Recreational and sports amenities in Norwich
It has to be said that Norwich is not a city with nationally recognised sports teams. However, despite this lack of national recognition in sporting prowess, the city does offer its residents a full range of recreational and sporting amenities, some of whose highlights are given below.
The top football club in the East Anglian region, let alone Norwich and Norfolk, is without a doubt Norwich City Football Club. This club stands alone in being the only sports club associated with Norwich that has any degree of national recognition. Even then it is probably as well known for its famous board member and majority shareholder, Delia Smith. The team currently plays in the English Championship League, one step below the top flight of English football, having been most recently been demoted from the Premiership in 2005. The club was officially formed in 1902 by the amalgamation of several Norwich football clubs into one. The club made rapid progress and became a professional one in 1905, joining what was then called the southern Football League. Apart from their occasional forays into the top flight of English league football the only achievement for the club was winning the Football League Cup in 1985 and finishing third in the Premiership League in 1993. Partly due to their distinctive yellow and green quartered kit, they are known locally as the Canaries.
Well known to some sporting fans outside the east Anglian region will be the Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit which is off the A11 on the way to Thetford. The circuit is used regularly throughout the spring and summer with a programme of motor bike, touring car and F3/F4 races. The premier event held here is one of the rounds in the British Superbikes Championship.
The Norwich City Tennis Club is a partnership between Norwich City Council and the Lawn Tennis Association. Its aim is to promote tennis skills and foster an interest in the game in 9 to 16 year olds. The programme takes place at the outdoor municipal tennis courts throughout Norwich. The East Anglia Tennis & Squash Club is a private tennis club in Norwich with 10 outdoor courts and is based at Lime Tree Road in the city.
Table Tennis in Norwich
The Norfolk County Cricket Club, which plays cricket in the National Minor Counties Championship, has its ground in Norwich at Manor Park just off the A140 near the airport. Originally founded in 1827 the club has a continuous history going back to 1876 and became a member of the Minor Counties Championship in its inaugural season, 1895. In the new millennium the club has enjoyed some success both in the Championship and in knock-out cup competitions. Probably the clubs best known former player is John Edrich who went on to play for Surrey and England; he was also Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year in 1966. Their are several other local cricket teams in and around Norwich which play in the Norfolk Cricket League.
Norwich Athletics Club has over 500 members and encourages people of all ages to engage in the sport of athletics. The club is based in the SportsPark at the University of East Anglia. The Senior Men’s team competes in the AAA Southern Men’s League Division 1, whilst the Senior Ladies team is currently in the AAA National Division 3. The club also organises and competes in Cross-Country running and Road-Running. Norwich Road Runners are a separate organisation with around 200 members. Formed in 1985 the club is open to beginners and experienced road-runners.
Despite being one of the oldest Rugby Union clubs in the country, the Lion Rugby Club currently plays in the Powergen London League II North. Founded in 1885 the club is the senior Rugby Union club in Norwich and has previously played in the RUFC National League II.
Norwich does have a state of the art Ice Skating Centre at the Sports Centre in Drayton Road, Hellesdon. Capable of having up to 450 people on the ice at any one time the rink is big enough to host ice-hockey matches and has a ‘recreational’ ice-hockey club which meets on Wednesday evenings. Opening times vary but once you are inside you can expect to have a 2 hour slot on the ice. The Norwich Sports Village also has facilities for Squash, Volleyball, Badminton and Tennis. The centre is also used as a venue for boxing matches.
The local swimming club in Norwich is the Swan Swimming Club, which uses the 25m Riverside swimming pool and the 50m pool at the University Of East Anglia. Founded in 1880 and one of the oldest swimming clubs in the world it currently has some County Champions. The club also has a water Polo team and organises life saving classes. Norwich City Council also promotes both teaching children to swim and encouraging adults to swim for recreational and fitness purposes.
There are two municipal Pitch and Putt courses in Norwich, which also has 9 full golf courses classed as being within the city. A round of golf at the prestigious championship – Royal Norwich – course can cost up to £40.