COVER STORY: It’s a family thing! Merry Christmas one and all!

All photos are by Russell Harper of Harper Photography

As Christmas is a time of ‘coming together’ Sevenoaks Sports asked a number of local sports stars to unite for a very special photo shoot! You can learn all about them below as we wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

SEVENOAKS TOWN FC CLUB MEMBER – MADDIE SMITH

Please could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
My name is Maddie Smith and I am a member of Sevenoaks Town Football Club. I have played for the Club for the past seven years; five years in the Juniors, last season as Captain with the Ladies Team and this year as Manager/Coach/ Player with the Ladies Team. I have also been the Manager of the Under 8’s team for the past two seasons.

It has been so rewarding to follow the children through from last season, see them grow in confidence and ability, and to witness the pleasure that they get from playing well as a team.

What have been your sporting and non-sporting highlights of the year?
My sporting highlight of the year was standing on the side line for a recent Under 8’s match, and, having been working with the children on corners, seeing them put it successfully into practice, and, off the back of their new skills, going on to win the match. A very ‘proud coach’ moment for me!

My non-sporting highlight has probably been completing my ‘A’ levels and starting a job working with children in a wonderful local school, Russell House Preparatory School; I am a Teaching Assistant with games, and so this allows me to combine my love of sport and the challenge and enjoyment of working with children.

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
In 2019, I am looking forward to continuing in my roles with STFC and improving my knowledge by applying for my next coaching qualification, UEFA B. My New Year’s Resolution, however, will definitely be to improve my fitness, and, in particular, to work on my speed around the pitch!

What is Christmas like in your household? Do you have limitations on your diet over the festive period?
Christmas in my household is always fun, and this year, in particular, I look forward to having my twin brother back from University so that we can fight over who gets to use the car! I will certainly try and be sensible with my diet over the Christmas period, and continue my training at the gym, however, I certainly won’t hold back with the turkey and all the trimmings!

Our holiday focus is definitely on family and food. We always have a big family meal on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Personally, I don’t really restrict my diet over the holidays. I try not to worry too much and to keep to my normal training and eating habits since I’m still in season.

Who is your sporting hero and why?
My top sporting hero has to be England footballer, Lucy Bronze. She is an inspirational footballing role model, not just for ladies but for every up and coming footballer.

Even though I believe that she frequently doesn’t receive the credit she deserves, the effort she puts in and the confidence she has to take on players, is second to none.

SEVENOAKS HOCKEY CLUB PLAYERS – TIM & KATY WARRINGTON

Please could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Tim: My name is Tim Warrington, I play Midfield/Forward for Sevenoaks Hockey Club, and am the Men’s 1st XI Captain.

Katy: I am Katy Warrington and I am Captain of the Women’s 1st XI at Sevenoaks Hockey Club and play left midfield. This is my 14th season in the 1st team and the third year as captain. I am co-captaining with Dulcie Davies our Goalkeeper extraordinaire.

What have been your sporting and non-sporting highlights of the year?
Tim: My sporting highlight of the year was successfully coming through the playoffs to retain our England Hockey Premier League status. My non-sporting highlight was receiving a promotion at work.

Katy: The 8-1 win against Ipswich was my sporting highlight so far. It was an exceptional team performance and shows what an exciting team we are when everyone plays at the top of their game.
My non-sporting highlight was a holiday to Kalkan in Turkey over the summer. Perfect weather, location and food. It was exactly what we needed before Hockey preseason training started!

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
Tim: Hopefully picking up some more points than the team have done in the first half of the season in order to avoid relegation.

Katy: After our disappointing Home loss to Harleston Magpies at the beginning of the season, I’m most looking forward to the away fixture after Christmas. It will be a tough game but one the team will relish as a challenge!

What is Christmas like in your household? Do you have limitations on your diet over the festive period?
Tim: I love Christmas. There is nothing better than spending time with family and eating loads of nice food. So Christmas in our household is very family orientated, with lots of food, dog walks, presents and laughter. I don’t really hold back on my diet over Christmas – I still make sure I do regular exercise, so taking on a little more food doesn’t make too much difference.

