Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Henley versus Marlow in Olympic-style sports event

AN Olympic-style competition between Henley and Marlow could be launched next year

AN Olympic-style competition between Henley and Marlow could be launched next year.

Teams from the neighbouring towns would take each other on in up to 20 different sports with the highlight being a tug of war contest across the Thames.

The event would be held every two years and each town would take it in turn to host it.

The idea has been put forward by Sam Evans, chairwoman of Henley Town Council’s recreation and amenities committee, to celebrate and promote sports in the town.

She said: “We would like to aim for a Henley versus Marlow Olympics in 2017 over one of the three-day weekends.

“It would be a competition between the two towns — we know we’re best but we would like the opportunity to prove it. I see the Mayor of Henley and the Mayor of Marlow laying down the gauntlet over the bridge and we can have fun with it. Every age group would be involved. It’s potentially 20 sports, with some familiar ones. Tug of war across the river could be quite interesting.

“There’s potential to do it every two years with Henley hosting it the first year then Marlow hosting it two years later. I see it as a celebration of the sporting abilities of this town. It’s a matter of getting the schools and sports clubs involved.”

The council is to hold a forum with sports clubs to discuss the idea.

Chris Baker, president of Henley Hockey Club, said: “I think it’s a great idea. We need to get the sports clubs working together much better and if we can do this it would be brilliant. There has been an intense rivalry between Henley Hockey Club and Marlow Hockey Club ever since I started playing in 1969 and a sort of Olympics would be very good — providing we win!”

Trevor Howell, chairman of AFC Henley, said: “It sounds like an interesting idea. In principle we would be happy with anything that gets the town involved in sport and ourselves as part of it. I would like to know more.”

Tony Kingston, secretary of Henley Town Football Club, said the council would be welcome to use the club’s Triangle ground in Mill Lane.

He said: “We’re all for it and we’ll support it as much as we can.”

Mike Tretheway, chairman of Henley Rugby Club, said: “I think it’s an excellent idea. The amount of sport that goes on in this town is fantastic.

“A number of attempts has been made to bring them all together in some sort of event. It’s difficult to achieve as people have different ambitions and resources but an event like this would be a good way of doing it.”

Brian Kenworthy, chairman of Henley Cricket Club, said: “I’m sure if it was done in the right way the club would be more than happy to participate.

“Anything that promotes Henley and gives us a chance to beat a team from Marlow would be great fun.”

Stan Admiraal, of Henley Rowing Club, said: “It’s always good to have local competition.”

Justin Sutherland, captain of Upper Thames Rowing Club, said: “A bit of neighbourly rivalry is always a bit of fun.”

Marlow Mayor Bob Johnson said the inter-town Olympics sounded like a “great idea”.

He said: “I’m sure Henley would feel that it is the better town but I can’t see any reason why Marlow wouldn’t feel able to compete and I’m quite certain we would be competitive all the way through.”

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