My first year as Sports Journalist for Weston Mercury and North Somerset Times

PUBLISHED: 10:30 01 May 2020

Mercury Staff Josh Thomas.    Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Mercury Staff Josh Thomas. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Archant

On April 29, I completed my first year in the role as an apprentice sports reporter for the Weston Mercury and sister title North Somerset Times.

Josh Thomas and Ryan Cullen at SilverstoneJosh Thomas and Ryan Cullen at Silverstone

During the last 12 months I have seen various different sports, covered a range of sporting events and travelled to some parts of the country I’d never have thought I would ever have had the pleasure of visiting.

From the first day I walked in my duty has always been to give back to Weston and the community the coverage it deserves.

I have seen some historical moments, anniversaries, milestones and found out how special sport is in this town.

Every club and individual helps make this the place to be and I have really enjoyed covering all the different sports available, some I would never have thought of watching and taking part in.

Some past and present Weston Mercury and North Somerset Times reporters including Josh (second from left fron row).Some past and present Weston Mercury and North Somerset Times reporters including Josh (second from left fron row).

Amongst the highlights include seeing Weston Cricket Club beat relegation, especially their win over Wimborne to keep them up. The scenes at Devonshire Road afterwards will be something I will never forget.

Another highlight saw me travel to Silverstone to go behind the scenes at the home of British racing for a piece on Ryan Cullen.

As a child I can always remember watching Formula One British Grand Prix races on television and it was always a dream of mine to visit the circuit.

I can still remember coming over the bridge into the paddock where I could feel the ground vibrate below me as the cars accelerated fast by.

Peter Trego and Sam Trego celebrate Weston beating relegation after beating WinterbournePeter Trego and Sam Trego celebrate Weston beating relegation after beating Winterbourne

It was a day I had always dreamt about but to experience it is something I will always treasure.

Another memory I have is one that is something I will always hold in my heart.

When I was 14 my dad and I went to Ninian Park to watch Cardiff City play Luton Town.

I can still remember the atmosphere when I walked in and seeing my beloved Bluebirds for the first time.

Scott Laird scores for Weston in the first half of their game against Truro City.         Picture: MARK ATHERTONScott Laird scores for Weston in the first half of their game against Truro City. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Chris Barker was in the heart of defence and his death in January was a big shock, but none so more than Weston, where he had been their assistant manager and player.

But what will stand out in my mind is the day of his death and the game against Truro City at The Optima Stadium. Of all the games I have ever attended this will be one of the best I have ever seen.

Not only was it an emotional day but to see the Seagulls score two goals in injury time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat to send the place rocking is something that will always stay with me. It was like the town and the club had come together.

Despite those three stand-out moments there have been plenty more and I have been able to meet so many wonderful people and had the pleasure to be invited to celebratory events like attending both the Weston and Congresbury cricket club dinners.

Especially the latter as it was their 175th anniversary where I still feel grateful to have been part of their celebrations.

I have also enjoyed writing features on Weston’s forgotten heroes like Doug Atwell and Michael ‘Rocky’ Regan.

When I started this job, I knew this town had a long sporting history, but only by coming here I now know they have a future and one that is filled with so many great sports personalities and clubs.

As I look back on my first year, I look forward to the future and seeing all of our teams back in action again.

Ever since walking into the office on that day in April last year, I have learnt a lot from just being here and all the people I have worked with.

Despite the size of the town, it is more than made up of in teams and all the sporting individuals.

Lastly, I thank each and everyone of you for the warm welcome you have given me in the last 12 months. It hasn’t been easy at times but all of you helped make me realise why I wanted to get involved as a sports reporter in the first place.

Once again thank you from the bottom of my heart and I hope we can all come out of this stronger and move forward together.

It’s been a privilege and honour to be part an ongoing, progressive and vibrant team to serve the readership of both the Mercury and North Somerset Times.


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