Katy: Tim and I will be hosting Christmas Day for my family this year which will be a new experience. Hopefully no cooking disasters will occur and everyone will have a fantastic day.
As with all good things “everything in moderation” so we can relax the diet around the big day but get back on track pretty swiftly!

Who is your sporting hero and why?
Tim: Tiger Woods. As a keen golfer during the summer months, I’ve always been a massive Tiger Woods fan. He dominated the game for so long, and now he’s staging an against-all-odds comeback… I’m a sucker for a fairytale return!

Katy: Serena Williams. She epitomises consistency and hard work and has been at the top of her game for so long. Even her come back after giving birth and the subsequent surgeries have been impressive.

KNOCKHOLT BOWLING CLUB MEMBER – JOHN SAYER

Please could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
I am John Sayer, I am a member of Knockholt Bowling Club, club coach and club newsletter editor.

What have been your sporting and non-sporting highlights of the year?
Winning Knockholt Bowling Club Mens Singles 2018 competition for the first time. Celebrating my wife’s 70th birthday.

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
Our golden Wedding anniversary.

What is Christmas like in your household? Do you have limitations on your diet over the festive period?
Full on celebration with no limit on food and drink. Made a new year’s resolution last year to give up wine. Worst 20 minutes of my life!

Who is your sporting hero and why?
Jack Kelsey, Arsenal and Wales goalkeeper from the 1950’s. As a goalie my-self I watched him avidly and learnt the art of great positioning and temperament. He was voted the best keeper at 1958 World Cup.

WEST KINGSDOWN BOXING CLUB MEMBER – GEORGE WELSH

Please could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m George Welsh and I’m 14 years old, I attend Wilmington Grammar School for Boys in year 10, so I have just started my journey into my GCSE’s.

I’m a member of West Kingsdown Boxing Club, I’d never boxed before but always wanted to, so when the club opened up in our village last year it was ideal.

What have been your sporting and non-sporting highlights of the year?
My sporting highlight would be that I achieved a National level of boxing in my first year of competing. My non-sporting highlight is connected to sport and is for receiving recognition at school for my achievements and being given an award.

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
I’m looking forward to my the challenge of competing in the next National competition next year.

What is Christmas like in your household? Do you have limitations on your diet over the festive period?
We are a fairly big family so Christmas is always very manic. Depending on if I have a fight soon, I eat quite normally, but have to watch what I eat to hold my weight.

Who is your sporting hero and why?
I’d say my sporting hero is probably quite simply Anthony Joshua and not just because he’s doing well and is British.
It is because his journey was a tough one and no other fighter has done what he has in as little fights. He trains very hard and gets rewarded highly for this.

SEVENOAKS SUNS BASKETBALL PLAYER – RENEE BUSCH

Please could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m Renée Busch. I play shooting guard for the Sevenoaks Suns in the Women’s British Basketball League (WBBL).

What have been your sporting and non-sporting highlights of the year?
For 2018, my sporting highlight was definitely winning the WBBL playoff championship at the O2 Arena in May. The final was the culmination of our work and togetherness during the whole season and we came together to win on the biggest stage. It was a process and I’m proud to have been a part of that team of amazing people.

My non-sporting highlight was being spontaneous (for once!) and meeting my best friend from college during her trip to Sagres, Portugal. She lives in he US so I don’t get to see her often.

It was beautiful and the trip reminded me how important it is to invest in spending time with the people you care about and that it’s ok to step out of my routine every once in a while.

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
I love to travel so next summer during our off-season I plan to visit a few countries in Asia. I’m still in the brainstorming phase but I definitely want to go to China, Japan and South Korea.

What is Christmas like in your household? Do you have limitations on your diet over the festive period?
I usually visit my family in the US for the winter holidays. Both of my sisters live on opposite coasts of the US and I don’t get to see them that often so thankfully we have enough of a break during the season so it’s possible to make the trip.

Our holiday focus is definitely on family and food. We always have a big family meal on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.
Personally, I don’t really restrict my diet over the holidays. I try not to worry too much and to keep to my normal training and eating habits since I’m still in season.

