Chad Sports Review of 2014

Oliver Wilson celebrates winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews Old Course. Picture by Kenny Smith/PA Wire.

Oliver Wilson celebrates winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews Old Course. Picture by Kenny Smith/PA Wire.

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JANUARY

After ending a miserable run of 13 games without a win with victory at Cheltenham in the final game of 2012, Stags chairman John Radford told irate supporters at a questions and answers night that manager Paul Cox was going nowhere.

Chris Walker

Chris Walker

The side did show the shoots of recovery in a January that started with a 0-0 home draw with Burton on New Year’s Day.

A 2-0 home defeat by high-flyers Scunthorpe and a 2-2 home draw with Wycombe may not have caught the eye, but a 1-0 win at Exeter – where skipper/assistant manager Adam Murray played his 500th game – and a 1-1 draw at Portsmouth were impressive.

Cox was desperate to boost his flagging strikeforce and had Emile Sinclair sat waiting to sign before the January deadline passed.

However, the club were rocked by former directors Andrew Saunders and Steve Hymas threatening court action as they sought to reclaim loans of almost £1m they made to the club while in charge.

Boxing show promoted by Body And Soul Gym at Mansfield Civic Centre,  Steve Ward of Team Body And Soul v Arek Drezek

Boxing show promoted by Body And Soul Gym at Mansfield Civic Centre, Steve Ward of Team Body And Soul v Arek Drezek

Radford vowed to defend any court action but, with the worry hanging over him, decided to tie up the purse strings and told a frustrated Cox he couldn’t bring in any players after all.

Kirkby Paralympic swimmer Ollie Hynd was named the Nottinghamshire Disabled Sportsperson of the Year while Sutton skater Meg McFarlane won the Nottinghamshire Junior Disabled Sportsperson of the Year at the ceremony.

Mansfield RUFC put together four wins on the bounce, including a 15-6 success at rivals Newark before the run was halted by defeat against Paviors.

Norwood Park Golf Club captains Sarah Woolley and Mick Heron raised a club record of over £7,000 charity money for the Notts, Lincs, Derbsyhire Air Ambulance and the QMC Cancer Research department.

Farnsfield car racer Jon Mortimer was just pipped to the final podium as the Chapelle Jewellery-sponsored Caterham driver finished fourth in the Avon Tyres Supersport Championship.

There was sad news on the local cricket scene as well-known veteran Ray Elvidge, who had served as secretary at Clipstone, Thoresby and Papplewick & Linby died.

A mini-tornado that ripped a trail of havoc through Sherwood Forest Golf Club on 25th January left it closed for weeks.

FEBRUARY

New Stags boss Adam Murray.

New Stags boss Adam Murray.

The month began well for Stags with a 1-1 draw at Plymouth and then a first home win in 20 miserable weeks as they beat Southend 2-1.

A 3-0 defeat at Oxford was followed by a splendid 1-0 home win over Fleetwood with a Matt Rhead goal.

However, as the club managed to stage the Bury home game at the third attempt amid poor weather, Stags were ripped apart by the Shakers, losing 4-1.

Leicester midfielder Michael Cain arrived on loan but Cox was unable to get a new striker in.

The club’s purse strings tightened even further as chairman John Radford was ordered to reduce his loans to the club from his One Call Insurance company from £100,000 a month to £34,000 a month as Stags were sailing close to breaking the new Financial Fair Play rules.

There was a discussion with rugby union club Rotherham Titans over a possible ground share if they were promoted, but that came to nothing in the end.

Locally, NCEL club Shirebrook Town sprang a shock as they axed manager Kev Gee and assistant Ian Whyte after only three months in charge and appointed the duo of Mark Camm and Danny Bacon.

NPL Rainworth MW made the Notts FA Senior Cup final after a 4-0 semi-final win against 10-men Retford.

Ravenshead badminton star Chris Adcock chalked up a national title double at the English Championships in Milton Keynes, winning the mixed doubles with wife Gabby and men’s doubles with Andrew Ellis.

