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How to be festive - and keep fit! Our experts on the food and exercise that let you indulge at Christmas ISSUE 08 // DECEMBER 2015

S o u t h L e i c e s t E R s h i r e ’ s S P O R T A N D L EI S U R E M A G A Z I N E

ISSUE 08 // decEMBER 2015

Stick together How Leicester Ladies Hockey Club is thriving

Water babies

Our new regular column on how to get your kids swimming

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Panic buys!

Stuck for a gift? Check out our last minute kitbag

Walks with Will

Sutton Bassett and some blood-pumping slopes

www.theACTIVEmag.com 12

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Buy now & we’ll store ’til Christmas OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Call 01572 332 032

www.rutlandcycling.com *Up to an hour’s free parking, when you spend over £10 in store . Offer excludes Fineshade & Graf ham stores. Untitled-7 1

19/11/2015 12:48

Editor’s Letter ARE YOU A 30-GOAL-A-YEAR HERO FOR YOUR club? Do you rip golf courses to pieces like Tiger in his pomp, or streak away from the competition as though they are running through porridge? Do the shoulders of team-mates visibly sag when you say you’re not available the following week? Do you have a BMI lower than a professional triathlete? No? Then you are probably like the rest of us. Trying to fit in some exercise whenever time allows; not as fit as you would want to be; eating and drinking the wrong things more than often than you should. In fact, you’re the typical Active reader. Ever since we launched the magazine, we’ve battled a bit against the perception that Active is for the sporting heroes in our community. It’s not: it’s for everyone that just wants to look and feel a bit better. So this month, we have some useful tips from local experts on how to get through Christmas without piling on the pounds. Probably like me, you’re going to over-indulge – and why shouldn’t you! – so we’re not advocating some hairshirt approach which involves a Christmas dinner of micro salad and superfoods, but just some small changes that will help. That’s always the focus of Active. It’s about giving you advice and ideas to look better, feel better and live more healthily. And to this end, next month we’re launching an expanded health, wellness and beauty section, because ultimately that’s what our readers are aiming for: improving both body and mind through thinking and being, the ‘Active’ way. So enjoy Christmas, have lots of fun, drink and eat plenty and we’ll get back on the health and fitness regimes in January! Enjoy the issue, Steve Oops. Last month in our gyms feature I thought we’d covered everyone in the area, but I got an email from Emma Silvester pointing out that we’d missed Training Shed in Market Harborough off our list. She wrote: “Training Shed is a super-friendly gym with amazing staff, a great community of people and is a brilliant place to workout. They are so supportive and take a real interest in what your goals are, organise events to do as a team and socials which is great. “There is a completely different approach to exercising with so many options of workouts to do and loads of space and equipment to use. It is honestly one of the best places to workout in the area!” Apologies for missing it off, but I was delighted to hear from Emma. It’s just the sort of thing we want to hear from our readers. So if you do something you’re equally passionate about, please email me. I’d love to hear from you.

Twitter // @theACTIVEmag Facebook // www.facebook.com/theACTIVEmag

Publisher Chris Meadows chris@theactivemag.com Editor Steve Moody steve@theactivemag.com Deputy editor Mary Bremner mary@theactivemag.com Production editor Julian Kirk julian@theactivemag.com Art editor Mark Sommer mark@theactivemag.com Contributors Martin Johnson, William Hetherington, Sandie Hurford, Jeremy Beswick, Julia Dungworth Photographers Nico Morgan, Pip Warters Production assistant Gary Curtis Advertising sales Lisa Withers lisa@theactivemag.com Amy Roberts amy@theactivemag.com Editorial and Advertising Assistant Kate Maxim kate@theactivemag.com Accounts accounts@theactivemag.com Active magazine, The Grey House, 3 Broad Street, Stamford, PE9 1PG. Tel: 01780 480789 A member of the East Midlands Chamber of Trade and Commerce If you have information on a club then get in touch by emailing editor@theactivemag.com. If you would like to stock Active magazine then email distribution@ theactivemag.com. If you would like to discuss advertising possibilities please email advertise@ theactivemag.com Active magazine is published 12 times per year on a monthly basis. ISSN 2059-8513 A Grassroots Publishing Limited company. Company registration number 7994437. VAT number 152717318 Disclaimer

Copyright (c) Grassroots Publishing Limited (GPL) 2015. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, or be stored in any retrieval system, of any nature, without prior permission from GPL. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of GPL or its affiliates. Disclaimer of Liability. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the quality and accuracy of the information contained in this publication at the time of going to press, GPL and its affiliates assume no responsibility as to the accuracy or completeness of and, to the extent permitted by law, shall not be liable for any errors or omissions or any loss, damage or expense incurred by reliance on information or any statement contained in this publication. Advertisers are solely responsible for the content of the advertising material which they submit and for ensuring the material complies with applicable laws. GPL and its affiliates are are not responsible for any error, omission or inaccuracy in any advertisement and will not be liable for any damages arising from any use of products or services or any action or omissions taken in reliance on information or any statement contained in advertising material. Inclusion of any advertisement is not intended to endorse any view expressed, nor products or services offered nor the organisations sponsoring the advertisement.

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Which shows are on and where

16-17 WHAT’S ON

Great days out in and around our area


Another tasty recipe from Riverford Organic


Leicester Racecourse clerk Jimmy Stevenson


Editor Steve Moody updates us on life with chickens


Local rowers prepare for gruelling 3,500-mile event


Details of Leicester University art and education events


The Sunday Times writer on sporting under-achievers

36-37 KIT BAG

Last minute Christmas gift ideas





Focus on Leicester Ladies Hockey Club

38-43 A HEALTHY CHRISTMAS How to keep the indulgences in check



The latest on looking and feeling great


Will Hetherington heads to Sutton Bassett


We try out The Red Lion at Great Bowden


Our focus on the latest achievements from local pupils

60-66 ROUND-UP

How clubs in the area are faring

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In Play

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Tigers off to a flyer New look Leicester got their season off to a strong start in Europe with maximum points in their first two games, while the Premiership campaign continued well with three victories out of four. Fans and pundits alike have been impressed by their new, attacking style of play.

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In Play

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A white Christmas? It’s not oen we get snow in December, although as this picture shows from a few years ago, we do sometimes get a dusting of snow in Leicestershire over the festive period.

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20/11/2015 16:32



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Activelife GREAT THINGS TO DO, PLACES TO SEE, PEOPLE TO MEET // Edited by Mary Bremner


Blow the cobwebs away! What better way to spend a crisp, frosty morning... head out into the fresh air and enjoy the spectacular scenery. Somewhere particularly pretty at this time of year is Brocks Hill Country Park. During the month of December they are hosting many craft days where the whole family can join in and make a willow Christmas wreath or salt dough decorations.  To find out more visit www.brockshill.co.uk

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Activelife EVENTS

It’s panto time!  The Key Theatre in Peterborough is showing Aladdin between December 3 and January 3. www.vivacity-peterborough.com  Follow Dorothy on her adventures in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz showing at The Cresset in Peterborough from December 12. 01733 265705  The Youth Theatre in Market Harborough will be performing The Wizard of Oz at Welland Park Community Theatre from January 23-24 and 28-30. www.wellandpark.leics.sch.uk

 Snow White, starring Benidorm and Loose Women’s Sherrie Hewson, is showing in Leicester at the de Montfort Hall between December 12 and January 4. www.tickets.demontforthall.co.uk  Jack and the Beanstalk is coming to the Lighthouse Theatre in Kettering from December 11 to January 3. It promises to be a great show with all the traditional pantomime tricks. 01536 414141

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Catthorpe festivities Catthorpe Manor is holding a handcraed festive market on Sunday, December 6. Free to enter, it will focus on local cra smen and artisan products. An ideal place to find that Christmas gi which is slightly different.

Scuba taster sessions Lutterworth Sub Aqua Club is an active scuba diving and snorkelling club based at Lutterworth Leisure Centre. They do their early training in the pool and open water training at Stoney Cove. It’s a sociable, friendly club that runs many club trips throughout the year. Their next new trainee course starts in February 2016 so go along to try a dive. They meet on Tuesdays. To find out more email info@lsac.co.uk

Welland Park MP visit


Tae Kwon-Do medal winners Welland Park Academy in Market Harborough had a distinguished visitor last month. Sir Edward Garnier MP visited the school to talk to pupils about the Government’s plans for education and the role of design technology within it.

Five Tae Kwon-Do students trained by Kerry Sergiew and entered into the North Midlands Championships held in Derby have come away with medals. The five, aged from seven to 13, all train at various clubs around Leicestershire.  For more details of the clubs, contact Kerry on 07702 966806.

Johnson opens new sports clinic in Wigston Former England and Leicester Tigers captain, Martin Johnson, has recently opened a new sports clinic in Wigston. Based on Long Street, Function Jigsaw’s new state-of-the-art multi-disciplinary gym and therapy clinic is perfect to rehabilitate and maintain the performance of sports professionals and fitness enthusiasts alike. Managing director of the clinic, Julie Hayton, spent 12 years at Leicester Tigers as head of the medical department before setting up on her own and has years of experience in sports therapy.  To find out more about Julie and her team, or to make an appointment, visit www. functionjigsaw.co.uk or call 0116 430 0255.

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Camera classes These days digital cameras are virtually idiot proof. You point and click and the camera automatically focuses and gives you a pretty good image. But it might not always come out with the image or exposure that you want. This is where Peter Hallam (pictured below), director of Going Digital East of England comes in. Peter runs courses showing you how to get the best out of your digital camera and how to make it do what you want it to rather than use the auto setting. One of his courses is held at Burghley House and concentrates on demystifying the camera and moves on to photographing birds of prey. Or why not learn about flower and landscape photography at Barnsdale Gardens or motorsports at Mallory Park?  To find out more, and about the other courses on offer, contact Peter on 07742 614393 or visit www.goingdigital.co.uk /// D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 5

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WARM BACON SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE, PEARS AND ROSEMARY FRIED POTATOES INGREDIENTS Salt and pepper 400g potatoes 100g watercress 50g walnut pieces 10g rosemary Oil for frying (olive or sunflower) 150g bacon pieces 1 tsp Dijon mustard 1 tbsp honey 1 tsp cider vinegar 2 pears 75g Perl Las blue cheese METHOD Put a pan of salted water on to boil. While the water heats up, wash and peel the potatoes. Cut into small 2-3cm cubes. Wash the watercress well and leave to drain, picking off any large stalks. Pick some of the rosemary needles off the stalk and chop finely enough so you have a good 1 tsp worth. When the pan of water is boiling add the potatoes (1). Cook until just tender, but not too soft, approx 4-5 minutes. Test one by inserting a sharp knife. Once the potatoes are cooked drain them in a colander to dry them out a little. While the potatoes are cooling put the walnuts in a dry frying pan. Heat them gently, stirring now and then, for a couple of minutes,

RECIPE BOXES Riverford recipe boxes are a simple and inspiring way to cook. Every week, we deliver everything you need to make three tasty organic meals. Inside each box, you’ll find the freshest, seasonal organic produce, step-bystep recipe cards and all the ingredients in exact quantities. The recipes are quick to cook and ideal for week nights – most are ready in under 45 minutes. Think well balanced and nutritious,

until lightly toasted. Make sure they don’t burn. Put to one side. Add 1tbsp of oil to the same frying pan. Add the bacon pieces and fry on a reasonably high heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crispy. Put on one side. Put the mustard, honey and cider vinegar in a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk together with 3 tbsp of good olive oil to make a dressing. Quarter the pears removing any stalks. Chop out the core then thinly slice each quarter into four or five thin slices. Put the frying pan back on the heat. Add a splash of oil. Add the drained potatoes and chopped rosemary. Fry for a few minutes turning frequently to lightly colour them. If the pears are hard add them too at this stage so they soften slightly. Add the bacon and walnuts. Gently warm through for about a minute carefully tossing them together. Crumble in half of the blue cheese and season with pepper (2). You will not need salt because of the bacon and cheese. Toss the watercress with the dressing. Arrange the watercress around two bowls or plates. Serve the warm salad in the middle with the rest of the cheese crumbled over. Perfect!



