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SWINDON SPORT TOP 100, 2013: PART THREE - 30-11
5:30am Monday 30th December 2013 in Sport
#30 Mark Cooper
Swindon Town’s fourth managerial option of the year has had to deal with off-the-pitch confusion and a youthful squad learning their way in the Football League.
Along with assistant Luke Williams, the former Peterborough boss has established a style of play which, while hardly infallible, has had the County Ground applauding aplenty.
Before taking over in the summer, the 45-year-old helped Kevin MacDonald guide Town to a play-off place following the resignation of Paolo Di Canio manfully given the circumstances.
Now Cooper’s Robins boast the best home record of any team in League One this season. If only they could transfer that form onto their travels.
#29 Akki Gomel
The Indian Under 19 international has been a revelation since arriving on these shores to play for Purton in the Wiltshire Cricket League.
Gomel was a run machine for Purton in their romp to the league title and subsequent promotion back to the West of England Premier League, while he also contributed plenty with the ball.
But Gomel’s runs and wickets were not the only positives of his summer in Wiltshire. He also made a major impact on the club’s junior circuit and Purton are trying desperately hard to recruit him again for 2014.
28: Dave Turner
In a year of minimal success for Swindon’s non-league football sides, Turner was the most successful manager on the circuit.
He once again steered Wootton Bassett Town to promotion from Hellenic League Division One West on a minimal budget before making the move to Shrivenham in the summer.
Turner has reshaped the squad at Barrington Park as he looks to keep the side in the Hellenic Premier.
#27 Keith Mayo
Mayo was responsible for bringing one of the biggest fights Swindon has ever hosted to the town in December, when Kelvin Young won the IBO Inter-Continental super middleweight title. The Greenbridge-based promoter was a major driving force behind Young’s resurgence, which culminated in victory over Bulgarian Alexey Ribchev, and spent many hours pushing the value and virtues of boxing in the town.
#26 Tom McEwen
The Badgerstown youngster started the year with selection onto British Eventing’s World Class Development Programme and never looked back.
McEwen went on to win a place in the GB side which competed at the European Championships in August, though any dreams of making an impact there didn’t materialise, on his horse Diesel.
The eventer starred at Gatcombe in August, with victories in the Advanced section, and continued his development as he looked to make a major impression on the international equestrian scene.
#25 Matt Mumford
Swindon golfer Mumford earned himself the trip of a lifetime after winning the inaugural Lee Westwood Golf Tour Players Championship in October.
The Wrag Barn youngster fired a superb three-under-par 69 at Gainsborough Golf Club in Lincolnshire last Saturday to see off competition from a 60-strong field.
The teenager was rewarded with the top prize of a week-long trip to Ryder Cup stalwart Westwood’s golf school in Orlando, Florida, which he will attend in 2014.
#24 Jess Mendoza
The Tockenham showjumping star has spent 2013 showing that her success at Juniors level was easily transferrable to senior jumping with a string of impressive displays. The 17-year-old broke into the world top 20 and put in a superb showing at Olympia, as well as events in continental Europe. During the first half of the year, at Junior level, she was also selected for the British team which won silver at the European Championships in Spain. Finally, Mendoza came second in the Young Riders Showjumping Championship at the Horse of the Year Show at the NEC in October.
#23 Paddy Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick was an unknown entity nationally when George Groves asked him to take over from Adam Booth and train him for his title fight with Carl Froch.
Groves ended up losing on a controversial stoppage in November but he has since indicated that he wants Fitzpatrick to continue in his role as trainer.
Locally, the Irishman is as busy as ever as he tries to inspire a generation of young Swindonians through boxing, including up-and-coming star Luke Watkins.
#22 Jed McCrory
Mr Marmite, you either loved or loathed the second of Swindon Town’s three chairmen in 2013.
McCrory fronted a consortium which kept Town out of administration in January with a rushed purchase following Andrew Black’s decision to step aside.
Though his style was not to everyone’s liking, and controversy seemed to follow him around like a lost child, the outspoken McCrory put in plenty of hours behind the scenes to allow the club to move towards a more stable and sustainable financial footing.
#21 Richard Farnan
Kelvin Young’s coach was a major factor in the Penhill boxer’s comeback of comebacks.
Farnan coaxed Young to an IBO Inter-Continental super middleweight title, which he secured with victory over Bulgarian opponent Alexey Ribchev at the Oasis in December.
