Harrogate had a recent visit from a sports start as former international cricketer Kieren 'Beefy' Blake, with his colleague, journalist Rob Bryers, stopped off in Harrogate to be guests at the 365 Invitational Challenge Cup, named in their honour.
Beefy and Rob are undertaking a year long international odyssey to see (and maybe try) 365 different sports in 365 days. The Harrogate visit was to see sport number 143 - VX.
Before the event Beefy and Rob went along to Summerbridge Primary School to meet the children who are in the after-school VX Club. After a fun afternoon during which the children taught them how to play VX it was on to an interview with Stray FM and then to Harrogate Squash Club for the tournament.
With a number of top players invited, the scene was set for an evening of high-octane VX and the players certainly didn't disappoint. From two groups of four the players then played ranking matches. Top of Group 1 was VX International's sponsored player, former World Champion and Head Coach of Ripon VX Club, Tom Hildreth who was to face reigning World Champion Scott Snowdon in the final.
Before the final however, Beefy and Rob were presented with plaques by the sport's patron, inspirational blade-runner Phil Sheridan and then Beefy tried his hand at the sport in a short match against Masters player Karen Bruin who showed him how much of a work out the sport can give!
In a wonderful advert for the sport Tom and Scott showed a perfect example of the sport at the top level.The match simply had everything, including high drama. All square 43:43 at half time, Scott pulled ahead in the second half to lead by 12 points at one stage but Tom fought back hard and in an intense final flurry pulled the game back but Scott managed to squeeze home by a single point to win the match 88:87.
Beefy and Rob were delighted with the day. Beefy said: "it was a fantastic day. We enjoyed obviously getting from the grass roots right up to the top level and seeing the guys go at it hammer and tongs in the final was a great advert for the sport … and that five minute session I did with Karen - I was absolutely stuffed and it took me a good half hour to recover! Gotta be good for the old cardio-vascular!"
The 365 Challenge Cup will be an annual event featuring invited players from the very top level of VX.
Beefy's sporting journey has attracted attention from press, TV and radio. More information about the odyssey can be found on