TIP You can use any blue cheese as an alternative to the Perl Las.

with a few treats thrown in. Our cooks come up with nine new recipes every week, so there is always plenty of choice. There are three different varieties of recipe box – choose from vegetarian, quick or original. A box for two people ranges in price from £33 for the vegetarian box, to £39.95 for the quick and original boxes. Delivered straight to your door, with everything you need to cook included, generous portion sizes, and three delicious meals per box they offer great value for money.

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21/11/2015 18:20


A day in the life of


Estate manager and clerk of Leicester Racecourse


was born on the day of the Grand National in 1964 at the exact time the race was on. My granddad was working at Aintree as head groundsman and I ended up working there too. Racing is in my blood. I’ve been in Leicester for 21 years and my family and I live next to the stables. It’s good because then I can always monitor the weather which is vital in this multi-billion pound business. I get calls from owners sitting in places like Rome asking me what the weather’s doing here before they decide to get on a plane. Leicester Racecourse is one of the biggest courses in the country lengthwise and has been here since 1882. It’s a tough track at a mile and three quarters round with a straight seven furlong. We’re also the busiest turf track in Britain with between 70 and 100 horses at each meeting and 32 days of racing throughout the year. The flat season starts at the beginning of April and goes until October and the jump season runs from mid November to March. It’s softer ground in the winter because it’s wet and if it’s frosty we cover the ground with sheets. The owners enter their horses six days before a meeting and 48 hours before the day they have to confirm they’re going to run. The trainers can only cancel if the ground’s changed or the horse is injured. I assess the course and send the details to the British Horse Racing Authority so everyone gets the information. A passion for turf I’m obsessed with grass. You can make it look beautiful if you know what you’re doing and I love nothing better on a race day knowing that we’ve peaked it to look absolutely perfect. The difference in racing to most other sports is that our surface is vital to the trainers – they decide to come or not depending on what we’ve done to the track. We treat our course like a premier football pitch – the healthier the grass, the quicker it recovers and the safer it is. On race day my alarm goes off at 5am. I do a weather check then I walk the course with the foreman. We make a going assessment using walking sticks, which is the historic way of doing it, and we also use a computerised ‘going stick’ which takes about 150 readings of moisture and tension levels. You aim for good to firm ground for flat racing and good ground for jump racing. We have underground irrigation systems to make it softer. We don’t want any jar in the ground to upset the horses’ joints. I’ll get something to eat then go to the weighing room and do the paperwork. I have to 20

‘I was born on the day of the Grand National in 1964... racing is in my blood’ plan all the times for the day and co-ordinate the movement of horses and jockeys out of the changing rooms and stables into the parade ring, and then to the start. The races have to go off as near as possible on time because if there’s a race delayed and it coincides with another one elsewhere we could lose potential betting. I help organise the medical and veterinary team. We have the best medical system of any sport in the world as it’s so dangerous. Top speeds are 40-45mph and jockeys are the only people who go to work with an ambulance following them around! We have a guaranteed response time of one minute if someone falls.

I also help co-ordinate the doping system with the BHA – horses are randomly picked in each race and tested for doping. There are very few positives. And like any sport there are measures in place to test the jockeys. I’ve worked with horses all my life. I think they’re beautiful animals, particularly the flat horses – half a ton of athlete, and the muscle tone is amazing. We’re famed for running a lot of races here for the two-year-olds and if you look at the record books there are lots of horses who win and then go on to become champions. I love mixing with the jockeys but the turf is my favourite. I’m absolutely passionate about it.

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20/11/2015 11:25

Activelife LIFESTYLE

COOPED UP After eight months, Steve Moody looks back over the chicken-keeping experience. Initially sceptical, a ready supply of gorgeous, fresh eggs seems to have converted him


o, at the end of the year, eight months after I was tricked by the rest of the family into keeping chickens, I suppose it’s enough time to draw some conclusions about the experience. They are: The eggs First and foremost, after all the other hassles (of which there are a few) is the fact that the eggs are like none you’ve ever eaten before. Every now and again I have to eat or cook an egg that has not been laid that day, 40 yards away. And it’s a shock. They are insipid, pale, tasteless things; not the fulsome, bright, thick eggs we’ve got used to. This is by far and away the best thing about keeping chickens – and I would thoroughly recommend it. Your egg life will never be the same again, I promise you. Get a good coop and speak to an expert We were lucky enough to be helped out by Carrie at The Clever Coop Company, with advice and expertise and, of course, their

fabulous chicken coops. This makes a massive difference, because the coop is very quick and easy to clean, and keeps the chickens warm and healthy. I think there’s a link between the cosiness and cleanliness of their home and egg production figures. These coops might cost a bit more than a wooden one, but they are worth every penny. Also, Carrie advised us to get hybrids as they tend to lay more. Cute little rare breeds might look prettier, but if they’re laying tiny little eggs and not very often, what’s the point? A chicken is for life, not just for Christmas (or Sunday roast!) There’s quite a bit of responsibility when keeping chickens. They’re pretty stupid at the best of times, so you need to keep an eye out for them getting trapped in random places, or

escaping their run and not being able to get back, and just generally keeping them fed and watered. So if you’re away a lot you need some understanding family members or neighbours. That said, they’re not as hard work as I thought they’d be, they don’t smell anywhere near as much as people claimed they would, and as for the claim they attract vermin – well, I’ve not seen any or evidence of them either. They are certainly less bother to keep than a cat, for example. But keep them out of the flowerbeds, as they can cause carnage. It is worth it. I promise I was very sceptical about becoming a chicken owner. But it is worth it, for the small amount of effort necessary. And if you don’t believe me, pop round for a poached egg...


How to spot... the dunlin Visitors to Eyebrook Reservoir or Rutland Water between October and March may see this starling-sized wader as it potters around, searching for invertebrates. Their non-breeding plumage is an unobtrusive greyish-brown above with white underparts. Dunlin have short black legs and a medium length bill for probing the mud. Because they occur so frequently at our reservoirs birdwatchers use them as a yardstick to compare against other, less common, waders.

They are usually in small flocks of up to 20 birds but much larger counts are sometimes made, with over 200 noted in some winters. The birds are abundant visitors to coastal marshes and estuaries with over 40,000 regularly present

around the Wash. Many winter much further south – a July 2015 bird at Rutland Water had been ringed in Spain in September 2013. Dunlin are northern breeders, nesting on the Arctic tundra. However, small numbers breed in British uplands from Scotland as far south as the Pennines and north Wales. In breeding plumage the Dunlin is a smart bird. The drab winter plumage is replaced by a reddish-brown back, black belly and a white dark-streaked breast. Terry Mitcham

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20/11/2015 17:38

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Rowing the Atlantic An intrepid quartet of Old Uppinghamians are preparing for a gruelling 3,500-mile row across the Atlantic to raise money for two charities. This month we find out a bit more about what they are going to be doing…. Eat, sleep, row, repeat! Basically that is what the four will be doing on their epic 3,500-mile row across the Atlantic Ocean starting in midDecember. They will travel at a pace of a steady to fast walk – if all goes to plan. But they have a lot to contend with. Weather conditions will be unpredictable so they will have to be able to deal with waves of up to 50 feet and hurricane strength winds, as well as a searing heat of 40 degrees. And that’s only the elements. The lads will also have the physical challenge of bruised bodies

and blistered bottoms, aching muscles, fatigue and sleep deprivation. But it’s all in a good cause and they are training hard every day. Jack Mayhew, Joe Barnett, Gus Barton and Angus Collins have been thinking about the practicalities as well and have worked out that they will consume 1,680,000 calories (the equivalent of 7,336 Big Macs) and drink 2,880 litres of water so have to decide where they are going to store everything on such a small boat. They think the crossing will take them 60 days, pulling the oars 1,000,000 times, and they will get

only 240 hours of sleep each. That is not a lot of sleep. The boys will be rowing in two hour shifts, half the team rowing, the other half sleeping, eating and working on maintenance. So it really will be eat, sleep, row, repeat.  The team, known as Ocean Reunion, leave the Canary Islands on December 15 and are raising money for Cystic Fibrosis and Teenage Cancer Trust. Follow them on Facebook and at www.oceanreunion.co.uk which has a link to their Just giving page.  Are you planning a similar epic challenge? Drop an email to mary@theactivemag.com

Five things to do in December  Shop locally for your Christmas presents. Our local towns have some fabulous independent retailers.  Blow the cobwebs away and join the traditional Boxing Day meet. The Fernie Hunt will be meeting in Great Bowden. Or head to Uppingham on New Year’s Day to see the Cottesmore.  Go to a carol service. Singing is good for the soul and cheers everyone up. There are lots of services locally to give everyone a chance to join in.  Take a trip on the Santa Special at Nene Valley Railway. Running until December 24, there’s a present for every child from Santa. Booking is essential www.nvr.org.uk  Don’t forget to order the turkey...

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20/11/2015 15:26

Activelife CULTURE

All are welcome to university’s lecture series Leicester University is a public research university with the main campus based to the south of the city centre next to Victoria Park. It was named University of the Year in 2008 by The Times. Famous for the discovery of genetic fingerprinting in 1984 and for discovering the remains of King Richard III, it is not just an establishment for students. The university holds many lectures and debates that are open to the public covering a diverse range of subjects. All of these lectures are free and open to everyone.  To find out more and to receive information about the lectures visit www.le.ac.uk/news/blog/ events-highlights

Visit the new gallery The university’s new art gallery at the Attenborough Arts Centre holds its inaugural exhibition from November 18 to January 17. Named after Leicester’s famous son, Lord Attenborough, who wished to improve access to the arts for everyone, the new £1.5 million gallery’s first exhibition is Art, Life, Activism that brings together artists who make artwork informed by the politics of disability. Open to everyone with entrance to the gallery being free, the centre and gallery hold many workshops and exhibitions.  To find out more visit www.attenborougharts.com

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County artists on show at city gallery Leicester Society of Artists is hosting its annual exhibition of local artists until January 9. Established in 1882, the Society aims to encourage the appreciation of the arts in Leicestershire and Rutland. The exhibition is showing work from established artists as well as 28 new members elected this year. The gallery is at New Walk in Leicester and is well worth a visit. The picture shown is by Alan Hopwood, titled A Walk in the Park. Alan lives in Theddington in south Leicestershire. /// D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 5

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20/11/2015 15:27

Feature /// Hockey

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Leicester Ladies Hockey Club fields teams featuring international stars, 60-year olds and young girls. Jeremy Beswick visits the thriving club Photography: Andy Smith

WHERE CAN YOU go to watch England internationals play on your doorstep every Saturday, up close and personal? Get involved in a great spectator sport with a team that assures you of a friendly atmosphere and is happy for you to mingle with the players afterwards? And who’d offer all this for just £2 – with a programme, a cup of tea and a pie thrown in? Well, it’s not too good to be true and the answer is Leicester Ladies Hockey Club, an elite team that plays at the highest level and boasts many of the finest players in the country, including four members of our medal-winning Olympic side. I went to visit them at their Leicester Grammar School home on a cold November evening, the floodlit pitches and brightly coloured team strips bringing some much needed jollity to the autumnal gloom, as did the warm welcome I received from vice-president Sarah Treanor in the clubhouse.