Who is your sporting hero and why?
I don’t know that I have a sporting hero, but I definitely have lots of role models and people I learn from. My teammates definitely help me to be better.

In particular over the last two and a half seasons I’ve been fortunate to play with Cat Carr and Ta’Yani Clark. I’ve soaked up so much from them, everything from how to take care of my body, and lead in a way that’s authentic to you, to specific games skills. For me, I feel like there’s inspiration everywhere.

SEVENOAKS RUGBY CLUB PLAYER – BEN ADAMS AND SEVENOAKS VINE CRICKET CLUB MEMBER – TOM PARSONS

Please could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Ben: My name is Ben Adams and I am a Winger in the Senior squad at Sevenoaks Rugby Club.

Tom: My name is Tom Parsons and I’m chairman of cricket and first team opening bowler at Sevenoaks Vine Cricket Club. I was the first team captain in 2014 when we won the league for the first time in over 20 years.

What have been your sporting and non-sporting highlights of the year?
Ben: On the sporting front, regaining fitness after a long time out injured and coming back and winning games with my team. My non-sporting highlight would be starting a new and exciting career.

Tom: From a Vine point of view it was seeing so many fantastic youngsters starting to come through the set-up. One game we had eight under-21’s playing in the first team and won the game! From a non Vine perspective, I would say winning the Ryder Cup and the raw emotion of England getting to the World Cup Semi-Final.

As for non-sporting, it was moving to Sevenoaks for the first time having spent the last seven years living with my wife Emily in South West London.

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
Ben: Hopefully helping the team to push for a promotion place and just enjoying my rugby and winning games. Of course the Rugby World Cup in Japan too.

Tom: Hopefully a repeat of the weather from 2018’s summer! Didn’t have a rained off game all year.

What is Christmas like in your household?
Ben: Christmas in my household is great. We are a very festive family, i would have my tree up in November if I could. From early December Christmas music is on through our Sonos speaker throughout the day! We have a big family get together on Christmas Day with all my family including aunties, uncles, cousins…it’s brilliant!

Tom: Our Christmas is spent driving from London to Maidstone where our families are. And thinking about winter nets which start in February!

Do you have limitations on your diet over the festive period?
Ben: To be honest no, I think everything in moderation is okay. I’m not the biggest of blokes so being honest I’ll be eating as much as possible haha!
Tom: Absolutely not! The Cricket season is six months away still! Tuck in!

Who is your sporting hero and why?
Ben: Jonny Wilkinson. National idol. Won us the World Cup in 2003, I was an excited five-year old screaming at the telly! And that left boot, nothing more to say… what a boot that was.

Tom: Cricketing sporting hero is Glenn McGrath. He was an unbelievable bowler who seemed to just get wickets wherever he played around the world. My non-cricketing hero is Thierry Henry. The man was incredible to watch in his prime. Not sure about his management skills yet though!

SEVENOAKS KYOKUSHINKAI KARATE CLUB FOUNDER – RAY BOND

Please could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
My name is Ray Bond. I am Club Chief Instructor and founder of Sevenoaks Kyokushinkai Karate Club. The club was started 27 years ago at Seal Village Hall. We have moved venue a couple of times but we have now settled at our current venue at the Methodist Church Hall, The Drive, Sevenoaks, for over five years. I am a 5th degree Black Belt and have been teaching for over 30. I am married to Heather and have one daughter Jessica who is also a Black Belt but is based in Australia at the moment. I am also a Shiatsu and Seitai practitioner (Japanese Acupressure Massage).

What have been your sporting and non-sporting highlights of the year?
My years sporting highlight is from March this year, with the club’s excellent results in the National Karate Championships where students from the Club where placed in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. My personal highlight was celebrating my Ruby wedding anniversary with my beautiful wife Heather.

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
I am looking forward to training hard, working towards more successes for the students and also welcoming new people to the club through our beginner’s course which starts on Thursday 24th January ‘19.

