Nottingham is a proper sporting city. Nottingham Forest Football Club have won the European Cup twice and Notts County are the oldest football league club in the world – although, not for much longer if they keep flirting with relegation. Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club have won the County Championship six times and their home, Trent Bridge, is a world famous international cricket venue. Meanwhile, the Nottingham Panthers are one of the most successful ice hockey teams in the country, recently becoming the first British team to win a European trophy. But there are also some lesser-known sports teams in the city that deserve celebrating...
It's not just “rugby in pads", American football is a fast paced game of skill. Nottingham have had an American Football team since 1984 when the Nottingham Hoods – not to be confused with the basketball team of the same name – first suited up. The Caesars started as the Hoods' youth team but when they folded in 1994, the Caesars became top dogs. They won divisional titles in 1995, 2003 and 2008, and in 1997 they reached the BritBowl final where they were defeated by Redbridge Fire. Playing their games at the Harvey Hadden Stadium in Bilborough, they are now in the NFC1 South division.
Like a non-lethal version of the James Caan film Rollerball crossed with a roller-disco, roller derby is fast, fun and slightly confusing to the newcomer. It's a full contact sport where five skaters at a time go round an oval track trying to score points. Even if you don't understand the full details of the rules it's still really good fun to watch. Plus all of the players get nicknames such as Ruby Doomsday, Lauren Forcement and The Ruth Hurts. And the Nottingham Roller Girls are a force to be reckoned with.
Celebrating their 140th anniversary this year, Nottingham Rugby Club had their best time in the eighties when England internationals Simon Hodgkinson, Rob Andrew, Dusty Hare, Brian Moore and Neil Back all played for the club. While they're not the club they were, they can still hold their own in the championship, and have had a number of quality players on loan, mainly from Leicester Tigers, including England international, Tom Youngs. After more than 100 years playing at Ireland Avenue, Nottingham Rugby Club moved in with Notts County in 2006 and played at Meadow Lane up until January 2015, when they took up their new home ground at Lady Bay.
Named the fastest growing sport in the UK, according to the Notts Korfball website, the mixed-gender sport is currently being played in over fifty countries worldwide. With rules similar to netball, basketball and handball, two teams comprised of two men and two women battle it out to get the ball in the hoop. It’s a right inclusive sport, and you get get involved with Notts Korfball team.
Some runners get a bit holier than thou, not just about how many marathons they've smashed, but how much quinoa they eat – the debate surrounding the pronunciation of this grain has become a sport in itself. But how about a running club that was started by a brewery? That’s a bit more up our road. Started in Denmark, the Mikkeller Running Club has now made its way to Nottingham. Meeting monthly on a Sunday, their route begins at Brew Cavern and following a 5km run, and ends at the Kean's Head, where each runner gets free nibbles and a free half pint of Mikkeller beer. Incredible.
It's all jolly hockey sticks, round here. Hockey got a huge shot in the arm after the 2016 Rio Olympic games where the Great Britain & Northern Ireland women's team won gold in thrilling fashion via a penalty shoot-out. Former Beeston Bees players Shona McCallin and Hollie Webb were both in the squad, with Hollie scoring the winning goal in the final. Beeston were formed in 1907 and have seven ladies' teams, six men's teams as well as under-18, under-16 and under-14 sides.
We couldn't have a look at Nottingham sports clubs and not include archery, after all, the city is home to the most famous archer of all time, Hawkeye Robin Hood. The Foresters were formed in 2011 but there have been archery clubs in Nottingham dating back to 1832. These days, Bulwell run everything from tournaments to beginners courses.
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