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Feature /// Hockey

Clockwise, from far le

Emily Kilner in action for the first team; an array of colourful kit; Holly Payne playing against Holcombe

She’s rightly proud of her club, which was recently granted the freedom of Leicester in recognition of its contribution to the community and sporting excellence. “If you’re in the Midlands and you want to play hockey then it has to be Leicester,” said Sarah. However, it’s not just for the superstars. “We have a massive junior section, with both boys and girls from 6 to 13 years old” she went on, “and every Saturday we field five senior sides.” I soon got the feeling that anyone who wanted to play would be welcome here. Media Officer Elsbeth Woodgate underlined that. “I really like the feeling that we’re a hockey family,” she said, “and the first team are brilliant at inspiring and encouraging everyone else. As a hockey fan, when I first came here I was in awe of some of the big names and didn’t think they’d even acknowledge my presence but they treated me as an equal. It was a quite a thrill for me at the age of 23 – imagine what that’s like for our 13-year olds.” The club has a rich tradition having been founded in 1894 and over the years almost a hundred club members have gained international caps, yet it’s true they somehow manage to be inclusive too. As they say on their website (www.leicesterhc.co.uk): “We welcome all ages and abilities and always try to

‘IF YOU’RE IN THE MIDLANDS AND YOU WANT TO PLAY HOCKEY THEN IT HAS TO BE LEICESTER’ accommodate everyone who would like to pick up a stick”. Gaynor Nash once played for Wales and is now one of the senior players helping in the development of the younger ones. “The fifth team is a mixture of us old hands and youngsters. We must field one of the oldest back lines in history – all four of us are in our sixties – but there are 15 year-olds in the same side as well,” she told me. “We make sure everyone who comes along here gets a warm welcome.” Could you join in if you were new to hockey or hadn’t played since school, I asked? “I’d say if you’re sporty, come along and give it a go. If you’ve got a game sense and a decent level of fitness I think we could turn you into a good

player, and it certainly isn’t a game just for posh girls, as some people think. We’ve millionaires and relative paupers here.” England Hockey is also running a “Back to Hockey” initiative with sessions across the country, which they say are fun, sociable and informal and aimed at people who either haven’t played hockey for a number of years or who are looking to play for the first time. They continue: “Don’t worry if you’re nervous or don’t remember any rules - our Back to Hockey coaches will gently guide you through the fun and friendly sessions. We promise it’s nothing like the school days of muddy pitches and standing around waiting for a touch of the ball!” Leicester’s first team captain Lucy Briscoe is plainly highly committed to the club – she travels from St Albans to play and train here. “I’ve played elsewhere and it just wasn’t the same,” she said. “The girls here are fantastic. Two of them were my bridesmaids. We enjoy our hockey and are as competitive as we can be but we’re also here for each other.” Not having played myself, I asked how she would sum up the challenges of hockey. “It’s bizarre in some ways. You’re controlling a small ball at the end of a long stick, moving fast with it, making decisions constantly and also monitoring your opposition. “It’s quite a lot to ask, but you do get to the

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Feature /// Hockey

point where the stick is just an extension of your arm and it becomes automatic.” Currently the first team is a work in progress, but they’re looking to climb the Premiership table as the season continues. “We’re a young, developing side,” said Lucy. “But when we’re good we are really good. A bit more consistency, to play at that high level for longer in each game and a play-off spot – and qualification for Europe – is still very much possible for us this year.” Lucy introduced me to Natalie Gear who, although she’s played hockey since the age of nine, is relatively new to Leicester having joined two years ago. What did she remember of her early days at the club? “A really friendly and really nice atmosphere. It can be intimidating if a team’s been playing together for a long time but here it’s the opposite of cliquey and there’s a good social side. We have Christmas events, other socials or sometimes just getting together for a DVD night,” which was a theme picked up by Hazel McSweeney who manages the fifth team. “I’d sum us up as friendly and inclusive with really top class coaching. We always try to bring on the youngsters and many who started with us at 6 have come through the ranks to the first team.” I finished my time in the clubhouse speaking to Sarah Treanor once more, who issued a rallying cry to Active’s readership. “We get 50 to a 100 people on Saturdays at 2pm to watch the teams play. Come and join them. Anyone who likes sport played at a fast pace will enjoy it.” As for those who’d like to play: “I think the girls are great role models for anyone’s daughter and I never want there to be a financial reason to stop anyone playing either – we’ve lots of spare kit. There are opportunities to travel too – we regularly play in Barcelona and France.” As I wandered back out past the bright floodlights with the sound of laughter and of stick on ball carrying into the darkness I reflected on how much I’d enjoyed my time with them and how strongly Leicester Ladies are reaching out to their local community. I hope some of you will be inspired to reach back.

Le and below

The club fields numerous teams at many age groups, with players from just six years old

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Guest column

From hero to zero: the great British sport star Martin Johnson on Sam Burgess and other under-achievers ritain has something of a history of people named Burgess defecting, although Sam giving up a brief flirtation with English rugby union to rejoin his rugby league team in Australia is not quite as big a story as Guy giving up his Foreign Office job back in the 1950s and re-appearing in Moscow clutching a briefcase full of MI5 secrets. Burgess – Sam, that is – gave up after only 21 club games with Bath and five caps for England after claiming that he really didn’t enjoy rugby union. And in that respect at least, I understand precisely where’s he coming from. The Aviva Premiership is possibly the most boring competition in British sport, never mind rugby union, revolving as it does around brute force, attrition, blitz defences, re-cycling, aerial kicking, set pieces, tackling – just about everything bar skill and trickery. But whatever his reasons for jumping ship, Burgess joins a long list of British sportsmen and women who have been given the full fanfares and every other component of the big build-up, only to fail to aspire to the superstardom everyone had predicted for them. It’s not just true of British sportsmen and women of course (although we do have a particular propensity for it), but if there is one way to more or less guarantee a glittering career disappearing straight down the plughole it’s to go from being not British to British. And how does this happen? It happens mainly when someone in charge of a particular sport in this country arrives at the not unreasonable conclusion that they’d win things more often if they had better players, and if it so happens that these better players happen not to be British, well, the solution is pretty obvious. You steal them. Except, of course, that the very process of turning yourself into a Brit carries the risk of inheriting the British DNA and going from highly successful to plucky failure. Such as the time a tiny South African girl named Zola Budd, who could barely speak a word outside of her native Afrikaans, suddenly found herself pounding around athletics tracks wearing a GB running vest. Budd, banned from running internationally because of apartheid, didn’t achieve very much in a British vest, apart from tripping up the American favourite Mary Decker in the final of the Olympic 3,000 metres in Los Angeles in 1984. Although if she’d have run as fast as the Foreign Office managed to find her a passport she’d have won more Olympic golds than Steve Redgrave. Another foreigner who became British more or less overnight


because of his sporting prowess was the Canadian tennis player Greg Rudedski. You couldn’t help but warm to Greg, in as much as he at least tried to win over the public by developing an English accent. Sadly, though, he ended up sounding about as English as Maurice Chevalier singing: “Thank ‘evvens, for leetul guls.” Another daring overseas raid secured the services of the prolific Zimbabwean batsman Graeme Hick, whose talents were denied a bigger stage at a time when his own country was not a Test playing nation. Hick was soon scoring mountains of runs for Worcestershire, but when invited to do the same for England, the one major flaw in his armoury was ruthlessly exposed. He couldn’t play fast bowling, which, in an era when the West Indies had about a dozen fast bowlers with a preferred target area somewhere between throat and cranium, was a decided disadvantage. The much heralded new British star turning into the much lampooned one is not entirely down to foreign imports. There are plenty of home grown ‘talents’ who proved to have a lack of exactly that. It was, for example, a drawback to embark upon a career as a professional boxer without having any inclination to either throw a punch, or be on the receiving end of one. However, this didn’t deter a British fighter called Audley Harrison, who, after gloriously winning Olympic gold in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, carved out a pro career in which he was mostly known as Fraudley Harrison. Hoping he would become the new Frank Bruno, he was paid a ludicrous sum of money by the BBC for the right to televise his first 10 pro fights, all of which would follow the same pattern. Audley would spend the build up telling everyone how brilliant he was going to be, and Fraudley would spend the fight demonstrating that if the task at hand involved removing the skin from a rice pudding, the rice pudding would win on a unanimous points decision. Golf has had its fair share of players who were apparently destined for stardom, but who suddenly vanished without trace, and among the Brits on this list are Paul Way, Steve Richardson and Gordon Sherry. But when it comes to players apparently about to take the world by storm, then turning out to be huge disappointments, there is no sport quite like soccer. Fortunately, we Brits are not alone with under-achievement on this front. Every other day there’s a photo in the paper of a manager and his new signing holding up the club shirt, and most of them turn out to be vastly expensive flops. And guess which manager has signed more useless players than anyone in the Premier League’s history? Denilson, Kleberson, Bebe, Veron, Zaha and, so bad they named him twice, Djemba Djemba. You’ve got it. Sir Alex Ferguson.

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Feature /// Gear


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Comfortable endurance geometry combined with Bianchi speed, the new Infinito CV provides the ultimate performance to dominate sportive or long races. Featuring Bianchi’s CounterVail vibration cancelling technology, the Infinito CV glides over rough surfaces with ease - ideal for British roads - without adding weight. Price £3,399.99 From rutlandcycling.com

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Men’s/Women’s Adrenaline GTS 15

The best-selling Adrenaline GTS running shoe is renowned for its dependable support and ample cushioning, making it the reliable choice for runners looking for an unbelievably smooth and balanced ride. Price £115 From leicesterrunningshop.co.uk

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Slip your hands into these gloves on the course this winter and feel instant benefit from the cold, as well as a better grip when standing at the tee and that all important hole. Price £20 From underarmour.co.uk

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Feature /// Healthy Christmas



Personal trainer Gareth Sapstead offers some useful tips for keeping active between the parties and presents

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• Can’t get to the gym? Have 20 minutes to spare? Try this quick and simple bodyweight routine from home: EXERCISE REPETITIONS Repeat for 2-4 rounds A) Any Plank Variation Hold for as long as you can in a correct position. Move to B. B) Bodyweight Forward Lunge As many as you can alternating for 30-45 seconds. Move to C. C) Any Push-Up Variation As many as you can for 30-45 seconds. Move to D. D) Bodyweight Side Lunge As many as you can alternating for 30-45 seconds. Move to E. E) Burpees As many as you can for 30-45 seconds. Rest for 1 minute.

