St Helena Island loves its sports. Below are some of the main sports on the island.
Football is played in a competetive league over the weekend during the islands winter, organised by the St. Helena Football Association and featuring teams with names like “Bellboys”, “Wirebirds”, “Rovers” and “Crystal Rangers”. Games are played on Francis Plain, adjacent to Prince Andrew’s School, the only area of flat land on the island big enough to contain football pitches.
There is also a competitive league and a Knock Out Cup for junior members, normally organised before the senior football.
Teams such as the “Jamestown Zodiacs”, “St Mathhew’s Lions”, “Western B Warriors” and “HTH Dolphins” battle each week in the summer to win the league, knock-out or district competitions, organised by the St. Helena Cricket Association. Matches are played on Francis Plain.
In April 2012 St. Helena competed in its first international tournament, the ICC Africa Division 3 T20 Tournament. It was held in South Africa where Saint Helena beat Mali, Gambia, Cameroon and Morocco. They finished in fifth place out of eight teams.
Quoting from the International Cricket Council’s St. Helena page:
It is not clear when cricket was introduced to St. Helena Island, but there are references to it being played on the island in the early part of 1844. The earliest records so far discovered, however, are the minutes of the meetings of the St. Helena Cricket League, which date from 1903. It would seem from these minutes that the St. Helena Cricket League was the governing body regulating the game on the island. There were local teams centred in the major areas of population, such as the capital, Jamestown and various regiments of the British Army garrisoned on St. Helena from time to time.
In 1934, the St. Helena Cricket Club was formed to be the umbrella organisation controlling both the league and the district competitions. The island’s governor at the time appears to have been instrumental in this and both he and his successor involved themselves in the management activities of the club over the years leading up to the Second World War. The senior clergy and members of the prominent families on the island also took a close interest in the administration of cricket throughout those four decades of the 20th century. The common theme from those early records of 1903 to the end of the 1930s was the financial difficulty the administrators had in the provision and replacement of the matting wickets.
Both World Wars brought increases in the military establishment on the island and this corresponded to increases in the number of cricket teams. There were 15 teams participating at one point in the 1940s. In 1958, the St. Helena Cricket Club was replaced by the St. Helena Cricket Association (SHCA), which still operates today.
St. Helena has a 9-hole golf couse (you go round twice). Set up at Longwood, there is also a club house for that all important 19th hole banter and refreshments. Anyone can play – just contact the club to make arrangements. You can even borrow some clubs and there is a warm welcome for visiting golfers.
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The St. Helena Moto-Cross club organises a National Championship, where participants compete in four different classes: 125 Class; 250 Class; Open Class and Youth Class, and also the annual “Robert Glanville Piston Cup” (after the late Robert Glanville, a fallen local biker enthusiast). The club has been in action since 1986 and operates from the Moto-Cross track in Bradley’s (Longwood).
St. Helena’s Mountain Bike Trail opened in September 2014, on a track at Weather Station Ridge. The trail is over 3,000 metres long with just one section about 500 metres long which has to be used on both the outward and return run. Most of the trail is one big loop with a second smaller loop near the start of the trail; the smaller loop could be used for children and newcomers to practice their mountain biking skills.
The full route starts by twisting around the beautiful “Paint Box”, then drops sharply downhill (through some rather thorny Tungi bushes!) to the gut below Cox’s Battery before rising in a steady but tiring uphill back to the start.
Other sports played on the island include Basketball/Netball, Volleyball, Rounders and Table Tennis. There are also Skittles teams in every community centre with an active nine-a-side league. There is a Rifle Club in Jamestown and Saints compete internationally in small-bore shooting.
St. Helena regularly competes in international sporting events; for example the Commonwealth Games and Youth Games, and in the Island Games, our team being organised by the National Amateur Sports Association of St. Helena (which is also St. Helena’s Commonwealth Games Association). Teams are always entered in Shooting and usually swimming. In the past St. Helena has also participated in badminton or running.
In 2013 at the Island Games St. Helena won a Gold Medal in shooting (Simon Henry won Gold and Silver medals and Carlos Yon won Silver).
At the 2015 Island Games the St. Helena 2015 Island Games Team won silver and bronze medals. Madolyn Andrews and Chelsea Benjamin won bronze medals in the ISSF 50m Prone Smallbore Rifle Women’s Team event and Madolyn and Kayleigh Harris were awarded a silver medal in the 50m 3 Position Smallbore Rifle Women’s Team event. With St Helena coming in at 22nd overall position at the Games out of 24 teams.