Norwich | sport

Sport

The principal local football club is Norwich City, also known as the Canaries, who play in the second tier of English football, the Championship, after being relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2015–16 season. Majority-owned by celebrity chef Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn-Jones, their ground is at Carrow Road. They have a strong East Anglian rivalry with Ipswich Town. The club has enjoyed considerable success in the past, having played in the top division regularly since 1972, their longest spell being a nine-year run from 1986 to 1995. They have also won two Football League Cups, and finished third in the inaugural Premier League in 1993. They were relegated two years later and did not reclaim their top flight place for nine years, going down again after just one season, only to return in 2011 after two successive promotions.

Perhaps Norwich City's most famous result to date came later in 1993 when they eliminated German giants Bayern Munich from the UEFA Cup, in what is to date their only season in European competitions; they had qualified for the UEFA Cup three times between 1985 and 1989 but were unable to compete as there was a ban on English clubs in European competitions at the time. Before emerging as a top division club, they famously eliminated Manchester United from the FA Cup in 1959, and went on to reach the semi-finals of the competition, a run they achieved again in 1989 and most recently in 1992. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the club produced some of the most highly rated talent of that era, including striker Chris Sutton, winger Ruel Fox, defender Andy Linighan, midfielder Mike Phelan, midfielder Tim Sherwood and striker Justin Fashanu. The club's most successful managers have included Ken Brown, Ron Saunders, Dave Stringer, Mike Walker, Nigel Worthington and Paul Lambert.

The city's second club, Norwich United (who are based in Blofield some 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) east of the city) and Norwich CBS play in the Eastern Counties League. The now-defunct Gothic were also based in Norwich. Local football clubs are served by the Norwich and District Saturday Football League.

Norwich also has an athletics club, City of Norwich AC (CoNAC), a rugby club, the Norwich Lions, and a handball Club, Norwich HC.

Norwich also has five field hockey clubs. In the 2012/13 season the club playing the highest level on the men's side will be Norwich City Hockey Club[141] in the East Hockey Premier B, which is two levels below National League. The second highest level is Norwich Dragons in Division Two North, then the students only University of East Anglia Men's Hockey Club in Division Three North East, then Norfolk Nomads Men's Hockey Club in Division Six North East. On the Ladies' side of the game both Norwich City Hockey Club and Norwich Dragons Hockey club play in East Hockey's Division One North, two levels below National League. Following them the students from the University of East Anglia Women's Hockey Club play in the Norfolk Premier Division. Also in Norwich there is the veterans only side Norwich Exiles.

Outside the city boundary, the dry ski and snowboarding slopes of Norfolk Ski Club is located at Whitlingham Lane in Trowse. Located close by in the parish of Whitlingham is the Whitlingham Country Park[142] home to the Outdoor Education Centre.[143] The centre is based on the south bank of the Great Broad which is also used by scuba divers from one of the city's three diving schools and other water and land sports.[144]

Norwich has two main rowing clubs in the Yare Boat Club, which is the older but smaller of the two, based on an island on the River Yare accessed from beside the Rivergarden pub on Thorpe Road in Norwich; and Norwich Rowing Club which is larger and, in partnership with Norwich Canoe Club, UEA Boat Club, Norwich School Boat Club and Norwich High School Rowing Club, has recently built a new boat house alongside Whitlingham Little Broad and the River Yare. Norwich Canoe Club[145] specialise in sprint and marathon racing. They hold the highest British Canoe Union[146] Top Club Gold accreditation and are one of the more successful clubs in the UK. Ian Wynne, 2004 Olympics K1 500m bronze medallist, is an honorary member of the club.

Speedway racing was staged in Norwich both before and after World War II at The Firs Stadium on the Holt Road, Hellesdon. The Norwich Stars raced in the Northern League of 1946 and the National League Division Two between 1947 and 1951, winning it in 1951. They were subsequently elevated to the National League and raced at the top flight until the stadium was closed at the end of the 1964 season.[147] One meeting was staged at a venue at Hevingham but the event, staged without an official permit, did not lead to a revival of the sport in the Norwich area.

In the world of boxing, Norwich can boast former European and British lightweight champion Jon Thaxton,[148] reigning English light heavyweight champion Danny McIntosh[149] and heavyweight Sam Sexton, a former winner of the Prizefighter tournament.[150] Based in Norwich-Herbie Hide has been WBO Heavyweight World Champion twice. He won the championship in 1994–95 and for a second time in 1997.[151]

Norwich also have a UK Baseball team the Norwich Iceni who compete at the Single A level of the BBF.[152] The team were founded in 2015 with players from the UEA Blue Sox who wished to carry on playing after university. The team officially joined the league in 2017 and were crowned BBF Single A champions in their first season going undefeated with 17 wins.[153]

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