THE CHRISTMAS PERIOD is a time of year where ordinary life and daily routines can completely mess up. Often it’s the happiest time of the year, but with all this festive fun there comes a price; less exercise, more TV, and a load more junk food! And why not?! If there’s any time of year you can let your hair down and take your gym trainers off; it’s the Christmas holiday season. That being said, there are still ways to maintain, and even push to achieve your health and fitness goals during this time of year. You just have to be smart about it, and maximise the time you do have. Here are eight essential tips to help you keep your fitness journey on track during this difficult (and tempting!) time of year: • Every opportunity you get to exercise, make it count – in order to make a positive change to your health, fitness and body shape; it’s essential that you include some form of progression in to your exercise routine, and you push yourself every chance you get. As you might be short on time, and even motivation during the holiday period it’s important that you make the most of every opportunity you have to exercise. Set mini-goals for your sessions, strive to get better, try to break personal bests, whether it’s 15 minutes or one hour you have it’s enough of an opportunity to get better at something. Strive for progress! • Try some resistance-based circuit training for time-saving results – this form of training offers a huge bang for your buck; it can boost your resting metabolism for up to 36 hours, help shape and build muscle, turns you in to a fat burning machine, easy to set-up and can easily be done in less than 30 minutes. Just set-up a circuit of 4-6 resistance exercises and perform them back to back with minimal rest. Once

you’ve completed one circuit rest for 1-2 minutes and then repeat again until you’ve done it 3-5 times. Quick stretch and then go home. Exercise done for the day, and a few more mince pies you’ve burnt off! • Stay active outside of the gym – the Christmas period is often a time of year where a lot of it is spent at home, or around friends and family. And as much as you may want to, sacrificing seeing that Great Aunt you haven’t seen for years to get to the gym probably isn’t going to go down well! Instead, plan your days to be active ones; go for long walks with the family, go and hunt and chop down your own Christmas tree, do some gardening, catch up on jobs around the house. Anything that might get you a little sweaty will help with damage control from all that eating, and much better than sitting on the sofa with a bowl of nuts or tin of sweets in front of you!

• Try something outside of your comfort zone – use this holiday season as an opportunity to do some exercises, routines or a new sport outside of your comfort zone. Routines and weekly training schedules are all over the place, so you might as well try something new, who knows you might find a new favourite love. If you’re a gym bunny, try getting outside and going for a run. If you’re a runner then try training like a powerlifter for a month. Organise a little 5-a-side football match with your friends. You get the picture; just push your comfort zone out a little. • Perform bodyweight exercises and stretches throughout the day, any time you have two minutes spare. The above routine will give you some ideas, but you can’t go too wrong here with exercise choice. By making sure you’re moving constantly through the day you’re ensuring that your metabolism is staying alight; it’s a bit like throwing some extra coal on to your Christmas fire, you’ve got to keep that fire and that metabolism stoked up and burning! • Find yourself a personal trainer – a good personal trainer will assess your body type, your movement, strength and weaknesses, factor in your time constraints and daily habits, and structure a programme base around your individual needs. A personal trainer is accountable for your results, so at least if you’re not achieving any over the holiday season you’ll have someone you can blame!! • Use the 90% food rule – make healthy food choices 90% of the time. It’s unrealistic to be 100% compliant to a healthy diet throughout this time of year, but with 90% you can still expect great results, and still feel healthy. This allows you 10% of your week to indulge in whatever you desires and to enjoy yourself without guild. At the start of January you’ll be in a good place to start your New Year fitness plan. New Year with a brand new healthy and happy you!

GARETH SAPSTEAD MSC CSCS Gareth is one of the leading personal trainers in the UK. Based in Market Harborough, he’s a fitness writer, author, healthy recipe conjurer and award-winning blogger at thefitnessmaverick.com. For personal training enquires contact Gareth at: www.thefitnessmaverick.com/contact Mobile: 07825 640837

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Feature /// Healthy Christmas

12 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY AND INDULGENT CHRISTMAS Nutritionist Helen Cole with some clever tips for healthier, but still fun, festive eating

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most of which are loaded with trans fats (found in foods fried in hydrogenated oils). Add healthier options to the usual mix such as homemade avocado dip or homemade smoked mackerel pate, to boost essential fatty acid intake (which lowers cholesterol). Serve both with vegetable crudités to load up on your five-a-day. • Healthy fats for your roasties. While we’re looking at fats and as tempting as it is, avoid using animal fats for your roast potatoes and opt instead for a plant oil, such as rapeseed oil. Animal fats are saturated (i.e. they are solid at room temperature) and increase the risk of heart disease, whereas plant oils are rich in monounsaturated fats, which lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and some cancers. • Boost your immune system. Add sweet potatoes to your tray of roast potatoes. They are packed with vitamin D, which is really hard to get enough of at this time of year and is critical for our immunity and overall health. They are also a good source of magnesium, the relaxation and anti-stress mineral which, if you are hosting Christmas, you may need plenty of! • Love your sprouts steamed. Brussels sprouts are exceptionally rich in protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants but if you boil them, you are destroying most of these wonderful nutrients. Opt for lightly steaming them instead to lock in the goodness. You could even try shredding them and gently steam-frying them in a deep frying pan with lid. Just add a little water to prevent them from catching.

WE ALL LIKE TO INDULGE a little and the festive period is when we do so in abundance. Most of us eat more, drink more and exercise less – it’s just the way it is. We start to feel sluggish and a little jaded, which bizarrely just makes us do it more. That’s all well and good, but how about making just a few small changes to your usual eating and drinking habits without feeling you’ve sacrificed anything. Here are a few tips on how you can enjoy a healthier yet indulgent Christmas. You’ll feel so much better and ready to embrace the New Year with a spring in your step. • Start the day fresh. What we eat first thing can influence our choices for the day. If you eat high fat and high sugar foods, or skip breakfast, you’re more likely to eat high fat, high sugar

foods throughout the day. Eat at least 1 portion of fresh fruit before you have anything else. You may find you’ll then only want 1 slice of toast or a smaller bowl of cereal. • The morning after. Before you head for the bacon, make a ‘berry-fast smoothie’ (recipe on the next page). You’ll feel energised and revitalised and you’ll get an instant hit of vitamins and antioxidants. If you still require carbohydrate, have 1 slice of granary toast with a teaspoon of peanut butter. This has been tried and tested by family and friends after a heavy night and they are always amazed at how good they feel afterwards. • Add in a few healthy nibbles. Drinks and canapés are everywhere over the festive period,

• Recycle your cooking water. Even though steaming helps to lock in most of the nutrients present in your vegetables, some is still lost. Steam all of the vegetables you would normally boil, using the same water each time (you may need to top it up as it reduces down). Use this in your gravy as you would normally – by the time you’ve steamed all your vegetables you’ll have a good amount of nutrients left in the water. • Add chopped chestnuts to your stuffing. Unlike other nuts, chestnuts are relatively low in calories as they carry less fat and are chiefly made of starch, making them nutritionally more comparable to sweet potatoes. They are incredibly rich in vitamin C, fibre, folates, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and potassium. I could go on but in a nutshell (pardon the pun), they are incredibly good for you.

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Feature /// Healthy Christmas

• A lighter option for a quick dessert. Make or buy a batch of individual meringue nests and top with 0% fat greek yogurt and berries. Meringues keep in an airtight container for a few weeks, so you can make this dessert when required. You also won’t have a fridge full of half eaten puddings (those you always have to eat when you open the fridge door). Lighter in calories, and refreshing you’ll top up your 5-a-day without even realising it. • Eating at the right time. I use these timings every year as it fits in with wishing everyone in my local pub a Happy Christmas. Have your usual breakfast (to include fresh fruit) and at lunchtime – early afternoon, serve canapés. Make these serve as your starter too and go straight in to your healthier Christmas main course at 4-5pm. Finish with your desserts and you won’t need to hit turkey sandwiches and mince pies later. • Turkey leftovers. Turkey is a great source of protein and, with the skin removed, pretty low in fat. However, if you’re making sandwiches avoid loading with butter, mayonnaise and leftover stuffing and bread sauce. Use instead, some of the avocado dip, add salad leaves and tomato and choose wholemeal / granary bread where possible. If you make turkey soup – ensure you skim off any fat from the stock you’ve made and add your leftover vegetables for extra nutrients. • Alcohol – understand your measures and make the right choices. Choosing your alcohol carefully can dramatically alter the effects it has

on your health. Beer and wine are pretty high in calories and sugar, so try swapping the occasional pint of beer or large glass of wine for a single measure of a spirit with a low calorie mixer, such as a gin and slimline tonic, or have a small measure of white wine topped up with soda water. My Christmas store cupboard essentials: 1. Frozen berries – either buy already frozen or fresh and freeze at home. Use for smoothies and defrost for desserts 2. Porridge oats 3. 0% fat greek yogurt (not Greek style) 4. Dried fruits and nuts (to sprinkle on breakfast cereals or eat as a snack) 5. Avocados 6. Selection of vegetables for crudités or a quick snack 7. Ground cinnamon and ginger (these can really liven up porridge, smoothies or desserts) 8. Meringue nests 9. Chestnuts 10. Slim line mixers Berry-fast smoothie recipe Per serving: 1 handful of frozen berries (such as raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries) 1 ripe banana 1 dessert spoon of 0% fat greek yogurt 1 dessert spoon of porridge oats ¼ - ½ pint skimmed milk Simply place all ingredients in to a blender and blitz for 30 seconds or until smooth. Drink immediately. Fewer calories, less alcohol and helps you to remain hydrated.

HELEN COLE At Cole Nutrition we develop a lot of our own recipes, which we share with our clients. We offer a full dietary analysis to identify the requirements for each individual. Together, we look at current eating and lifestyle patterns or habits and identify possible changes in realistic and achievable terms. Whatever your lifestyle, we will endeavour to find the perfect balance for a happy, healthy you. If you would like to book a consultation or find out more about what Cole Nutrition can offer, contact Helen Cole on 07966 050 193, email colenutritionh@gmail. com or visit the website at www.colenutrition.co.uk.

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Get three hours of your day back IS TOO MUCH time commuting making you tired, stressed, depressed and unfit? Perhaps it is time to get your life back. Commuting to and from work can have negative effects on your health, research has found. According to the Office for National Statistics, journeys lasting between 60-90 minutes have the most negative effect on a person’s well-being, and the average commuter loses a year and three months of their life – a whopping 10,634 hours. Professor Jenny Roberts, from the University of Sheffield, has researched how well-being is affected by changes in commuting times by tracking 7,000 men and 7,000 women over 13 years. She discovered that women were more adversely affected by commuting. “The only reason we could come up with was trip-chaining,” Prof Roberts explains. “Women tend to make more interim stops on their journey, via the nursery or the school or the shops, so they have less flexibility and do more multiple activities. This adds stress to commuting.” Commuting affects well-being because of the link between stress and mental health, which is well established. The stress is caused by a lack of control during commuting, caused by delayed trains, traffic jams and unpredictable weather, for example. Research also shows that boredom and social isolation among commuters can lead to unhappiness. There is also a hefty financial cost. A basic annual season ticket on the Peterborough to London train costs in excess of £6,000, excluding underground travel – a staggering 23% of the UK’s average salary. Leading financial services organisation, BGL Group, headquartered in Peterborough’s Orton Southgate, is experiencing an increase in the number of people who are trading in the daily commute to cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and London, for careers much closer to home, in an effort to achieve a better work/life balance. This meaning that commuters no longer need to spend up to three hours of their day travelling to work as there are a host of great careers far closer to home. Caroline Raines from Bourne joined BGL two years ago as senior PR manager, having previously worked in Manchester. She spoke about the improvements in her home life since joining the group: “I can walk my dog every morning, and with flexible working now firmly part of the culture, I can even take my girls to school now and again, which makes a huge difference to them and to me. All of this without compromising my career development. I’m really not sure why I didn’t do it sooner.” Corporate affairs manager Andy Gray commuted to London for a year before joining BGL. He said: “The change in my work/life balance since joining BGL has been dramatic! I’ve got the best part of three hours of my day back, and feel much more energised and happy as a result.”

