First Stradbroke Sports Open Day attracts the young and old

IN BAT: Stradbroke Cricket Club welcomed youngsters from the village to give cricket a try at the weekend
IN BAT: Stradbroke Cricket Club welcomed youngsters from the village to give cricket a try at the weekend

The inaugural staging of the Stradbroke Sports Open Day saw visitors, young and old, try out a range of sports in the village on Saturday.

Stradbroke Parish Council took a step into the unknown when organising this new event, on the site of the Community Centre.

FAMILY FUN: Youngsters try out bowls during the Sports Open Day

FAMILY FUN: Youngsters try out bowls during the Sports Open Day

How successful the event has been will be judged over time, with a rise in membership in the various sports clubs around the village.

However, Councillor Lynsey Smith felt that with a steady, but constant, stream of villagers attending, it is well worth revisiting next year, with some experience to draw upon.

She was also at pains to point out the level of commitment from the individual clubs, giving up their time and making the visitors welcome.

Bowls would always be the barometer of whether the day would be worthwhile.

GOOD ADVICE: Coaching took place at Stradbroke Tennis Club on Saturday

GOOD ADVICE: Coaching took place at Stradbroke Tennis Club on Saturday

Stradbroke homes two bowls clubs, The White Hart and the District, who kindly shared their rink with their neighbours.

Both clubs declared interest, with three or four new members in total, and several more trying the game out for the first time.

Stradbroke’s senior football club folded earlier in the year, which in part promoted this initiative, but with a few willing volunteers, it intends to reform next season and join a local league.

The junior football club continues to offer matches and coaching for ages six to 16, and their skills centre was busy all day.

The cricket club held low expectations of attracting new adult players to the game, but junior cricketers joined in the activities, along with one or two parents under the ‘lapsed players’ heading.

The tennis club has some of the best facilities in Suffolk, and several new players took advantage.

To hire a court for an hour costs £6 (juniors £4) and can be booked through the gym on site, with rackets and balls also available.

Of the indoor sports, badminton can feel satisfied with their efforts, having signed up two new members.

There was a court put up in the Community Centre which was always in use.

Interest in table tennis has waned in recent years, but showcasing it on Open Day has breathed new life into what is a highly skilled game. Eight new members have signed up already and the season does not start until September.

The Swim and Fitness Centre are two areas that are growing with the public’s awareness of exercise and good health.

Demonstrations on rowing machines, running techniques and the joys of swimming saw much interest in what the building has to offer. It is one of the best Suffolk and is on your doorstep.

But the biggest winner, and proof that people will try new things if they are given the encouragement, came in the shape of petanque.

Despite its hitherto underground status, the rink or ‘piste’ saw action all day long.

The WI also provided a constant stream of teas and cakes on the day.