Sam Hynd, the Kirkby swimmer who had won medals at both the Beijing and London Paralympics, announced his retirement at the age of 22.

Sutton Harriers’ Libby Coleman ran to victory in the U13 girls at the Midland Counties Cross-County Championships at Leamington Spa, and Ashfield Schools U16 girls volleyball team also shone as they made the last eight of the National Championships.

MARCH

Stags picked up some key results in March to ease their worries over immediate relegation back to the Conference.

A 0-0 draw at Dagenham was followed by a 2-1 home win over Newport, secured by an unlikely 90th minute strike by Anthony Howell.

Referee Darren Drysdale, long off the Christmas card lists of Stags fans, again did little to mend his reputation with some poor decisions in a 1-0 home defeat by York.

Stags then picked up a 1-1 draw at relegation rivals Northampton, despite Darryl Westlake being sent off.

A tense home derby with Chesterfield ended 0-0, Ollie Palmer missing a golden late chance to be the hero, then Stags went an did themselves a power of good by winning 4-2 away to Hartlepool, gaining revenge for an early season home hammering.

The month ended with a 1-0 home win over AFC Wimbledon, Adam Murray on target and keeper Alan Marriott chalking up his 200th game for the club.

A run of 10 games unbeaten ended for NCEL Division One Clipstone with a home defeat by Knaresborough.

North Notts Hockey Club were relegated as were Mansfield Giants Basketball Club, where coach Curtis Xavier offered up his resignation.

Chris and Gabby Adcock, of Ravenshead, tasted more international glory with mixed doubles victory in the Swiss Open badminton.

A double-header defeat to Ilkeston saw Mansfield RUFC miss out on league points and also crash out of the Three Counties Cup.

Mansfield Hosiery Mills Cricket Club finally accepted a 50-point penalty for the forthcoming Notts Premier League season after some of the clubs threatened to boycott games.

Mills had been accused of making payments to one of their amateur players, but had then seen their appeal upheld. However, that did not go down well with the other clubs and peace was finally restored as they began the summer with the deficit to overcome – a task in which they ultimately failed.

Sutton’s Kade Hardy won the WKU British Junior Kickboxing 53k title to add to his England and Midlands Area belts.

APRIL

Stags made a surprise late push towards the play-offs after winning a bruiser 1-0 at Morecambe, where Mansfield were branded ‘bully boys’, and 3-0 at home to Rochdale in Stags’ landmark 5,000th competitive match.

However, those grand ambitions melted faster than a chocolate egg over Easter as a late goal by the home side saw Accrington frustrate Stags with a 1-1 draw and then Cheltenham swooped to a 2-0 success at One Call Stadium on Easter Monday.

Torquay arrived desperate for survival points in the final home game and won 3-1, but that didn’t stop them going down.

Then on the last day Junior Daniel’s fierce volley won the game 1-0 at Bristol Rovers to send the Pirates sinking to the Conference and spark a post match riot on the pitch.

Stags’ accounts showed they were a further £1m in debt from two seasons before.

Winger Sam Clucas ended the season in the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Year top 10.

Rainworth MW stuttered their way to safety in the Evo-Stik NPL while fast-rising AFC Mansfield won the Central Midlands League North Division to reach the NCEL in their second full season.

The Wrens also routed Carlton 6-2 in the Notts FA Senior Cup final to add some silverware to their cabinet.

On the track Mansfield’s Birchall brothers made a winning start to their World Sidecar Championship in Spain while Ollerton racer Chris Walker was third in his opening MCE British Superbike outing at Brands Hatch.

Mansfield-based Notts Blackball Pool Federation took six teams to the National County finals where they made five of the six finals and came away with three national titles.

MAY

Chairman John Radford re-iterated his ambition to take Mansfield Town into the Championship at the club’s end of season dinner.

