfell complex near Penrith, he received a scratchcard which won him a football. His name was then picked out of a prize draw offering two tickets for the final.

Ullswater Yacht Club celebrated its golden jubilee. Wet, cold weather did not stop officials, members and visitors celebrating 50 years of sailing in style.

JULY

YOUNG Threlkeld runner Rosie Stuart returned home from Italy with a gold medal aftercompeting for England in the World Mountain Running Association youth international races in Susa.

The race was held over three laps, including gruelling climbs and steep descents intemperatures reaching 33 degrees.

Ten nations competed, including Russia, Germany, France, Slovenia and Italy. Theindividual title was won by a very strong Russian girl, with 16-year-old Rosie in seventh place, but the England girls packed well to take team gold, with the Italians taking silver.

Andrew and Dianne Sayer’s horse Front Rank, trained at Hackthorpe, added another chapter to his fairytale story by carrying their youngest daughter to victory in a Flat race at Hamilton Park.

Owned by Andrew, trained by Dianne, and ridden by 16-year-old Emma, Front Rank romped home at16-1, having made all the running in a lady amateur riders’ race.

It was Emma’s third ride on a racecourse. She had her first in April at Perth over hurdles on I’m Your Man, where she finished sixth; then went to Haydock in late May for her first ride on the Flat on Woody Valentine, another Sayer horse.

Football hotshot Jess Dawson-Coates won the Newcastle United under-16s golden boot after scoring 43 goals for the team.

Despite being aged just 14, Jess, of Kirkby Thore, played a full season for the side and finished topgoal-scorer.

Teenager Antony Lund was the toast of players at Appleby Golf Club when he recorded a hole-in-one.

Antony, of Cliburn, has been playing golf at Appleby for three years and had represented the club’s junior section in competitions during this time.

It was during a junior foursomes tournament that his ace arrived, at the Brackenber Moor course’s158-yard 10th hole.

Triathlete Stuart Robinson is the new national champion for his age group. Stuart, of Appleby,triumphed at Wakefield in the prestigious Mazda British Triathlon Championships, crossing the line first in the 45-49 years category.

After the 1,500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run, he beat his nearest competitor by 38 seconds to claim his first ever national title over the standard distance.

Penrith AFC owner and chairman Ges Ratcliffe looked forward to a prosperous future for the new-look club.

More than 100 years of history were brought to an end as Penrith FC held its final annual meeting in the town. Outgoing committee members bade a fond farewell to the club, which was wound up to make way for a limited company, run by Mr. Ratcliffe, comprising the merged Penrith FC and Penrith United clubs.

The company which runs the new club will be known as Penrith AFC Limited. Mr. Ratcliffe will be the main company director and chairman of the football club.

Fourteen-year-old Zak Sinkinson claimed a hat-trick for Nunwick II in their Eden Valley Cricket League game against Lanercost II.

Eden bowler Ryan Baird became the new Cumbria under-18 singles champion.

Ryan, aged 15, of Shap, is a student at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Penrith. He started playing bowls only last year, but beat two county players on his way to lifting the T. Dickinson Memorial Trophy.

Ryan plays at his home village’s bowling club. Last year he was runner-up in the men’s singles and reached the final of the 2008 competition.

There was no beginner’s luck involved when Penrith golfer Nick Sowerby took the honours at the junior open golf tournament at Barrow, winning by an impressive margin of seven shots in his first ever 18-hole competition and all at the age of nine!

There were a total of 75 golfers competing and, playing in the section for golfers with a handicap of 20-36, Nick, who was off 36, shot the lowest net score of the competition 54 on the par 69 course.

Kirkby Stephen athlete Sarah Tunstall raced to an individual bronze at the European Mountain Running Championships and also helped Great Britain take the team gold.

The 22-year-old was in fine form at the seventh annual event, held this year in Zell am Harmersbach.

Penrith cricketers pulled off one of the most incredible victories seen at Tynefield Park when they chased down 184 in just 24 overs winning with one ball to spare.

After some outstanding batting performances, it was wicketkeeper Tony Threlkeld who had the final say. Penrith needed 16 off the last over, and after five had been scored off the first three deliveries, he smashed two identical sixes to give Penrith a memorable victory.

Keswick cricketers reached the final of the North Lancashire League Higson Cup following a semi-final victory over Whitehaven.

Strongman Dave McAneney booked himself a place in the final of the UK’s Ultimate Strongest Man competition.

The 34-year-old, who lives at Hunsonby, was second at a competition in Lichfield, which automatically gave him a place in the final, to be held in Belfast, in August.