Top five things to do with your new-found time: Join a gym: You can improve your health and wellbeing by working out before or aer work. Spend more time with your loved ones: See more of your family and friends. Eat healthier: Ditch the junk food on the go lifestyle and replace it with a home cooked, healthier option.

Boost your social life: Use your evening to go to the cinema, have a stroll around the local park or join your local sports team. Learn something new: Make the most of your new found free time to improve yourself. Try things like yoga, playing the guitar or taking a cooking class.

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// Edited by Sandie Hurford

Take a leaf out of Puss’s book – don’t let Christmas stress you out

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN: Reduce your Chistmas stress Christmas is typically one of the most stressful events of the year. The expense of buying gis, the pressure of last-minute shopping and the heightened expectations of family togetherness can all combine to undermine our best intentions. Some practical suggestions can help you reduce your ‘Christmas stress’. BUDGETING FOR CHRISTMAS For many of us, the Christmas aermath includes massive credit card bills that can take months to clear. Christmas doesn’t have to be a financial headache if you plan ahead. Stress reduction strategies include: ■ Work out a rough budget of expected Christmas costs as early as possible. This includes ‘hidden’

expenses such as food bills and overseas telephone charges. ■ Calculate how much disposable income you have between now and Christmas. A certain percentage of this can be dedicated each week (or fortnight or month) to covering your expected Christmas costs. Don’t be discouraged if the amount seems small. If you save £5, £10, or £20 per week over a year, it can provide you with a hey nest egg. ■ If your nest egg isn’t enough to cover your estimated expenses, consider recalculating your Christmas budget to a more realistic amount. ■ If you have trouble keeping your hands off your Christmas nest egg, consider opening a ‘Christmas Club’ account.

PRESENTS If you have a large circle of extended family or friends to buy gis for, it can be very costly. You might be able to reduce the stress and cost of Christmas for everyone if you suggest a change in the way your family and friends give presents. For example, you could suggest that your group: ■ Buy presents only for the children. ■ Have a ‘Secret Santa’, where everyone draws a name out of a hat and buys a present only for that person. ■ Set a limit on the cost of presents for each person. CHRISTMAS SHOPPING According to a recent study, around 60% of people

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Active Fit

dislike Christmas shopping, just 20% plan their shopping expeditions, and the majority of us (nearly 75%) oen come home without a single purchase for our efforts. Stress reduction strategies for successful Christmas shopping include: ■ Make a list of all the gis you wish to buy before you go shopping. If you wait for inspiration to strike, you could be wandering aimlessly around the shopping centre for hours. Get to know the interests of family and friends to help you when choosing gis (remember money is also a great gi as it allows people to choose what they want). ■ Cross people off the list as you buy to avoid duplication. ■ Buy a few extras, such as chocolates, just in case you forget somebody or you have unexpected guests bearing gis. ■ If possible, do your Christmas shopping early – in the first week of December or even in November. Some well-organised people do their Christmas shopping gradually over the course of the year, starting with the post-Christmas sales. ■ Buy your gis by mail catalogue or over the Internet. Some companies will also gi-wrap and post your presents for a small additional fee. THE CHRISTMAS MEAL Preparing a meal for family and friends can be enjoyable but tiring and stressful at the same time. Some tips to reduce the stress of Christmas cooking include: ■ If you are cooking lunch at home, delegate tasks. You don’t need to do everything yourself. ■ Consider keeping it simple – for instance, you could always arrange for a ‘buffet’ lunch, where everybody brings a plateful. ■ Make a list of food and ingredients needed. Buy as many non-perishable food items as you can in advance – supermarkets on Christmas Eve are generally extremely busy. ■ Write a Christmas Day timetable. For example, 11.30am – put turkey in the oven. ■ You may need to order particular food items (such as turkeys) from your supermarket by a certain date. Check to avoid disappointment. ■ Consider doing your food shopping online and having your groceries delivered to your door. ■ Book well in advance if you plan to have lunch at a restaurant. Some restaurants may be fully booked for months before Christmas, so don’t wait till the last minute.

THINGS TO REMEMBER: • Save a percentage of your disposable

income throughout the year to provide a nest egg for Christmas expenses.

• Make a list of all the gis and food you wish to buy and shop early.

• Don’t expect miracles – if you and

certain family members bicker all year long, you can be sure there’ll be tension at Christmas gatherings.

can’t (or don’t want to) step off the social merry-go-round, at least try to eat and drink in moderation. ■ Get enough sleep – plan for as many early nights as you can. ■ Keep moving – keeping up your regular exercise routine can give you the fitness and stamina to make it through the demands of the festive season. ■ People under stress tend to ‘self-medicate’ with alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs. Try to remember that drugs can’t solve problems or alleviate stress in the long term.

■ Family members involved in aer-lunch activities (such as cricket on the back lawn) are less likely to get into arguments. Plan for something to do as a group aer lunch if necessary.

When things get too much...

THE LITTLE EXTRAS Other ways to reduce stress include: ■ Write up a Christmas card list and keep it in a safe place so that you can refer to it (and add or delete names) year aer year. ■ Write your Christmas cards in early December. Book a date in your diary so you don’t forget. ■ Christmas cards with ‘Card only’ marked on the envelope can be posted at a reduced rate during November and December. ■ Overseas mail at Christmas time takes longer to arrive. Arrange to send cards or presents in the first half of December to avoid disappointments (and long queues at the post office). ■ For great savings, buy Christmas necessities (such as cards, wrapping paper, ribbons and decorations) at post-Christmas sales.

The extra financial burden, dealing with relatives, an overload of people, alcohol, food, and over-excited children can all contribute to increasing levels of stress and anxiety. Stress can cause everything from lost libido and depression to a heart attack and is one of the biggest health problems facing people today. As an antidote to pre-Christmas stress, hypnosis has been shown to be an effective and powerful tool in aiding relaxation and combating stress, and with the Relaxation and Stress Management CD/MP3, it takes just half an hour in the privacy of your own home to feel refreshed, calm and in control. The CD’s narration is based on the Maggie Howell method of hypnosis and includes positive suggestions to manage stress on a daily basis. By listening for half an hour each day, you may benefit from better sleep and feel more confident and in control of your life. The Relaxation and Stress Management CD RRP £11.99/MP3 RRP £10 is available from www. natalhypnotherapy.co.uk , www.amazon.co.uk and itunes

GENERAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING Some other ways to keep your stress levels down include: ■ Try to be moderate – it may be the season to be jolly, but too much food and alcohol is harmful. Drink driving is a real danger and is illegal. If you

While it’s chilly on the outside, stay chilled on the inside

RELATIONSHIPS Stress, anxiety, and depression are common during the festive season. If nothing else, reassure yourself that these feelings are normal. Stress reduction strategies include: ■ Don’t expect miracles. If you and certain family members bicker all year long, you can be sure there’ll be tension at Christmas gatherings. ■ Avoid known triggers. For example, if politics is a touchy subject in your family, don’t talk about it. If someone brings up the topic, use distraction and quickly move on to something else to talk about. ■ Use relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or focusing on your breath to cope with anxiety or tension.

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// Active Fit

Kidology Function Jigsaw’s Max Hartman on how kids develop at sport and how they should learn and train WITH SO MUCH opportunity for participation in schools and local clubs, summer seasons and winter seasons, what should your children be doing to ensure that they grow into the best athlete they can be? At Function Jigsaw we are proud of the fact that we have a history of successfully managing the treatment and injury rehabilitation of a number of young athletes participating in sports at a high level. One thing that we often see cropping up is that the plan for their physical development is often far from optimal and in some cases is a significant barrier to achieving their highest levels of performance. The age-old adage that weightlifting stunts the growth of young athletes is again something that comes up time and time again. Parents wanting the best for their children often push to play more sports, train more times a week, or play harder for longer.

The Long Term Athlete Development model

The Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model was proposed by the Canadian National coaching Institute in 2004 and proposed that the development of young athletes was dependant on certain ‘windows of opportunity’ as they grow up, suggesting that depending on their age children would respond differently to being trained for speed, agility, strength etc. As this model has evolved, our understanding of the principles has altered dramatically. One recurring theme across many of the studies on training young athletes is that training must be matched to the age of the individual. While age is most easily measured in terms of years of age (chronological age), the most effective way to train young athletes is in relation to their proximity to peak height velocity (PHV), which is the period during which the child has their largest and fastest

growth spurt, usually around the age of 14 in boys and slightly earlier in girls. Before this physical maturation, most physical development through training is brought about by improvements in movement skills and the development of the nervous system.

Improving movement, not strength and endurance

So what does this mean for mum and dad taking their son to the local football club? If your 10-year-old’s coach has the team doing endless pushups, sit-ups, and shuttle runs to try and get them fit, stop them right there! At this age, before physical maturation has occurred, training for speed and agility, improved coordination, and movement quality will all yield the best results and the greatest reduction in injury risk. As children go through this period of development, from the age of 5 – 13, most of their characteristics for acceleration

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// Active Fit

and maximal speed begin to develop, and so training should focus on short duration, high intensity efforts that teach and train your child to move fast and change direction quickly. Furthermore, including heavy strength training or cardiovascular work at this age will often prove ineffective, as children do not possess the hormonal maturity to respond well to weightlifting or endurance training. Instead, focus should be placed on complex fundamental movements that teach the youngster to control their own body effectively and move in efficient ways. Going back to our ‘biological age’ idea, pre-peak height velocity we should be aiming to improve the quality of movement such as squats and lunges, jumping and landing, running, rolling, pushing and pulling, before we can even begin to consider making the child ‘strong’ in the muscle groups involved in these movements.

Picking a sport

So, what does this mean for picking a sport for your child to participate in? Which sports are the best? Then answer to this is really that no one sport is king in developing athletes, and that sport for children should be about giving the individual as much opportunity to practice these movements in as many situations as possible to develop the movement as fully as possible. With that considered, playing different sports, playing in different positions, and taking different roles in different games is essential

when providing young athletes with opportunities to develop. It should come as no surprise then, that sports such as gymnastics yield fantastic physical development from an early age. Being able to run and jump, tumble over boxes, flip into foam pits, and try complex movements, all performed in a safe environment allows children to explore their own movement and develop these characteristics to a great level. Other sports such as rugby, football, cricket, and other field sports all offer similar opportunities, and are often utilised best when children do not specialise early, move from position to position to develop as many physical characteristics as possible up to the age where they develop physically and mature.

Physical maturity

Upon physical maturation, we actually often see a significant decrease in the physical abilities and co-ordination of athletes as they begin to adjust to a bigger, taller, heavier, and more cumbersome body.