Paul Cox decided on a major clear-out and moved on 11 of his players – Lee Stevenson, Ross Dyer, Ian Deakin, Louis Briscoe, Jake Speight, James Jennings, Keiran Murtagh, Ben Hutchinson, Godfrey Poku, George Pilkington and Paul Black.

Luke Jones returned to the club as the first major summer signing, but injury stopped him playing a game.

Paul Cox dismissed stories linking him to a move to Blackpool with some fans not wanting him to go. That was to change by October!

AFC Mansfield made it a double-winning season with the Central Midlands League Cup, beating Thorne Colliery 2-1.

Mansfield RUFC said goodbye to coaches Steve Shaw and Keith Calladine in the best way possible with a record 19th and sixth successive Nottinghamshire County Cup victory as they beat Paviors 20-18 at Newark.

Kirkby pair Phil Beniston and Anthony Spalding both won British titles in the British Powerlifting, Bench Press and Deadlift Championships, Phil defending his bench press title and winning the deadlift title, both with new British records, Anthony taking the junior British powerlifter title and breaking his own record. Phil was then inducted into the MAI Hall of Fame.

Sherwood Colliery swimmer Imogen Gould brought home two gold medals and senior regional titles in the British Gas Youth Championships as part of the Notts Nova Centurion squad.

And in a meet in Hucknall, Sutton Swimming Club’s Joshua Leeson secured a place in all six Midland Age group Championship events, having never achieved a qualifying time before.

Farnsfield driver Jon Mortimer made it four podiums out of four in the Avon Tyres Caterham Supersport Championship.

And there was a maiden podium at Oulton Park for Mansfield Woodhouse motorcycle racer Taz Taylor in the Motul Motostar 125cc Championship.

There was more glory for Mansfield Harriers’ Mark Johnson who won silver in the British Masters Road Relay Championship at Sutton Park.

Notts Premier League leaders Cuckney lost their 100 per cent record for the new cricket season in defeat by Kimberley Institute. And new Rugby League club Sherwood Wolf Hunt won their first home game at their Mansfield Woodhouse home.

JUNE

Local racers ended up battered and bruised on track.

Ollerton’s Chris Walker crashed in the Superbikes at Oulton Park where he got up to drag his burning bike clear and put it out before the fire marshal could reach him.

Then Mansfield’s Birchall brothers crashed at 120mph at the Isle of Man TT races, Ben badly damaging his right hand.

Steve Perez won a record-equalling fourth Rainworth Skoda Dukeries Rally before the sad announcement came that it had been the 55th and final running of a great local event.

At One Call Stadium, strikers Liam Hearn and Alex Fisher were recruited, but both faced injury heartbreak later on.

Meanwhile, stalwart keeper Alan Marriott was allowed to leave.

At Glapwell, veteran star Neil Grayson joined the Central Midlands League club as assistant manager while NCEL Clipstone brought Chris Millington in as manager.

Clipstone boxer Billy Scott (14) showed his rich promise as he won the National Junior Championship title while another local prospect, Nico Leivars, made the ABA semi-finals.

Cuckney’s cricketers began to open up a gap at the top of the Notts Premier League while Clipstone and Farnsfield turned the Bassetlaw League title into a two-horse race.

Mark Johnson, of Mansfield Harriers, successfully defended his British Masters 5k road race title in Bolton, and Sherwood Colliery’s Elliott Clogg brought home four national swimming titles from the British Gas Regional Age Group Championships.

JULY

Local sports stars headed up to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games with mixed fortunes.

Kirkby swimmer Ollie Hynd completed a full set of medals, with Paralympic, World and European already under his belt, as he won 200m IM gold.

Ravenshead badminton star Chris Adcock won mixed doubles gold with wife Gabby and team silver, Southwell’s Peter Mills beating him to men’s doubles bronze.

Selston swimmer Molly Renshaw also won a bronze medal in the 200m breast.