AUGUST

With the start of the Northern League season only a week away Penrith AFC appointed joint managers Richard Prokas and James Tose to replace Dave Heslop who quit the club.

His resignation came following the departure of Prokas, who was his number two, and experienced player Derek Townsley, who left to become assistant manager of new Scottish Football League side Annan Athletic.

Keswick first XI cricketers suffered two defeats to Millom, the second of which was a heavy loss in Sunday’s Higson Cup final.

They were beaten by six wickets at Cleator, having batted first and been bowled out for 116 by a Millom side who included West Indies Test and one-day international all-rounder Ryan Hinds, of Barbados.

That defeat came a day after Millom triumphed by four wickets in a North Lancashire and Cumbria Premier Division clash.

Former Penrith junior footballer Lewis Guy spoke of his delight after scoring the winner for promoted Doncaster Rovers in their opening Coca Cola Championship game of the season.

Striker Guy struck an opportunist effort in the 59th minute of Rovers’ game at Derby County on Saturday which sealed a 1-0 victory for the visitors in front of more than 33,000 spectators at Pride Park.

Rising motor racing star Oliver Turvey received a special award from Cambridge University in recognition of his outstanding efforts in the sport.

Oliver, of Langwathby, graduated from Cambridge University earlier this year with a degree in engineering. Traditionally, those who excel in seven specialist sports while studying there, including members of a boat race-winning team, are awarded a Cambridge Blue blazer. However, those who reach a top level in other sports can be the recipients of an Extraordinary Full Blue, and it is this accolade which was bestowed on 21-year-old Turvey.

Eden has a double national champion following the success of triathlete Stuart Robinson in the British Sprint Distance Championships, held at Strathclyde Country Park, Glasgow.

Stuart, of Appleby, was seventh overall and first in the 45-49 years category, repeating his success earlier this year in the prestigious Mazda British Triathlon Championships, held in Wakefield.

The event in Glasgow was “sprint” distance, which is half standard Olympic triathlon distance, making it a 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run.

Eight-year-old golfer Jake Marshall the only Cumbrian to qualify for the grand final of the national HSBC Wee Wonders golf competition put in a superb performance to finish fifth.

In the final, Jake, who lives at Penruddock, was one of a field of 17 regional final winners battling it out for the honour of becoming national champion and securing a place in the British junior team at the World Junior Golf Championships, to be held at Pinehurst, in the USA, next year.

Wee Wonders is a prestigious junior competition open to golfers up to the age of 12, and this year attracted an initial entry of 4,500.

The first Penrith Triathlon was such a success that it could now become an annual event.

Eden District Council, in conjunction with Arragons Cumbrian Tri Club, organised the event to mark the handover of the Olympic flag from Beijing to London, and it was part of day of sporting celebration at Penrith Leisure Centre.

The triathlon comprised a 400m swim in the leisure centre pool, a 25km cycle loop out of town on open roads, and a 5km run on fields at Ullswater Community College.

Despite the event being organised in only three weeks, a total of 75 people entered. Overall winner was Anthony Labram, of Penrith, in a combined time of one hour, 15 minutes, 30.7 seconds.

Driver William Stobart and Boyzone star Shane Lynch took the honours in the Penrith-based Stobart Rail Pendragon Stages Rally.

Stobart, of Crosby-on-Eden the sponsor of the event and pop singer Lynch started at number one in their Eddie Stobart-backed Ford Focus WRC and led from the outset to finish a comfortable one minute, six seconds ahead of Appleby’s Dougi Hall and co-driver Richard Cleasby, in their Mitsubishi Evo.

SEPTEMBER

Eden-born rugby league star Ewan Dowes reflected on the Challenge Cup final in which his team, Hull FC, went down 28-16 to favourites St. Helens, who claimed their third consecutive victory in the sport’s annual showpiece.

Although it was Dowes’s second appearance in a Challenge Cup final, having helped Hull to victory at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in 2005, this was his first game at Wembley.

Sarah Tunstall, of Kirkby Stephen, helped Great Britain to fourth place in the World Mountain Running Trophy, held in Crans Montana, Switzerland. She finished 24th overall.

Penrith golfer Gary Lockerbie’s first victory as a professional secured him an immediate return to the prestigious European Tour.

Success at the Kazakhstan Open the most lucrative event on the Challenge Tour saw Lockerbie shoot to the top of the rankings, having earned a total of 130,043 euros from 16 events played.

More than half of this 68,800 euros came at Nurtau Golf Club, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where he triumphed with a closing round 70 for a 15 under par total.

He was thus assured of a place on the 2009 European Tour schedule, having lost his playing privileges only last year, which meant he had to return to the Challenge Tour the level below the European Tour.