The brain is essentially playing catch-up for 6-18 months after a child has their biggest growth spurt. With this considered, all of the training mentioned already should be continued to ensure that this coordination is retrained as fully as possible and movement quality is maintained. On top of this, after PHV has occurred, usually around the age of 14-15, we can start to consider training children for strength and endurance as their body is more readily equipped to adapt to the stress of training. This means introducing work with heavier weights, more endurance and fitness training, and the possible introduction of ‘specialist’ positional training. It should still be said that up until the age of 18-20, the participation in multiple sports is still encouraged and can continue to be of great benefit to an athlete. Several high profile cases have been documented recently in the media of elite level sporting institutions encouraging multiple sports for their young athletes. Barcelona FC were recently applauded for providing basketball coaching to their young academy scholars with the aim of developing better spatial awareness, jump and land mechanics, and challenge their movement under different constraints. It is also of particular interest that the USA women’s soccer team that won the world cup last year played no fewer than 14 sports between them up to college age, showing that pursuing multiple athletic endeavours to a later age can help you to perform at a higher level once late specialisation into one sport or position has occurred.

So in conclusion, play everything…

So, to answer our question, what should children be doing exactly? In my mind, under no circumstances is physical activity damaging to a child when it is correctly coached and delivered in appropriate volume. Encourage good quality movement from an early age and challenge your child physically whenever possible. If your child is very good at football then by all means encourage the pursuit of a high standard of football, but think of other sports that will benefit footballing performance in the long run: basketball, athletics, gymnastics to name just a few. Aim for long term athletic development and prowess, and avoid the temptation to pursue one sport at an early age. One national championship at under 15s level is a memory to look back on fondly, but does not necessarily guarantee or underpin long term sporting success. Being first and foremost an athlete is a much more important quality to instil than being a school phenomenon! Move well, move often, and enjoy your time spent being active, success is sure to follow.


For further information regarding any of the content covered in this article, please contact Function Jigsaw on 0116 340 0255, @FunctionJigsaw info@FunctionJigsaw.co.uk

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Feature /// Great walks

Sutton Bassett A classic loop around the village which offers some great views across the county, as Will Hetherington discovers Photography: Will Hetherington

Difficulty rating (out of five)


This sleepy linear village lines the B664 as it snakes its way through the hills and valleys between Market Harborough, Medbourne and Uppingham. With the number of steep looking slopes around you would be foolish to think a walk here would not get the blood pumping at some point. I parked up in front of the sadly redundant Queen’s Head pub in the middle of the village and started off on the path which runs west straight out into the fields from here. It’s always a bit depressing to see a closed pub but don’t worry there are some options elsewhere in the area when you have finished your stroll. Despite the surrounding hills this first stretch

is actually a very gentle shallow descent across a couple of fields towards the River Welland. The second field had some very interested looking cattle in it when I was there so that might be worth noting. As soon as you leave the cattle field the path jags back on itself to the left but you can probably encourage the dog to find its way down to the river here if needs be before changing tack and heading south east. An easy path takes you across three more fields before very briefly joining the B664 to the south of Sutton Bassett. When you get to the junction with the Dingley Road carry on heading east and up the Lodge Farm drive. This tree lined road soon brings you up to the farm where you need to keep moving east through the yard out the back and past some industrial units. Once clear of the yard the hill starts properly with the hedge on your right hand side. This is a bridleway so could be tricky after a lot of rain. Otherwise it’s a case of keep plodding uphill

safe in the knowledge the views will be worth it when you get to the top. And they certainly are, which is probably why this is the point where five footpaths converge and you can contemplate walking towards Brampton Ash, Stoke Albany, Ashley on two separate paths or back towards Sutton Bassett. I chose the latter which involves a right turn at the crossroads and keeping the hedge tight to your left for a couple of fields, while soaking up the views towards Weston-by-Welland and Medbourne in the far distance. After a couple of field boundaries you come to a path downhill to the left and back to the village. It’s just a shame the pub isn’t open. But the Nevill Arms at Medbourne or the Fox at Hallaton are both excellent and not too far so all is not lost. Clockwise, from above

Enjoy extensive views across south Leicestershire; the early part of this walk takes place in the flat plain of the Welland Valley; Sutton Bassett is a sleepy village between Market Harborough and Medbourne; at this high point on the walk five footpaths meet

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nd forms the The River Wella ry between county bounda and Leicestershire hire. Northamptons

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION Where to park In front of the now defunct Queen’s Head on the main road in the middle of the village. Distance and time Three and a quarter miles/one hour and a quarter. Highlights A good climb always brings decent views and it certainly does here. It will also bring you to the point where five footpaths converge at 137 metres above sea level. Lowlights The pub is now closed. Refreshments Nothing in Sutton Bassett but the Nevill Arms in Medbourne or the Fox at Hallaton are both good options. Difficulty rating Three paws. Very easy going most of the way around apart from the one steep hill! The pooch perspective There were cattle in one field down by the Welland and they were interested when we passed through. And apart from this brief flirtation with the Welland you won’t see any other fresh water for cooling down a hot dog.

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Opening Times Mon - Fri 7.30am – 9.30pm Sat 7.30am – 8.30pm Sun 8.30am – 7.30pm

Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG33 5EJS T: 01529 531291 E: leisureclub@stokerochfordhall.co.uk


OPENING TIMES Open seven days a week 12 noon – 11pm Food is served from Tues – Sat 12-2.30pm & 6.30-9.30pm Sunday 12-4pm

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The Red Lion is a friendly dynamic free house that prides itself on offering something a bit different and, we think, rather special.

Our team of chefs pride themselves in freshly prepared, locally sourced seasonal food delivered with warm friendly service. All of our bread, ice cream and desserts are homemade and we are constantly striving for

new and exciting dishes whilst ensuring that we never forget the Red Lion Classics that are so popular with our customers.

Put simply, we want to serve you exceptional quality food, drinks and service in beautiful surroundings.

With specially selected beers, wines and champagne, The Red Lion is the perfect venue for a quick drink or a great night out.

Call us on 01858 463571 Email theredliongb@gmail.com

17/07/2015 10:17

THE RED LION I 5 Main Street, Great Bowden, Leicestershire, LE16 7HB I www.redlion-greatbowden.co.uk

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Feature /// Sportsman's Dinner

The Red Lion, Great Bowden Kate and Tim visit a thriving village pub offering a varied menu Kate We came in here years ago for a drink, but it’s completely changed now. I love the décor – it feels really clean and airy with some bright flashes of colour. And the staff look smart in their black and red t-shirts. Let’s hope they’re as professional as they look… Tim They’ve got their work cut out tonight – probably because it’s Thursday which means ladies tapas night. For £19.95 you can choose a selection of tapas and a glass of prosecco, although apparently men can try it as well. Quite right too. They also have roast chicken Tuesdays and a grill night on Wednesdays. Theme nights are obviously very popular. Kate The pub seems to be very popular and I think a lot of that is down to the landlord and director Kieran. He’s worked in the hospitality trade since he was 16 and has always wanted a pub of his own. He particularly wanted to create a place where women would feel comfortable coming in alone to meet friends. And he certainly seems to have succeeded. There’s a really warm atmosphere. And plenty of family groups of all ages too. I like that. Tim Well I’d like to eat and I’ve already decided to revisit the past with the shellfish and

crustacean cocktail as a starter (£6.95) – that’s crab, crayfish and prawn cocktail in a Marie Rose sauce to you. Kate I’ll share it if you don’t mind. It’s not exactly what I expected as it’s not in a glass or horribly sweet like the classic seventies dish. This is delicious. It’s a pate-style consistency with some fat, juicy prawns to contend with. Tim I’m going for Thai style chicken salad (£10.95). Instead of my usual choice of red meat this is really fresh and light. Kate You could have chosen the five-piece mixed grill from the specials board although I think a selection of steaks, gammon, lamb and pork chops and grilled beef bone marrow would finish you off. Kieran sources his meat from Joseph Morris in South Kilworth. And he likes to shake up his menu regularly, too. Tim He won the Bar of the Year award in 2014, and is up for the same award this year. His motto ‘great food, outstanding service, good times’ says it all. Kate My chickpea, butterbean and chilli burger on a brioche bun with twice cooked rosemary

chips gets 10 out of 10 too. The burger is incredibly light and crumbly with just the right amount of heat in it. And I love the chips. I’m going to make these at home. Well, at least sprinkle some rosemary on some oven chips. Tim I can’t wait. In the meantime I’m going to stick to my ‘light’ theme and have a selection of homemade ice creams. The chef makes seasonal ice cream whenever possible: they even had pumpkin at Halloween. I fancy a trio of apricot, pistachio and orange. Kate Great choice and they’ll go nicely with my chocolate mousse with homemade honeycomb. The flavours are really smooth and none of it is too sweet. This mousse melts in the mouth and you get lovely chunks of apricot and pistachio. Tim Kieran has only been here for two years but you’d easily think he’d been here much longer. Everything seems very well bedded in and all the staff were very attentive. I’m sure they’ll be packed over Christmas.

The Red Lion 5 Main Street, Great Bowden LE16 7HB. 01858 463571. www.redlion-greatbowden.co.uk

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20/11/2015 15:29

Feature /// School sports

Tigers legend coaches at Brooke The pupils at Brooke Priory School in Oakham enjoyed a memorable coaching session with rugby legend, Austin Healey recently. The boys in Year VI were keen to glean as much as they could from the exprofessional and listened eagerly as he took them through some of the drills used by both England and the Leicester Tigers. Assistant head, Jon Wand, the shool’s regular U11 coach, said: “The boys are always enthusiastic about their rugby and were delighted to have the opportunity to work with such a well-respected figure.”

John Wycliffe team compete at Swimfest Children from years four, five and six at John Wycliffe Primary School in Lutterworth took part in the annual Rotary Club Swimfest event. The children formed two teams to swim as many as lengths as possible in 55 minutes. Each team did themselves proud, managing 102 lengths. Head teacher Emma Nuttall said: “The children showed fine team spirit and supported each other admirably. The grit and determination was tangible!” The children have raised vital funds for a range of charities that are supported by the Rotary Club, namely Wishes 4 Kids, Leicestershire Life Education Trust and other Rotary-approved charities.

New pitch for Church Langton The pupils at Church Langton CE (Aided) Primary School were delighted to welcome Leicester Tigers’ Seremaia Bai and Leicestershire Foxes’ Lewis Hill for the opening of their new 3G pitch. The facility, which has been funded through donations from Friends of Church Langton and Hanbury Charity, will be enjoyed by pupils of all ages. “This new facility is going to help broaden our PE curriculum even further and allow us to run more sporting clubs,” said Joanna Sparkes, PE co-ordinator at the school. The extra playing area will also help the school to retain their most recent achievement – the Sainsbury’s School Games Gold Mark. Headteacher Stephen Roddy added: “We are incredibly proud of our school for achieving such a high standard in sport and this new all-weather pitch means we will be able to host more events for the pupils to enjoy, both in their house tournaments and in fixtures against other schools.” 5 6 DECEMBER 2015 ///

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Manor on a high as teams dominate table tennis event At the recent School Sport Partnership Table Tennis Competitions held at Leicester Grammar School, Manor High School performed fantastically. Manor High School entered two Year 6 Boys teams in the Under 11s competition, and both teams won every game they played and ended up competing against each other in the final. After a well-played game, the A team were victorious and crowned champions. On the same day, two Year 8 Boys teams were also playing in the Under 13s category. The Year 6 success was mirrored by the Year 8 Boys, as again the A team came first and the B team finished in second place. Both teams will play in the county finals at the end of November against some of the best players in Leicestershire. A week later, 16 Year 8 students entered the Under 16s category, playing against Year 11 students from other schools. The Manor High School students rose to the challenge and were not intimidated by the task ahead. Eight Year 8 boys competed in two teams in the Under 16s category. After some hard fought matches, the boys battled through to come third overall. The Year 8 girls were unfazed by the older opposition and played a strong game. The girls were victorious beating both Kibworth A team and Kibworth B team. This means that at the age of 13, they have been crowned Oadby and Wigston Under 16s Table Tennis champions and will go through to the county finals in a few weeks time.