Mansfield Harrier Stephen Lisgo was just happy to be there after injury and came eighth in the 3,000m steeplechase while, heartbreakingly, Edwinstowe mountain bike racer David Fletcher suffered a nasty warm-up race crash and wasn’t able to get to Glasgow in the end.

It was gloomy news at One Call Stadium where chairman John Radford slashed Paul Cox’s budget by half and Cox said the club would go with just 22 professionals and needed the fans’ backing more than ever for what he felt would be his toughest campaign ever. He wasn’t wrong.

Midfield pair Anthony Howell and Lindon Meikle turned down new deals and bids for Sam Clucas and Ryan Tafazolli were turned down.

Mansfield began pre-season in good form with new boy Liam Hearn showing his eye for goal, destroying Leeds United and Lincoln City almost single-handedly.

Cuckney’s cricketers kissed goodbye to their Notts T20 crown after semi-final defeat by West Indian Cavaliers.

Mansfield-born angler Adam Wakeling won gold with England in the European Feeder Team Championships. And Kirkby shopkeepers Pat and David Arnold glided to gold in the ISU Adult Figure Skating competition in Germany.

Also from Kirkby, Blake Mitchell shaped up nicely to be named Junior U23 Mr Britain in Gateshead while Nuncargate 11-year-old Jenny Bryan stayed on target as she retained her two national archery titles in the National Junior Championships at Lilleshall.

AUGUST

Mansfield Town’s season began in disappointing fashion with two defeats and a serious injury to Liam Hearn, on whom everyone was pinning their hopes to finally replace Matt Green as the club’s goal machine.

A 1-0 opening day defeat at Northampton was followed by a swift Capital Cup exit at Sheffield United in midweek where goal machine Hearn went down holding the other knee to the one that had kept him out the previous season. A serious ligament injury was diagnosed and his season was all but over before it had begun.

Home wins over Oxford United (2-1) and Newport County (1-0) were welcome but unconvincing.

Then followed a lacklustre 2-0 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge where boss Paul Cox was angry that the team had not been allowed to travel overnight and had then been held up in traffic, not the best preparation.

A 2-1 home defeat by table-topping neighbours Burton Albion followed and the month ended in more misery as star winger Sam Clucas agreed to join arch local rivals Chesterfield. Chairman John Radford told angry fans that it was simply good business.

There was brighter news in the pool as local swimmers made the headlines.

After his Commonwealth Games glory, Kirkby’s Ollie Hynd came back from the IPC Championships in Eindhoven with two golds and a silver.

Ollie retained his S8 200m medley title and also went one better than Berlin by adding gold in the S8 400m freestyle. His silver came with the GB team in the 4x100m medley relay.

Sherwood Colliery Swimming Club also celebrated having two national champions after Elliot Clogg (14) and Lily Boseley (12) made waves at the British Gas ASA National Age Group Championships at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge.

Clogg, swimming for the City of Sheffield Elite squad, made all six finals in the events he entered and ended up with gold in the 100m back, silver in the 200m back and bronze in the 100m freestyle.

Lily made three of the six finals and took 100m back gold.

On the cricket fields, the races for the Notts Premier League and Bassetlaw League titles were still neck and neck.

SEPTEMBER

Cuckney’s cricketers regained the Notts Premier League for the second time in three years after dispatching Rolls Royce Leisure. But a last day draw wasn’t enough to prevent Mansfield Hosiery Mills being relegated.

In the Bassetlaw League Farnsfield won the title and promotion, having had Cuckney clinging to their coat-tails for weeks. Edwinstowe won the Division One title.

At the John Fretwell Centre at Sookholme, around 1,200 cricket fans turned out to enjoy Welbeck Colliery’s T20 match with an England Legends side that brought famous faces to the area.

Stags were booed during and after a 2-0 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat at neighbours Notts County with fans growing increasingly critical of manager Paul Cox’s direct style.

But Mansfield’s injury list was growing rapidly and they were down to 15 fit players after a fine 2-1 win at Exeter where Rakish Bingham made an impressive scoring debut.