OCTOBER

Eden youngster Megan Bates was all smiles as she won her race in the Junior Great North Run.

Megan, an 11-year-old Penrith Queen Elizabeth Grammar School student, crossed the finish line first in the 9-11 years event, held at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Having run competitively for two years, Megan has already made notable inroads into the sport.

She finished third at the English club running championships at Sedbergh the week before the Junior Great North Run, and earlier this year won a national event while a year six pupil at Hunter Hall School, Penrith.

Quad racer Mark Watson, from Alston, signed another one-year deal to ride for the Anderson ATV Suzuki GB Team.

Mark won the Sidecar Motocross British Championship in 2007 as passenger, with his brother John driving, and he made the switch to four wheels in late February this year.

He started as a privateer initially, buying his own quad and competing in the British Quad Qualifying Championship in the first week of March. However, he managed to qualify for the British championship despite having spent only half an hour getting used to the Suzuki Ltr-450 quad!

Oliver Turvey’s dreams of becoming British F3 International Series champion ended in heartbreak.

The 21-year-old, from Langwathby, went into the final round at Donington Park with a 12-point lead, but a spin left him facing the wrong way on the grass, and he walked away knowing his championship dreams were over unless Jaime Alguersuari failed to finish the race.

However, his rival made no mistake, taking his third win in a row to become the first Spanish driver to win the British F3 International Series, and at 18 years of age, the youngest ever winner.

Eleven-year-old Joe Davidson, of Long Marton, sank a rare hole-in-one in an event at Appleby Golf Club.

The youngster was playing in a stableford competition at the club, where he is a junior member, when he aced the 154-yard 17th hole.

Nick Ellery, head of PE at Penrith’s Ullswater Community College (UCC), was honoured for his rugby union work in the town over almost two decades.

Nick received a valued volunteer award and tie from RFU chief executive Francis Baron OBE before a roadshow at Penrith RUFC.

NOVEMBER

Jenny Birtle was honoured for her many years of dedication to Penrith Swimming Club by winning the long service accolade in the Swim Northwest Aquaforce Awards scheme.

She picked up the award, along with a glass trophy, at an awards presentation in Leigh, Lancashire, having been up against nominees from the whole of the North West.

She was nominated by Penrith Swimming Club for the prestigious award in recognition of her her commitment to swimming. She is still an active member of the club coaching team today at the age of 81!

Meanwhile, Jenny’s granddaughter Laura Huggon reflected on a superb season, which saw her qualify for the national youth championships in Sheffield, swimming 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle.

In the backstroke event she produced a great personal best time of 1.06.69 and reached the the final.

Although she admitted swimming a poor race in the final, perhaps due to nerves, she said it was a great experience and the best result of her swimming career so far.

Nick Hill, of Clifton Dykes, near Penrith, achieved title success at the British Judo Masters Championships in Walsall.

Taking on the best in Britain, the black belt 2nd dan beat the Scottish champion in the final of the over-55 years, under-66kg category to take a gold medal for the second year running.

He was then asked to make up the numbers in the next weight category, under-73kg. He reached the final when, ahead on points, he suffered a shoulder injury and had to withdraw.

Lauren Rogerson became Penrith Golf Club ladies’ champion for the fifth time. The 20-year-old beat Joan Armstrong in the final.

Young Eden running star Megan Bates gained another feather in her cap with a win at the North West Schools’ biathlon event.

Megan, a student at Penrith Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, clinched victory in the year seven girls’ race at Liverpool which involved a swim and a run.

The 11-year-old was up against 35 other girls from around the region, and after finishing 10th in the swim she then flourished in her favoured running section and was first over the 1,000m course in a fantastic time of 3min 14 sec, 17 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.

In the same event, pupils of Penrith’s Hunter Hall School performed well, returning with several team medals.

Penrith businessman Paul Bird, owner of the PBM team, visited Kawasaki Motors UK on Friday to sign his agreement with the Japanese manufacturer in becoming its official world superbike racing partner.

Bird and Steve Guttridge, Kawasaki’s European race planning manager, discussed the final elements of the complex agreement during a busy schedule, which included a tour of the Kawasaki Motors Europe UK branch facility and a chance to meet office staff.

On signing the last of the contractual paperwork, Bird admitted that the association with Kawasaki was a dream come true.

Young Eden motocross rider Ben Green ended his 65cc career in style as he clinched the WP Elite Youth Cup.

Ben, of Great Salkeld, rounded off a triumphant year as he won the title at the last event of the season on a sand track at Canada Heights, near Swanley in Kent.

Even before his success in the south of England, the Penrith Ullswater Community College student had already lifted the Moggstar ACU BYMX championship and the Cumbria youth prize.