Elsewhere, the Year 6 girls’ football team competed in the Under 11 County Finals at the Leicester City Football Club Dome. In the group stage they won their first two games 2-0, although the third game proved much tougher but still resulted in a 1-0 win. The girls came top of the group and progressed to the final where they played an

excellent game, working hard to take the lead and eventually winning 2-0 to secure the Danone Cup. The team did not concede a single goal during the tournament. They now progress to the Midlands final which will be played in Nottingham in March where they will play the best teams from around the Midlands.

County call-up for Spratton pupils

Spratton Hall are delighted that four of their Year 8 pupils, Molly Williams, Gabby Peck, Jenny Wilson and Amy Hoffman have got into the Northamptonshire County Netball programme for this autumn. Four county players bodes well for next term’s netball season. /// D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 5 5 7

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Church Langton CE (Aided) Primary School Looking for your child’s first school or relocating? Why not come to see the amazing opportunities we could offer your child.

If you would like more Information or to organise a tour on a please contact

01858 545237

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20/11/2015 11:07

Feature /// School sport

U16s win Midlands hockey tournament Oakham’s U16 Girls Hockey team won their Midlands tournament to secure themselves a place in the regional final. The zonal round was held at Trent College with schools from across the Midlands competing – including Trent College, Kings High, Warwick, Oundle and Moreton Hall. “The girls grew in strength and confidence throughout the tournament to bring home an impressive win,” says director of girls’ sport, Michelle Northcott.

National U18 football call Two of Oakham School’s talented footballers were thrilled to be selected to play for the Independent Schools Football Association National U18 representative squad. Alicia Schwarzenbach and Penny Skipper, who are both sport scholars at Oakham, played two games for the ISFA U18 team during the half term break. Alicia scored in both of the matches in which they played. Both players have chalked up a number of accolades over the past year, having previously been selected for regional and national ISFA squads. They were also part of Oakham’s winning 1st XI squad, who were last year crowned national Independent Schools Football champions. Oakham School football coach Rob Johnson said: “It is clear to all who watch these two play that they are natural talents, the likes of which you rarely come across. “The whole Oakham squad continues to enjoy their success and benefit from their generous guidance on the training field and in matches.”

Catmose cross-country success In November, the Catmose College Year 7 boys’ cross-country team travelled to Thomas Estley, Broughton Astley to take part in what turned out to be another successful Leicestershire and Rutland Cross Country Cup event. The weather initially was appalling with strong winds and rain but by the time the race was due to start the weather had improved. The boys were extremely excited, as they are currently top of the league, but were also anxious that they may not achieve their goal. The strategy was to be positioned in the top three and remain as close as possible to the front runner. William Way went off strongly and finished his lap a close third which gave Jack Welch the opportunity to overtake into second place on the next leg. Archie Cropper retained this position and very nearly caught up the front runner. Sam Lowings was now in a strong position to win the race, and during the early part of his lap he took the lead and finished first convincingly. The boys were delighted and received medals and a cup for their efforts.

Oakham win netball title Oakham’s U19 Girls won the Leicestershire Schools County Tournament held at Leicester Grammar School. “The girls played brilliantly throughout the tournament, displaying excellent teamwork,” says director of girls sport, Michelle Northcott. “If they can take these same skills and this positive approach into the regional tournament, they have a strong chance of progressing to the Nationals in March 2016.” /// D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 5 5 9

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Roundup The scores, star performers and stats from a month in local sport


South Leicester head for mid-table safety BY JEREMY BESWICK


outh Leicester continue to find their feet in the National League and, after a largely satisfying month, now lie in the relative safety of mid-table. They began with something of a steal at home to Broadstreet, to whom they trailed 3-10 at half time despite dominating the forward battle. In the second period a series of penalties given away by Broadstreet at the scrum tested the ref’s patience that little bit too far and a converted penalty try saw the scores level and shortly afterwards another forwards attack saw Chris Bale go over to put South ahead. However, two Broadstreet penalties saw them regain the lead by a single point and it seemed as if they would prevail as the minutes ticked away. Then, with the referee’s whistle at the ready to signal the end of play, Rickie Aley’s chip into the corner was gathered in gleefully by Will Sutton who went over for the winning score. Next up were Stourbridge and South and it began where they had left off against

Broadstreet with the forwards again having the best of their opponents and winning several scrums against the head. Gaz Turner scored the first try and then, having slotted the conversion, that man Aley used his boot to good effect again with an inch-perfect kick to make another try for Calum Gunn. Stourbridge pegged them back with a try but Turner and Gunn both doubled their personal tallies to make the score 24-7 at the break. The second half saw a determined Stourbridge fight back as South became frustrated and played the referee badly, seeming to irritate him with a few ill-judged comments. Indirectly, this contributed to two yellow cards for South and several scores for the away side to bring them within a point at 27-26, and it took some heroic defending for South to see the game out as winners. It was a similar story, with a different denouement, away to Tyndale. South led comfortably 24-3 early in the second half after yet another sterling forward performance and, would you believe, a Calum Gunn try from a

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kick by Aley but, when the home side’s late come-back came they proved irresistible on this occasion. Yet another yellow card for South had put them on the back foot, but they were still in the match until the last move of the game when Tyndale’s Nick Cairns went over to make the game safe at 34-24. A mixed month for Leicester Lions with two wins and two losses. First up was another long trip to Yorkshire. After last month’s win at Harrogate it was Huddersfield who were the hosts this time, but they proved to be the less hospitable of the two, narrowly beating the Lions by 27-23. The opening quarter of an hour must have been a treat to watch, with three tries and a penalty making the score 12-8 but thereafter the game tightened up to reach half time at 18-15 to the home side. Although Lions were the only try-scorers in the second half, Huddersfield’s reliable penalty kicking saw them home. Lions’ director of rugby, Ken Whitehead, said: “We certainly played and competed well. The team was always there or thereabouts throughout

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Tigers talk A thought-provoking press conference from Richard Cockerill this month. Amongst the usual nuts and bolts about injuries and forthcoming games, two interesting overlapping themes developed; the need to embrace southern hemisphere rugby philosophy and the criteria for appointing the next England manager. Cockers, as an ex-hooker managing a side that have always been renowned for their physical approach, can sometimes come across as a dyed-in-the-wool ‘forwards-first’ man, but in fact he’s always been more nuanced than that. However, whilst I wouldn’t describe him as having had a Damascene conversion since the recruitment of several Kiwi and Australian backs-oriented personnel to the coaching and playing staff, the mood music has certainly changed. “We have to keep Leicester Leicester,” he said. “And certain things are sacrosanct. We know Tigers will always be combative, but we also need to change and add some southern flair on top. It’s a matter of the subtleties of the game, that magic chemistry. We’ve all got a lot to learn, including me. I know what I don’t know – and I know I’m not the best man to coach the team how to attack.”. Kiwi Aaron Mauger (pictured), however, is. “Now we’ve got a really good balance in the coaching team. We have robust conversations but he gets the best out of the backs personality-wise. The dynamics are really good and I’m enjoying it. It’ll make us both better coaches.” The harder grounds down south mean that open rugby is feasible all year round but, as Cockers pointed out, it’s a learning process for Mauger too. “When the rain, snow, ice and mud come, you have to learn that maybe you don’t throw the ball around all the time.” As the conversation turned to his opinions about England’s search for a new man, some echoes from the back room at Welford Road reverberated the game but there was a disappointing lack of discipline in conceding penalties in the second half.” He’ll have been disappointed by one aspect of Lions’ next fixture at home to league leaders Sedgley Park therefore, as a total card count for both sides of three yellows and one red rather marred the game. However, the narrow win by 10-9 (having been 0-9 down at half time) will have brought cheer. Devon Constant was their try scorer in a much improved second 40 that saw that flurry of cards all come in the last ten minutes. A trip to Chester was next and the Lions never fully recovered from the second ten minutes of the game when Chester scored three tries, the only points of a first half that meant Lions went in 19-0 down. They competed much better in a drawn second period that saw each side score a try, but never looked like seriously troubling the opposition

around the press room. “A head coach is only as good as the people around him” said Cockers. “You need to know what you’re not good at and recruit accordingly. We’ve got the sort of line up here that England need. A local guy through and through at the head but southern experience in the mix.” A braver man than I asked if he was miffed that his name never seems to be mentioned in connection with the England job. “Crikey – are they scraping the barrel that much?” he joked. “I’m not sure my personality suits the RFU. It would be interesting though if anyone from the union ever asked the Premiership managers about certain candidates. Also, Aaron’s amazed that no-one from there ever comes to see them in New Zealand and see how they do elite, high intensity coaching.” But wouldn’t he like to test himself at that level? “Not at this point, but in the future, yes. Whoever it is will need common sense, to believe in what you believe in and have the balls to stand up for it.” Alas, those are unlikely to be the Union’s criteria, but if they were, I reckon we were listening to the right man for the job.

as they lost 26-7. Whitehead took some solace from the fact that “Lions stuck to their guns and defended and scrummaged well”. He had less need to look for consolation after the visit of Sale, who Lions beat emphatically 38-6 on a rainy day in Blaby. An early try from Devon Constant and a classic flowing one finished off by John Williams saw them to half time 17-0. Sale came back with two penalties but a penalty try to the Lions rather punctured their balloon and Lions’ substitute Marco Dallaville was able to run in a further two tries towards the end as Sale tired. A more buoyant Whitehead said “We came back well after last week’s disappointing result at Chester. Our sparkling play was a complete antidote to the afternoon’s weather”. Market Harborough’s unbeatable machine rumbles on with wins against Belgrave, Biggleswade and Leicester Forest meaning

they retain their 100% record and top spot in Midlands 2 East (South), but they certainly didn’t have things all their own way against Belgrave who were somewhat unlucky to lose by 19 to 13. Neither were they word perfect in beating Biggleswade away 18-5, first team manager Mark Thornton commenting: “It’s testament to the standards this squad have set themselves that they felt disappointed with the manner in which they won and not achieving the bonus point. The next month will determine whether or not they are credible title contenders.” This is a side with a lot of talent but a young one – average age 22 – so perhaps some inconsistent levels of performance can be expected. Thornton will have been delighted with their next performance as they ran out easy winners against Leicester Forest 34-5 to continue what has been an outstanding season so far.