A 2-1 defeat at Wycombe was followed by a late winner for Alex Fisher in a 1-0 home win against Morecambe.

Ex-Stags boss Keith Curle took over the reins at struggling Carlisle and, despite Stags coasting at 3-0 at half-time, he inspired a great second half fightback that almost saw them take a point, Mansfield holding on at 3-2.

However, the month ended on a low as Stevenage scored twice in the first five minutes as they easily saw off visiting Stags 3-0. Also, former Stags player Paul Aldread died at the age of 67.

It was all change on the managerial front for local clubs.

After 10 games without a win either side of the summer break, Teversal sacked manager Lewis Saxby and installed Scott Simpson.

AFC Mansfield manager Micky Taylor left by mutual consent while Dean Short stepped down at Rainworth MW, Gary Sucharewycz and Ian Robinson taking the reins.

On the track, Mansfield’s Birchall brothers took two wins, a pole position and a lap record in Germany, but it wasn’t enough as the former champions fell short in the World Sidecar Championships again.

However, Ollerton’s Chris Walker turned back the years to make the MCE British Superbike Championship end of year Showdown.

Mansfield’s Trace Collier was in good shape as he won the British National Natural Bodybuilding Federation Midlands Over-50 title. Meanwhile, Jack Kerr bowled them over in Coventry to bring prestigious tenpins title, the Junior Triple Crown, back to Ravenshead.

OCTOBER

The bridesmaid became the bride as Coxmoor’s Ryder Cup golder Oliver Wilson finally won a European title after nine runners-ups.

He saw off a top-class field to win by one stroke at 17 under par to take the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews. That saw him pocket almost £500,000.

Mansfield Town’s misery grew as their injury crisis bit harder.

A poor display in a 1-0 home defeat by Accrington meant Stags had played 13 games and not yet drawn one.

But the rest of the month saw four draws, 1-1 away to Portsmouth where loanee Jamie Sendles-White made a debut in an almost carbon-copy re-run of last season’s game there, 0-0 at home to Cambridge, 0-0 away to Tranmere, and 1-1 away to York, where loanee Danny Car scored and Ritchie Sutton suffered a broken jaw.

In the NCEL Division One, Clipstone’s win over AFC Mansfield made it 10 wins from 10.

Ollerton motorcycle ace Chris Walker finished sixth in the big end of year Superbikes Showdown while Mansfield Woodhouse youngster Taz Taylor celebrated his first win in the Motostar 125cc Championship in Holland.

Mansfield Giants’ Chloe Gaynor was called up by the England U18s in her first season of club basketball. And retired local physician and swimmer Dr Roger Lloyd-Mostyn (73) won the national 1500m freestyle Masters men’s 70-74 category title in a personal best time and added a silver in the 50m butterfly.

Mansfield Harriers won the British Master’s Cross Country Relay Championships in Derby and, in the Midlands Road Relays at Sutton Park, they also took the Masters silver and U17 men’s bronze.

Mansfield Triathlon Club’s Hannah Shooter won gold in the women’s sprint distance at the British Triathlon Championships in Liverpool.

Bolsover’s Jason Rimington was right on cue to take the International Professional Pool Players Association European Open crown in Nottingham.

Former World Cup referee Howard Webb was in town to open the new £250,000 changing rooms at Mansfield Hosiery Mills with not a yellow card in sight.

NOVEMBER

After three seasons of success, under-pressure boss Paul Cox finally decided to walk away from Mansfield Town after a run of nine games without a win.

Stags were poor in a 2-1 home defeat by Southend and outclassed 2-0 at Shrewsbury, where Jamie McGuire didn’t help matters with a needless red card.

A 1-1 home Tuesday night FA Cup draw with Conference South minnows Concord Rangers was the final straw as the boos rang from the stands.

On the Friday tea time the news broke that Cox had gone. That left his assistant Adam Murray in temporary charge and, 24 hours later, he changed the style to give the crowd the football they craved and earned a memorable 1-0 win over Plymouth amid an amazing atmosphere.

