2012 sporting review: a year of thrills and spillsBy Jon Couch
January 03, 2013
WHEN you talk about highs and lows of football, 2012 just about had it all for fans of our local clubs.
Aldershot Town started the year in the doldrums, came within one match of a possible play-off spot, then sunk back to the bottom of the table after a wretched start to the 2012-13 season.
As for Farnborough, they battled away bravely to survive the drop in Blue Square South and somehow ended the calendar year in the play-off places despite another torrid year off the field.
It was another year of reprieve for Fleet Town, who only avoided relegation to Step 5 due to the demise of others, while Badshot Lea led the fight to join them after a storming start to the Combined Counties League under rookie boss Mark Anderson.
In rugby, the misery continued for Camberley as they remain rooted to the foot of London 2SW, as it does for Aldershot & Fleet in Hampshire One despite promotion in May.
Undoubtedly though 2012 will be remembered for individual achievements, not least from our Olympians, in the year the Games came to London.
Camberley Judo veteran Karina Bryant finally claimed a hard-fought bronze medal in the heavyweight category, while Fleet's Alex Danson bagged a medal of the same colour as top scorer in the Team GB women's hockey team.
In the Paralympic Games, tennis players Peter Norfolk (Mens' Quad Singles silver) and Lucy Sjuker (Womens' Doubles bronze) were also triumphant.
Golfer Justin Rose also enjoyed a storming year, rising to a career high four in the world, while helping Team Europe to a memorable Ryder Cup success at Medinah.
So, in a time of year for resolutions and reflections, here is a selection of the best and worst moments of the year from the world of sport across the region...
Best moment/achievement of 2012 - Undoubtedly Karina Bryant. At the age of 33, the four-time European champion only just qualified for her fourth straight Games but battled against all odds to fulfil a childhood dream and claim Olympic bronze.
Team of 2012 - Aldershot Town enter 2013 ready to host Rotherham in the first FA Cup third round tie held at the EBB Stadium for 25 years. A club record run of six straight league victories starting in January turned a relegation scrap into a late push for the play-offs, but the work is not yet done for Dean Holdsworth's men this campaign.
Mention also to Farnborough, who battled off-the-field problems and a five-point deduction to beat relegation and end the year in the promotion mix, and Combined Counties high-fliers Badshot Lea.
Player of 2012 - Jamie Young. The Aldershot Town goalkeeper started the year as second string behind injury-hit Ross Worner, but ended it as stand-in captain and a near shoo-in for player of the year at the EBB with a string of superb performances.
Goal of 2012 - Peter Vincenti's screamer at Fleetwood Town which helped earn the Shots a FA Cup third-round berth.
Best game- Not the best quality wise it must be said, but Farnborough's 1-0 victory over Havant & Waterlooville in April was literally win or bust for Spencer Day's men, who were down to the bare bones in a tense battle for survival. Dan Bennett's third-minute goal proved just about enough as Boro battled to the points.
Aldershot Town's 2-0 home victory over Paolo Di Canio's promotion-seeking Swindon Town at the EBB was one for the memory.
Biggest disappointment- Danny Hylton's eight-game ban for racist abuse at Barnet in October 2011 was not a moment to savour for Aldershot Town. Josh Payne's imprisonment for assault at Guildford Crown Court in November, resulting in his contract being terminated, wasn't either.
‘Where are ya' award - With attendances at the EBB Stadium regularly dipping below 2,000 and under 400 at Farnborough, it was a year when fans voted with their feet. Aldershot's away support has been particularly disappointing at times.
Where did that come from award - Aldershot captain Ben Herd and his miracle summer hair growth.
Lonesome figure - The sight of Aldershot Town Chief Media Officer Graham Brookland looking on helpless beside his broken-down Peugeot on the hard shoulder of the M25 en route to Gillingham.
Shouldn't laugh award - The poor Hot Shots cheerleaders getting soaked by the sprinklers as they formed a pre-match guard of honour.
Bic Mac award - An unsuspecting Dean Holdsworth making a slight detour to pull into a McDonalds for a pre-match meal at Burton
Hopes for 2013 - Victory over Rotherham in the FA Cup on Saturday and a big home tie in round four.
Justin Rose wins a golf major.
Fears for 2013 - Don’t worry Shots fans, I’m not even going to go down that road!
One to watch - Reece Connolly. Finally resolved his future after becoming Farnborough's record signing from Aldershot. Now he's looking to fire himself back into the Football League.
Team of 2012: Young (Aldershot), Herd (Aldershot), Inns (Farnborough), Bradley (Aldershot), Treacher (Farnborough), Davis (Fleet), T Brown (Aldershot), Laidler (Farnborough), Ciardini (Farnborough), Reid (Aldershot), Cornell (Badshot Lea).