He was also a member of the Cumbria side which won an ACU British team event at Low Gelt, Brampton, last month.

Eden racer James Allinson was at full throttle as he finished second in the Putoline National Hare Scramble Championship.

James (below), a 17-year-old Penrith Queen Elizabeth Grammar School student, first took up riding around four years ago but has been in competitive races for a short time.

His early season promise developed into an unbroken series of five top five places which guaranteed him second place in the highly competitive championship, run by the Dirt-Bike Traxs Club.

Racing driver Oliver Turvey was named Cumbria Sports Personality of the Year in recognition of his outstanding displays on the track during 2008.

The 21-year-old scooped the top prize on an excellent evening for sport in the Eden district after an outstanding 12 months.

The following month he was also named national driver of the year at the Autosport Awards,

Penrith golfer Gary Lockerbie, a former winner of the main award, took the performance of the year prize for his victory at the lucrative Kazakhstan Open on the Challenge Tour which secured him a return to the prestigious European Tour and helped him to finish second in the order of merit.

There was further success as the QEGS first XV rugby side won the junior team of the year accolade for reaching the national Daily Mail Vase final in April at Twickenham.

Penrith AFC Ladies striker Lily Gaulton reached a century of goals for the club in their latest match.

Seventeen-year-old Gaulton scored twice in the team’s 4-2 home victory over Burnley Ladies. The second of these took her to 100 goals in total for Penrith, all having been scored at women’s regional league standard.

DECEMBER

Keswick man Bruce Duncan is in the running to represent the UK in the gruelling Land Rover G4 Challenge.

Bruce, aged 28, battled it out against 60 competitors in extreme activities, such as kayaking, abseiling, mountain biking and off-road driving, to become one of just two men and two women who will go on to represent the UK next year.

Bruce, who is a reservoir engineer based in Aberdeen, is a member of the British mountain bike orienteering team and a multi-sport racer.

Jeannie Darroch gained another medal at the DSE National Open Disability Swimming Championships.

Nineteen-year-old Jeannie a former Appleby Grammar School student won a bronze medal in her classification for the 50m breaststroke and also achieved personal best times in all her events. She swam in the 50m and 100m breaststroke and 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle events.

In some of the races she was competing against medal winners from the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing and world record holders.

Penrith TaeKwon-Do School was overall school winner at the North of England TaeKwon-Do Junior Championships, with several members winning gold, silver and bronze medals.

The latest Penrith Amateur Boxing Club dinner show was hailed a massive success.

At what has become an annual event, held at the Rheged Discovery Centre, three of four Penrith ABC fighters in action were victorious in bouts against competitors from visiting clubs from across the north of England.

Around 230 guests at the black tie dinner watched a total of 10 bouts and helped to raise more than £1,500 for club funds.

At the dinner show, it was a night to remember for 15-year-old Ricky Skelton. He won his 65kg clash against Jack Conlon and was named boxer of the night for his efforts.

Kirkby Stephen athlete Sarah Tunstall led the way as she helped Great Britain to team gold in the under-23 event at the European Cross-Country Championships in Belgium.

Sarah, who is 22, also won a silver medal in the individual event as she produced one of the best displays of her career.

Professional sportsman Jon Fletcher, of Penrith, was also in winning ways as he was crowned national modern pentathlon champion with an overall points victory after the shooting, running, swimming, showjumping and fencing. Earlier this year, Jon won the national biathle championship at an event which comprised two runs and a swim.

Completing a hat-trick of successes, Angela Cragg created a piece of history on the increasingly popular classic motorcycle racing scene as she became the first female to win the British Classic 50 Club Championship. In doing so, Angela, who lives at Silverband, near Knock, was the first woman in more than 30 years to win a national title.

Penrith RUFC under-17 player Will Addison was included in the North’s regional rugby ranks for games which will be used to select the under-18 England squad.

Will, a 16-year-old centre who attends Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Penrith, impressed selectors and came through two North of England trials.

M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson vowed to support rising rally star Kris Hall, of Crackenthorpe, near Appleby, after he impressed in the Fiesta Sporting Trophy International Shootout 2008.

The 19-year-old was selected to represent the UK in the event, and Hall the youngest of 18 competitors from 11 different countries went head-to-head over two days, fighting for a chance to win a 12-month contract working at M-Sport with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team during the 2009 World Rally Championship season.

Tennis coach Gary Payton signed up to play for German Bundesliga team DS Dusseldorf for the 2009 season.

Gary, who is Kirkby Stephen Grammar School Sports College head of community sports, will play up to eight matches for the club from May to July.


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