A gutsy 1-0 replay win at the spartan Canvey Island surroundings of Concord in the rain four days later saw Stags through to round two before a manic week for Murray ended with a 3-0 defeat at high-flying Luton.

It was announced at their AGM that Stags made a loss of almost £1.2m in their title-winning season of 2012/13, but chairman John Radford said he hoped they could break even this season.

A 5-1 away win at Louth saw ambitious AFC Mansfield make a shock decision to axe managerial duo Dean Short and Dean Mitchell and install popular former Rainworth MW and Scarborough manager Rudy Funk. At Rainworth MW chairman Mark Hawkins stood down.

Robert Swann and co-driver Darren Garrod roared to victory in the Premier Stages Rally at Sherwood Pines for a fourth successive year in their Subaru Impreza.

The world’s oldest active professional boxer, Mansfield’s Steve Ward, once again announced he was hanging up his gloves at the age of 58 after a points defeat by Arek Drezek.

Mansfield-based Nottinghamshire pool players won a host of titles at the EBPF Super Sevens at Rotherham. And Kang Han Taewondo of Mansfield Woodhouse boasted three champions – Danny Brewer, Alfie Walker and Olivia Holmes – from the British Championships in Manchester.

Mansfield Rugby Club provided an outstanding 16 players for the NLD Three Counties girls’ U13s squad.

DECEMBER

After Stags twice threw away the lead to draw 2-2 in the FA Cup at Cambridge, Stags interviewed seven candidates for the manager’s job, but it was no great surprise to see caretaker Adam Murray handed the post full-time.

His coronation at home to Cheltenham drew a larger crowd with a cut-price ticket deal, but the Robins spoiled the party with an 88th minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw.

A deflected goal saw Cambridge win the replay 1-0 at One Call before Stags pulled off a brave 1-0 away win at AFC Wimbledon, despite Rob Taylor being sent off after just 32 minutes.

But that was to be the only win of the three festive period games for Mansfield as they were held 1-1 at home by bottom club Hartlepool United in a game that saw three red cards on Boxing Day, Ryan Tafazolli off for Stags, before a 2-0 defeat at play-off hopefuls Bury 48 hours later.

Only an hour after the final whistle on Boxing Day, the year’s biggest snowfall came down and that put paid to the rest of the weekend’s local football fixtures.

In only their third ever season, AFC Mansfield fought their way into the last 32 of the FA Vase.

Retiring Kirkby powerlifter Phil Beniston signed off in style with three more world titles at the IPL World Championships in Las Vegas, USA, in his final competition.

It brought down the curtain on a glittering powerlifting career after almost 28 years of competing, during which time he has won 24 world titles in three different weight classes, and broken almost 250 British, European and world records, including 59 world records,

In Vegas he won three world titles,the 90kg class Equipped Bench Press title, the Unequipped Bench Press, where he broke a British record,with a personal best lift and narrowly missed a world record attempt, as well as the Unequipped Deadlift title, where he broke three world records, just missing an all-time personal best fourth attempt. Beniston also won a silver medal in the Open Deadlift class, just losing to a lifter who was 30 years younger than him.

Stephen Lisgo was named Mansfield Sportsperson of the Year while the Nottinghamshire Blackball pool players based at Mansfield’s Towers club enjoyed title hauls at both the World Championships in Scotland and Nations Cup in Ireland.

Sherwood Colliery Swimming Club achieved a top three finish in the prestigious Regional B final of the National Arena League.

And Mansfield Kang Han’s Danny Brewer took another crown, this time the Commonwealth Taekwondo Union Championship title in Edinburgh.

At the International Cross Country Championships at Wollaton Park, Nottingham, three locals achieved gold medals with the England team. Mansfield Harriers duo Mark Johnson (M40) and Paul Butcher (M50) both won individual bronze as well, Andy Wetherill completing the trio.