Show your support for local sport... Email advertise@theactivemag.com /// DE C E M BE R 2015

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20/11/2015 15:43



Oadby’s injury nightmare continues BY JEREMY BESWICK


adby’s season is turning into a bit of a Weston (a ‘Weston’: footballer’s slang for even worse than a “mare” or nightmare – hence a Super Mare). Three losses and two draws in their last five, and four places off the bottom of the league are not what they or their fans would have expected. The mood in the clubhouse is not as despondent as you might think, however. Secretary Kev Zupp told me: “We’ve got nine players out injured at the moment, three of them long-term, but we’re actually still playing good attractive football.” Nine injured players would stretch even a Premiership squad and accordingly several of the under 18s have had to turn out for the senior side, so hopefully we can expect them to improve dramatically as the year rolls on. Their away match against Yaxley, who had beaten them 3-2 at Freeway Park last month, would certainly have been entertaining for the neutral, containing no less than nine goals. Oadby went behind early on after a well taken

goal from Dan Cotton but there followed a spell where the Poachers had the lion’s share of possession and Ben Stephens levelled the match after a quarter of an hour. Oadby continued to have much of the play but Yaxley’s clinical finishing on the counter attack proved too much for them in the second half and the match finished 6-3. One collector’s piece was that Ben Stephens completed his hat trick, a rarity for a player on the losing side. Somewhat happier times over at Harborough Town, who’ve steadied the ship after a pretty miserable run which included four consecutive defeats with three wins and two draws in their last five. The highlight was a 4-1 victory over Huntingdon Town with goals from Danny Wright (two), Joel Konteh and Harry May coming before Huntingdon’s consolation effort with five minutes left. Another win against Silesby followed which seems to have cemented them securely in mid-table. Let’s hope they can kick on from there.

It’s a similar story over at Lutterworth who had their own wobble with consecutive losses against Blackstones, Peterborough and Oadby but have since won three games on the bounce. Having won the treble of Premier Division, County Cup and League Cup last season, Cosby United started their campaign where they left off with an opening run of seven straight victories. It had to finish eventually and was brought to an end by County Hall who beat them 3-1. However, United had their revenge in the County Cup, eliminating Hall emphatically 4-0; Russ Douglas with two of their goals. The good folk of Barwell were living the FA Cup dream, the Evo-Stik league side qualifying for the first round proper for the first time in their history by beating Rushden and Diamonds 1-0 in a replay. They had to wait until the 70th minute for the winner, a spectacular diving header from Brady Hickey in front of a crowd of over a thousand. Alas, the dream ended in the next round as

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Leicester City’s rich vein of form continued this month, with victories over high-flying Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion and Watford adding to their increasingly impressive haul, until the international break from domestic football intervened once again. How long will it be, I wonder, until the pundits grudgingly accept that the Foxes’ success isn’t just down to luck – and that second in the Premiership is not the false position some still persist on claiming it to be? Forty four points from the last possible sixty, Jamie Vardy closing in on Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record for consecutive Premiership goals, and only a point behind Manchester City at the top of the table at the time of writing? This is ground breaking stuff and, to all those pundits’ discomfort, not something that any of them remotely predicted. Mischievously, I decided to look back at several articles published before the start of the season and came across many – I’d say the majority – tipping the Foxes for demotion. One of the best was from BBC Sport that polled no less than 30 leading ‘experts’ – all household names that, if you watched Match of the Day Above long enough, you’d see lounging on leather chairs being The King Power stadium falls silent before the game against Watford to remember those who have fallen in conflicts around the paid untold thousands for their opinions. Not one tipped world over the past 100 years them to do well, or even mentioned them in passing. To be fair though, it’s nothing personal; twenty three of the thirty tipped Chelsea for the title. Just goes to show that we sports journalists know as much about football as anyone’s proverbial granny (apart from mine of course, who had a sweet le foot and could argue the finer points of the offside law with any number of FIFA accredited officials) . Marc Albrighton summed up the team’s growing belief well. “The table doesn’t lie. We deserve to be where we are. We’ve taken points from the tough away games that we’ve played and we’ve taken three points from the teams that we feel we should be. When you’re taking points from the teams around you, and the teams that are probably going to be around you at the end of the season, that’s the most important thing”. Claudio Ranieri professes himself happy to let the fans chant “We’re all going on a European tour” but cannily is seeking to keep the players’ feet on the ground, insisting that the 40 point minimum to avoid relegation remains their first objective. “The fans must dream” he said “but for the players, me, everybody in the dressing room, we have to work for the day of the dream. For us, it is important to achieve 40 points, and then we see”. Five wins to go then, Claudio. Can you get them before Christmas, I wonder? By the way, do you think I personally had the faintest idea the Foxes would do so well? No, not a chance. Just proves two things I guess. One, football is wonderfully unpredictable and two, I’m just as good a pundit as Alan Shearer. Although as my granny would say, if that’s the height of your aspirations, it just shows you lack any ambition whatsoever. Welling United – two leagues above them – got the better of them in a close match. Barwell had the majority of possession but a 96th minute goal from Michael Bakare, added to a first-half Xavier Vidal effort, confirmed Welling’s 2-0 victory – a scoreline that somewhat flattered the visitors. Following the announcement of the FA’s four-year National Game Strategy, the Leicestershire and Rutland FA has responded to the initiative, designed to improve skills at

the grassroots level, by hosting an FA Coaching course. Chairman David Jamieson said: “One of the key areas of the National Game Strategy is the development of better grassroots players. In order to achieve this, we need better grassroots coaches, which is why I am delighted to reveal that we will, for the first time ever, be hosting an FA Youth Award Module 3 course early next year. In years gone by, coaches will have attended venues across

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the country sporadically to take part – so this is a wonderful opportunity for coaches in Leicestershire and Rutland.” Financial assistance may be available to anyone interested in taking part. David continued: “If that wasn’t enough, through the FA’s new bursary initiative, coaches may be able to benefit from funding towards the course.”  For more information email william.brown@ leicestershirefa.com

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News from the Foxes


20/11/2015 15:45



A devastating month for the hunt community BY JULIA DUNGWORTH


his month has been a truly devastating one for the local hunting community, which started with the death of Cottesmore joint-master Gems Mccormick at the Fitzwilliam opening meet at Milton Park on November 4. Gems was a retired helicopter pilot and suffered a major brain bleed and crush injuries. From Melton Mowbray, Gems (44) was a very keen horsewomen, owning about 10 horses, most of which show jump with other riders, including the very famous Dougie Douglas who has just been sold at Gorsesbridge in Ireland record breaking 1.4 million Euros. Gems was best known on the hunting field though. She was a Cottesmore master from 2012, a wonderful joint-master and generous supporter of the Cottesmore. “We were lucky to have her. Always immaculately turned out, quietly and efficiently fulfilling her role and a pleasure to hunt with,” a spokesperson for the hunt said. Etti Dale also suffered a fall with the Belvoir

Fund-raising calendar Local rider Georgie Fenn took a bit of a tumble from her horse whilst out on a hack last year and required the assistance of the Air Ambulance. She has since organised a barn dance which raised a whopping £2,000 for the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and now she plans to reach £10,000 aer putting together a naked calendar with a group of friends! It’s very tasteful, themed around the countryside and all proceeds go straight to the Air Ambulance aer generous sponsorship from Augean and Hanson towards the printing and postage costs.  To add some lovely artwork to your walls, or to just brighten your day with some spectacular country views, buy an ‘Around the Farm’ calendar at just £12 from www.aroundthefarm.co.uk the following Saturday at their Leicestershire opening meet at Long Clawson. She was lucky to walk a away with just three broken vertebrae. Etti, from Castle Bytham, is most local people’s equine physiotherapist, but will

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unfortunately be on box rest for at least two months. You’d be forgiven for thinking Dominic Gwyn-Jones was local as he spends most of his time out with the Belvoir and the

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Gems Mccormick, joint-master of the Cottesmore, who died aer a fall from her horse at the Fitzwilliam’s opening meet of the season

Cottesmore, but he actually lives in London, and he too has broken his leg. He was kicked by his own horse. When I asked if that was done at the lorries or while on the floor, the reply I got was quite shocking, “No, my girlfriend was riding it.” I bet that made for some fun conversations! However, Dom will be fine and has had his leg pinned, therefore is weight bearing already and should be fine for the up-and-coming hunt ride season at which he is becoming famous. Although all of these accidents are

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unrelated, it is also coincidental that William Fox-Pitt is still recovering from a head injury, Andrew Nicholson is recovering from his broken neck and Michael Jung (this year’s Burghley winner) has a broken leg. There are a plethora of safety talks about to get underway. I am unsure of how they are going to make riding any safer. It is a risk that we are all made too well aware of. However, I do think it is time to ditch the Beagler out hunting, which is basically an old fashioned hunting hat, with no chinstrap and no cushioning inside. I personally have fallen with one on before and it rolled down the

road in front of me. I haven’t worn it since! I do see it as unnecessary risk in light of recent events. Similar arguments also come up with the new air jackets, but surely one death is education enough for all of us? On a lighter note, although the Cottesmore cancelled their meet the following day out of respect, hunting numbers aren’t dwindling, the Belvoir had between 80-90 mounted at both their opening meets as did the Fitzwilliam with some great days planned over the Christmas meets. Do please go and follow on foot or on horseback and support your local hunt in these trying times.


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20/11/2015 15:47



Mixed month for Leicester


eicester Ladies showed real resilience and fighting spirit to come away with a hard earned point against Buckingham in a 3-3 draw. Both teams are currently at the wrong end of the table but it was Leicester who were quicker out of the blocks and dominant in the early exchanges. Chances were well created by the visiting side but they went a begging and it was the home side who opened the scoring after a defensive lapse by Leicester somewhat against the run of play The tone was set. Both teams were determined and desperate for the points which gave way to fast exciting hockey and its fair share of mistakes On three occasions Leicester fought their way back into the game with a hat-trick of goals from the predatory Liz George. Leicester strived for the winner but were denied, as the final whistle blew just as George was about to unleash another shot on the Buckingham goal. A week later, and they came out of the blocks firing with great penetrating plays forward into the Reading attacking quarter of the pitch; challenging the defence and forcing saves from the Reading goalkeeper. The first goal came as Katie Long made great contact on a cross to deflect the ball unchallenged into the Reading net. Further chances arose for Leicester with Liz George and Rachel Mack each coming close. The pressure continued and Leicester


Liz George netted a hat-trick in the 3-3 draw with Buckingham

looked really positive for the first 25 minutes of the game: Sarah Cockayne marshalling the defence, Holly Payne creating opportunities in midfield and Katie Long using her pace to dominate the wing. Leicester continually created turnovers in the middle of the pitch and attacked with strength and purpose.

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Reading, however, begun to find their form and their first goal came after keeper Steph Tirrell saved an initial shot at the top of the ‘D’ which resulted in a goal line scramble with the ball finally crossing the line for a Reading stick. Chances continued for both sides but it was Reading who broke the stalemate with a penetrating baseline run from Susie Gilbert pulled back for a tap on goal by her fellow forward. A similar goal followed for Reading, this time Helen Richardson-Walsh making the run on the baseline and eventually taking the goal credit as the initial shot was saved by keeper Steph. This goal was unfortunately met with confusion from Leicester defenders as the umpire initially called a short corner before allowing the goal, a bitter period of the game. Goal four came from a bottom left corner drag flick by Reading captain Emma Thomas and sealed the game. Leicester kept up the pressure to the last with moments of promise playing the ball out of defence, Katie Long coming close with a strong reverse stick shot to bring out a great save from the opposition keeper, Reading however were able to overpower Leicester and the calibre of returning England/GB players such as Susie Gilbert and Kate and Helen Richardson- Walsh as they come back to represent at club level. Special mention to Leicester keeper Steph Tirrell who made excellent saves to deny Reading many more potential goals.

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20/11/2015 16:39

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Active Magazine // South Leicestershire // December 2015  

SPORT, LEISURE, getting fit and staying healthy – South Leicestershire is buzzing with people full of energy. Reflecting what’s going on th...

Active Magazine // South Leicestershire // December 2015  

SPORT, LEISURE, getting fit and staying healthy – South Leicestershire is buzzing with people full of energy. Reflecting what’s going on th...