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A fantastic year for sport

By Kent and Sussex Courier  |  Posted: January 11, 2013

  • JULY: Adrian Quaife-Hobbs enjoyed a stunning AutoGP season

  • AUGUST: Bryony Shaw was gutted to miss out on a medal at London

  • SEPTEMBER: Linden Park, led by John Harvey, were promoted once more after a stunning season

  • OCTOBER: Tonbridge Angels' Mikel Suarez suffered a serious injury

  • NOVEMBER: Groombridge's Del Jenkins made a splash in 2012

  • DECEMBER: Andy McMath is one of several Tunbridge Wells players who has been in great form this season

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JULY

By July Adrian Quaife-Hobbs had all but wrapped up the AutoGP series, having already won more than half the races on offer.

In the two-wheeler sport, Tommy Hill extended his lead at the top of the Superbikes standings with a trio of wins at Oulton Park.

Elsewhere Luke Bennett, of Flimwell, was making jumps in his own sport as the youngster took fifth in the national trampolining championships in Birmingham.

In cricket, Wells were still struggling and only had to focus on the league after being knocked out of the National Knockout Cup at the quarter-finals stage, while Linden Park were sitting top of their division after another win, by five wickets at Hayes.

AUGUST

There was Olympic heartache for our stars as shooter Charlotte Kerwood and windsurfer Bryony Shaw both missed out on medals at London 2012.

The new football season kicked into full swing with our three biggest clubs all confident of success. Tommy Warrilow had his eyes on a play-off spot for Tonbridge Angels, while Martin Larkin felt his Tunbridge Wells squad was the best he had assembled. Down at Crowborough, Dave Adams said it was a make or break year for some of his players.

The cricket season was coming to an end and there was delight at Cowdrey and Mayfield, who wrapped up their titles early.

Finally, discus thrower Matt Blandford rounded off a great athletics season by winning the national under 17 title with the third longest throw by a Brit, while Sean Molloy unsurprisingly took 800m gold.

SEPTEMBER

Tonbridge Athletics Club produced perhaps the most significant team performance in their 60 plus year history by winning the UK Young Athletes League National Auxiliary Final.

Paralympic star Will Bayley won the hearts of a nation by taking silver in the table tennis event in London.

There was despair for Tunbridge Wells Cricket Club who suffered relegation from the Kent Premier League. It means they will face Linden Park next season for the first time in league cricket, after they won yet another promotion. In county cricket Murray Goodwin left Sussex after years of service.

In rugby, Tonbridge Juddians and Crowborough got off to flying starts.

And finally, Tommy Searle's World MotoX title bid came to an end, but he signed off in style with some brilliant victories.

OCTOBER

The darts stars came to the area for the month of October. Raymond van Barneveld was the star of the show and duly triumphed at the exhibition event, which the people of Tonbridge seemed to enjoy.

Elsewhere the Hever Castle triathlon was taking place and stamping its mark as a hotbed of elite talent. Tim Don was the most heralded guest, but the world number seven was only one of more than 3,500 entrants over the weekend.

And disaster struck Tonbridge Angels, when Mikel Suarez was put into a medically-induced coma following a horror clash of heads with teammate Lee Browning. Suarez is now well on the road to recovery.

NOVEMBER

Groombridge's Del Jenkins became third fastest masters swimmer in Europe in her event. Remarkably, the 46-year-old, who took a 20-year break from the sport, was achieving better times than when she was training full-time aged 16.

In rugby, Heathfield put in a strong display before succumbing to Charlton Park, while at Tunbridge Wells a young fly-half star looked to be emerging as Ben Gamble ran in a trio of tries to grab all the points for his team in their win over Gillingham.

Elsewhere Jake Hill tested with Redstone Racing at Brands Hatch, notching impressive times, and the Wadhurst Runners fell just short in their strong bid for the Sussex Grand Prix Series.

DECEMBER

Fortunes turned with the welcoming of the festive period for the area's sports teams.

Super-subs Richard Senden and Brad Large fired Tunbridge Wells into a dream FA Vase meeting with holders Dunston UTS. Larkin is calling for a gate of 1,000 plus for the January 19 showdown. Angels, meanwhile, continued their inconsistent run, losing 3-0 at home to Bromley in between completing the double over rivals Dover Athletic. Elsewhere Crowborough beat Heathfield 12-0 away in a big rugby derby, while former investment banker Zac Toumazi became Sussex CCC's new chief executive.

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