Zorb football, footgolf and boxing all celebrated in the Suffolk Show Sports Village

Sports village at the Suffolk Show 2016.
Isla Agar tries archery.

Sports village at the Suffolk Show 2016. Isla Agar tries archery. - Credit: Archant

Far from just being a showcase for traditional sports, the Suffolk Show Sports Village celebrated all walks of sporting life.

One of the most prominent displays was the zorb football arena hosted by Suffolk Sport.

Two teams of up to five players line up to take on the beautiful game dressed in zorb-ball style outfits, and compete in a raucous, fun game bouncing off each other more times than the football does while attempting to score a goal.

Remarkably, the Zorbaside company was launched by a trio of Framlingham footballers who fell in love with the game after a chance encounter with it across the border in Norfolk.

“We went to do it as a football team but the closest place was in Yarmouth,” said co-director Karl Smith, a Framlingham reserves footballer who formed the club with a group of team-mates.

“We loved it so we did a bit of research, put a bit of money in and started a business. As far as we know we are the only one in Suffolk.”

Formed at the end of October, the Framlingham-based Zorbaside has gone from strength to strength, setting up at corporate events, kids and adult parties and schools – with more events expected as the summer weather approaches.

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And the Suffolk Show has been key to helping the group raise awareness of the sport.

“It’s been really, really busy – we had about three or four hundred people in three one-hour sessions. We have discussed maybe setting up a league maybe in a year or two, but we do this in our own time so we need to build up the interest first,” Mr Smith added.

Elsewhere, more than 1,000 people flocked to the urban boxing tent by Suffolk Boxing to have a go at sparring with a punchbag, while dozens of other sports clubs including footgolf, archery, badminton, tennis, cycling and sprinting all held tasters for families to enjoy.

At the Fynn Valley footgolf tent, hundreds were able to have a go at the country’s fastest growing sport – just in time for the Euro 2016 competition.

“We were here last year but no one had any idea what it was,” said Dan Ferretti, regional manager for UK Footgolf.

“But it has really taken off in the last three of four months, and this [Suffolk Show] has been superb for it.”

With demand already high since the start of the year, organisers are hopeful the sport will continue to gain in popularity as the weather improves and the Euro 2016 tournament inspires people to have a kickabout themselves.

“The reason you know it is going on is because there is laughing going on all over the place,” Mr Ferretti said.

“The footballers come along expecting to get holes in one, and then they don’t so it’s a lot of fun, and accessible for a lot of families.”

But the sports on display didn’t just cater for youngsters – the ActivIpswich project was on hand to give taster sessions for older people who do not regularly take part in sport.

The project had put together a surface for playing Boccia, a seated Paralympic sport in which competitors try to get the ball closest to the jack, and featured adults and children alike enjoying the challenge.

As ActivIpswich project co-ordinator Mike McCarthy said, it’s a game that is easy to learn to play, but challenging to master well.

He added: “It’s been very busy and we have been raising awareness for the Boccia and New Age Kurling.

“Lots of people are really invested in the Boccia and it’s amazing how many people really find it entertaining.”

Over in the main arena there was sport of a different kind, this time on two wheels.

The Bolddog Lings freestyle motocross display team put on a show for large crowds as they performed stunts and tricks high in the air.

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