PUBLISHED: 12:30 18 November 2014 | UPDATED: 12:30 18 November 2014
The small east Herts town of Sawbridgeworth has a new generation of sporting talent tipped for great things, Sarah Hammill reports
Matt Aldous-Horne, 18
Former pupil of Leventhorpe School in the town, Matt Aldous-Horne has been taken on by sponsor Virtual Rigger, for whom is proving a fine sailing ambassador. This year he won the Laser Cup for the third year in a row at the National Youth Regetta, a feat that hasn’t been achieved in the competition’s 37 years. During the event in Kent, Matt was also presented with a President’s Award for his outstanding contribution.
He said, ‘I started sailing at nine and as soon as I was on the water I was hooked. I am proud to be the first sailor to achieve the hat trick of wins in the history of the competition.’
At home on or in the water, Matt is also a competitive swimmer for Bishop’s Stortford Swimming Club and has this year broke several club records for breast stroke.
Listing his many achievements in sailing thus far, he said, ‘I have competed in many national and international events in the Laser Class. I also qualified for the 2012 European Championships and finished ninth in the under-17 age group.’
He is currently looking forward to studying mining engineering at Exeter University, but he will still be on the water and will balance his sporting career with his studies. His next big sailing goal? ‘I’m hoping to get a try on the big race boats in Falmouth.’
Left arm spinner
Ben Waring, 16
Young Sawbridgeworth Cricket Club player, Ben Waring, has such tip top cricket credentials, that he has earned a scholarship at the highly regarded Felsted School, known for its reputation in the sports community, where he will be closely mentored by former England player, Jason Galleon.
An left arm ambitious spinner, Ben, is now pursuing his lifelong dream to play for England and at just 16, he has many sporting accomplishments under his belt including being the youngest player to compete with Sawbridgeworth CC first team and being awarded the Ted Levey Trophy for his achievements three years running.
He has high hopes for the town team: ‘The cricket team is a close one. We all work for one another and encourage each other to be our best. This year we have joined a new league which means we have played teams that have previously been a league above us, so it will be a great challenge.’
Proud mum, Val, is chairman of Sawbridgeworth CC and credits Ben’s young experiences there with his talent for the game now. ‘When Ben came down to watch his dad, the first team would let him join in. He never forgot that and they were instrumental in helping to make him what he is today.’
County wide, Ben is making a big impact too. He made his debut for the Herts junior county U12 team in 2010, progressing in 2012 to play for Herts U17. And last year he joined the county senior first XI.
His mum said he is now inspiring other youngsters, ‘I watch him now and see him doing the same for the next lot of young cricketers, so hopefully the legacy lives on.’
Mollie Crouch, 17
Competing since the age of six and part of a sports scheme that coaches promising local children, Sawbridgeworth Tennis Club player Mollie Crouch was swiftly talent spotted while playing at school. Now ranking 34th nationally in British women’s tennis, Mollie is competing in British tour events as well as on the ITF pro circuit abroad.
Mollie is fiercely competitive when it comes to realising her sporting dreams. She said, ‘I love that I found something I was really good at. I have played on show courts in Wimbledon, beaten world ranked players and won British tour events.’
Mollie trains regularly at her recently renovated club and is aware of how crucial it has been to her competitive career.
Coach, Ian Zellner, said, ‘Mollie is a result of the club’s very successful development programme, which has also produced a world junior number one at the age of 12 and European top 20 players.’
Although Mollie started out as a beginner at the club, under Zellner’s guidance she has swiftly become a force to be reckoned with. The coach added, ‘Mollie is one of the most gifted and aggressive players I have worked with. She has a real shot at making it to the top and this includes Wimbledon. Her single-handed backhand has the potential to be the strongest in the women’s game.’
Join the club
Sawbridgeworth Tennis Club 01279 723741 sawbridgeworthtennis.org.uk
Sawbridgeworth Cricket Club 01279 722865 sawbridgeworthcc.hitscricket.com