Before the fight, Young said Farnan should take the bulk of the credit if he ended up lifting the belt. “Rich is the main reason I am where I am,” the brawler told the Advertiser. “He has got me to a different level.”
#20 Simon Belcher
Swindon’s number one motorsport star enjoyed a successful year by defending his Masters Cup class title.
Belcher claimed victory during a dramatic, rain-hit final round of the season at Brands Hatch in October and was rewarded for his efforts when he realised a dream in November by securing a drive in the 2014 British Touring Cars Chamoionship. The 39-year-old will spend next year racing for the Speedworks Motorsport team in one of their Toyota Avensis cars.
#19 Jake Goodwin
Swindon’s latest cricketing prodigy made a name for himself in the club’s first XI as they won promotion from the West of England Premier League Wiltshire Division at the first time of asking.
Goodwin, who was later rewarded with an academy contract at Hampshire, was also picked for the Wiltshire Academy tour to Dubai in the spring and received a call-up to the South West England side which featured in the Bunbury Cricket Festival in Durham in July. The teenager contributed plenty of runs in the middle order for Swindon and, after shrugging off a back injury, showed he’s no mug with the ball either with 4-18 against Great Bedwyn.
#18 Richard Ward
The Wrag Barn Juniors chief has coached his fledgling golfing stars into a formidable force in the region.
Ward’s kids qualified for the International Final after finishing runner-up in the National Finals this year – his team becoming the first club in Wiltshire to achieve such a feat in the process, and for good measure Wrag Barn also won the Wiltshire Championships as well.
Finally, Ward has played a prominent part in the development of young sensation Katie Warren, who herself has had an astonishing year.
#17 Katie Warren
The golfing starlet broke the gender barrier this year by becoming the first woman to ever win the Wrag Barn Club Championship.
Warren pipped Josh Loughrey to the title in September by one shot and also clinched girls glory at the 28th Hills Wiltshire Junior Championships held at North Wilts Golf Club in late summer. Warren was also part of the Wrag side which triumphed in the County Scratch Knockout at Bowood in October – an event which forms part of the Wiltshire Ladies County Golf Association finals day.
#16 Tilly Gray
It was a year full of medals for the swimmer, whose most notable achievement came thousands of miles away in California.
Gray won the 200m butterfly at the US Open in August in a time which means she will go on to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next summer. The Loughborough student also claimed two bronze medals in the 200m and 100m butterfly at the British Gas Swimming Championships at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.
#15 Anna Mayes
Mayes coached England’s netball team to Ashes victory over Australia and guided her side to 12 wins from 13 outings during the national outfit’s campaign.
The 3-0 whitewash of the Aussies – the number one team in the world – has led many to suggest England can win Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow next year.
She was rewarded with a nomination for the high performance coach of the year in the 2013 Sports Coach UK Awards.
#14 Troy Batchelor
Australian Batchelor started the year in style as he claimed his first national championship with a clean sweep of all three rounds Down Under. Upon returning to Europe to ride for Swindon for a second-straight year, the 26-year-old upped his average and was the club’s most consistent performer throughout the campaign.
Following Chris Holder’s season-ending injury Batchelor was named Australia captain for the World Cup and led his side to the bronze medal in Prague, before ending his season with a Grand Prix debut in Torun during which he held his own against the best in the world.
#13 Craig Miles
The former Purton seamer had a breakthrough year with his first-class county club, Gloucestershire, taking plenty of wickets in the County Championship.
Miles took 6-88 against Lancashire in May and followed that up with two more five-wicket hauls as he made his mark with 50 wickets in all competitions and a four-day average of 30.58.
The Swindon-born bowler was rewarded for his progress with a new contract in Bristol in September.
#12 Patrick McDonagh
McDonagh won the third national title of his career in December with a convincing points victory over Northampton’s Ben Fail in the final of the Youth Ambition Championships.
The success was the sixth national title secured by a member of Walcot ABC’s prestigious McDonagh family.
There was some heartache for McDonagh, however, as he exited the Junior ABAs at the southern semi-final stage with defeat to Repton’s Jimmy Smith in Portsmouth back in May.
#11 Jimmy McDonagh
The Walcot boxer won gold in the Three Nations Schoolboy Championships in Warrington in June, following in the footsteps of his brothers Patrick and Tommy.
McDonagh was then selected for the England Schoolboys in October and won his bout against Irish champion James Brennan in County Mayo.
The 15-year-old continues to preserve a proud family and club tradition with his success in the ring.
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