What is Christmas like in your household? Do you have limitations on your diet over the festive period?
We usually have a very traditional Christmas other than my Christmas morning ritual of getting up an hour and a half before everyone else and going for a run and training session. I find it the perfect way to start the day off. This year however is going to be very different as we are traveling to see our daughter Jessica in Australia and having Christmas dinner on the beach. We are also celebrating the New Year in Brisbane and my 60th Birthday on the Great Barrier Reef.

Who is your sporting hero and why?
My sporting hero has to be my instructor, mentor and friend Hanshi Steve Arneil, 10th degree Black Belt and World Chief Instructor for the International Federation of Karate Kyokushinkai. He has been an inspiration throughout my karate career. He is a legend amongst all traditional karate practitioners, being the first man in history to complete the 100 man kumite test which is 100 full contact fights lasting over three and a half hours.

SWANLEY RUGBY CLUB PLAYER – ANT SUMBLER

Please could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
I am Ant Sumbler and I’m the Captain of Swanley RFC. I play in the pack, currently flanker.

What has been your sporting highlight of the year?
Without a doubt finishing a very close second in the league in our first year and gaining promotion

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
Building on the success of 2018 by a strong league finish, expanding our playing squad and really establishing Swanley RFC as a competitive and fun side to play for.

What is Christmas like in your household? Do you have limitations on your diet over the festive period?
Much like everyone else’s I imagine. We eat, drink and relax. Have fun with family and friends. No limitations on the diet. I’ll work it off in training.

Who is your sporting hero and why?
Joe Marler. Absolute beast of a man on the pitch, great sense of humour and a slight bad boy reputation has made him one of rugby’s real characters. Always made a big impact when he played and has represented Harlequins, England and British & Irish Lions.

SEVENOAKS SWIMMING CLUB MEMBERS – LOUIS HAYES & EVA OKARO

Please could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Louis: I am Louis Hayes and I am 14 years old and swim at Sevenoaks Swimming Club as part of the Performance Development Squad.

Eva: My name is Eva Okaro. I recently turned 12 and I have a twin sister called Izabella. I swim for Sevenoaks Swimming Club.

What have been your sporting and non-sporting highlights of the year?
Louis: Winning the under-16 100m Fly cup at the Kent County Championships 2018 and also medaling in 14 other events of which 13 were gold and one silver. six Medals at the SE Regionals two Golds, three Silvers and one bronze. In October, I also managed a short trip to see my grandparents in Singapore after three years apart, so that was pretty special.

Eva: I swam at the English Nationals this Summer in Sheffield at the age of 11 in the 12/13 age group. I qualified for five events and medalled in four, Winning two gold medals for 50m Fly & 50m Free and two silver medals for 100m Fly & 50m Backstroke. I tried out for Kent Netball and was successful and now play for the under-13 Potential Squad.

My non sporting highlight of the year has to be starting Secondary School at Walthamstow Hall for Girls in Sevenoaks.

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
Louis: I am aiming to qualify in a good variety of events at the British Summer nationals. Aiming to continue to improve in multiple events in Kent county championships, SE Regionals and British and English nationals. I’m also looking forward to, if possible, any holiday in the sun.

Eva: I Hope to make the British Swimming Nationals in 2019 and also keep my position in Kent Netball. We have to trial out every year.

What is Christmas like in your household? Do you have limitations on your diet over the festive period?
Louis: The weekend before Christmas, I will be competing in the Winter Nationals for the first time. There are only open age group finals, so I’m looking forward to learning from the event for the future. Then I will be able to relax for Christmas after that. We usually rest and catch up with friends who we never see.

I sort of forget about swimming for a bit, as it is really the only holiday I don’t train or compete seriously in, so I tend to allow myself most treats!

Eva: Christmas is always fun at home as we always get to spend time with family. I definitely have no limitations on my diet over the festive period.

Who is your sporting hero and why?
Louis: When I saw Michael Phelps swim at the 2012 London Olympics, it convinced me to push forward with my swimming at Sevenoaks Swimming Club. He is a multi-stroke swimmer and that’s what I aim to be.

Eva: Serena Williams because of her self belief, determination and strength.