New Year, New You? It’s a cliché now, but January’s the time to join a gym or five-a-side team.

Or... you could opt for a different sport, whether it be a fast-paced team game or an individual sport that’s all about precision.

There’s plenty of choice, as Richard Browne explains...

Somerset, an American football hotbed?

Well, there is a club for players in this part of the world – the Somerset Wyverns.

‘Rugby with pads’ or a ‘violent game of chess’... there’s no game like it.

Everyone on the team is taking part in their own battle on the field, as each side looks to outmanoeuvre the other for 60 minutes.

The Wyverns have adult and youth teams, allowing anyone aged 13+ to train with them.

Practice is at Victoria Park in Taunton (10am-noon for juniors and 11.45am-3pm for adults), unless otherwise announced on the club Facebook page (

The Facebook page is the best route for potential new recruits to contact the club members, who can also be reached via with any questions.

All rookies are expected to bring football/rugby boots, water and a gumshield if they possess one.

If a rather more sedate sport floats your boat, then angling may be the one for you.

Taunton Angling Association offers a way to relax in a natural environment.

Club member John Hunt adds: “You don’t even have to catch fish to enjoy it, but it helps if the weather is bad!”

You need an Environment Agency Licence to become a TAA member for the season (from June 16, for 12 months), with these licences available online or in local angling shops.

For more information on licences, equipment and costs, you can contact TAA via their website – – which also answers many other questions that novices may have.

Alternatively, if you fancy yourself a better shot than Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe and Taron Egerton, then archery might appeal.

And it just so happens that this corner of England is the place to be for archery clubs, with Bowmen of Danesfield, Wellington Bowmen and West Somerset Company of Archers all open to new members.

The former club meets at Danesfield School, Williton, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings.

The club is all-inclusive, with archers as young as seven, and all equipment is provided for beginners to get started.

For more details, visit or email

Club promotions officer Barry Iles said: “Archery is a fun activity where you can make friends, get fit in a gentle way and, if you wish, you can take part in a wide range of competitions.”

Wellington Bowmen, meanwhile, has been running since 2001, the club founded by Olympic archer Rachel Fenwick with Julie and John Morton.

Like Danesfield, Wellington is all-inclusive (age 11+) and open to those who want to shoot for fun or go on to compete.

There’s a wide range of bows and styles to try – longbow, barebow, flatbow, horsebow, recurve and compound – with all equipment provided.

Prospective members must attend a beginners course at the club (or another Archery GB-registered club), Wellington’s being held in April (already fully booked!), May and June this year.

The club meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and Sunday afternoons, at a range of venues in winter and at Court Fields School from March to October – see for details.

West Somerset Company of Archers, founded in 1955, meets at Wooten Courtenay Sports Field in summer (Wednesday and Friday evenings, and Sunday mornings) and indoors at Butlins camp in winter (Wednesday and Friday).

Another friendly club eager for new members (age 10+), the club holds six-week beginners courses at least three times per year, at a cost of £25 (all equipment provided).

If you have any questions, go to

‘Dunster Week’, a whole week of archery competition in the grounds of Dunster Castle, is a highlight of the Somerset tournament calendar.

This is The West Country:

FOCUS: Huish Taunton Tigers are the town's top basketball team.

Let’s up the pace and turn to another team sport now – basketball.

Huish Taunton Tigers is a performance development club that has teams at Under-12, U14, U16, U18 and men’s levels.

The U12 mixed session is open to all, taking place on Saturdays (11am-12.30pm) at Richard Huish College, the same time and venue as U10s.

The U14-U18 and men’s teams are for players selected through trials via the Somerset pathway.

This starts from schools or other Somerset clubs, such as Taunton Tornados.

You can get in touch via or

As for the Tornados, this is a participation development club which caters for all abilities.

Their U12 (mixed), U14 (mixed), U16 (mixed) and men’s teams all train on Friday nights at Bridgwater & Taunton College (Taunton campus).

An exciting game with good social and development opportunities, if you’d like to give basketball with the Tornados a whirl, contact

If you’d like to prove your point, there are a couple of local clubs where you can give fencing a go.

According to Wellington Swords’ Kirby Everett, the sport “develops individuals’ speed, strength and agility... while requiring mental agility, strategy and thinking”.

There are three weapons (foil, épée and sabre) for individuals to choose from, and Everett adds: “When we put down our swords and stop fighting, we enjoy each other’s company!”

Wellington Swords meet on Mondays and Thursdays at the Princess Royal Sports Complex, Wellington School, with the club’s members ranging from age eight to 84.

There are sessions for under-12s, over 12s and adults (from beginner level to advanced), and all equipment is provided so new recruits just need to bring sports kit, a drinks bottle and a small towel, as fencing does work up a sweat!

The best point of contact is or via

Alternatively, you may opt for Taunton Deane Blades, meeting on Wednesday evenings at the King’s Hall school gym.

Again, all equipment is provided, and the club offers a six-week beginners course (£20), plus sessions for juniors (8-15, 5.40-7pm, £5 per week) and seniors (16-80, 7-9pm, £7 per week or £20 monthly).

For more on them, email or text 07989 109707.

Another sport requiring poise and agility is gymnastics, and Quayside Trampoline & Gymnastics Club – based in East Quay, Bridgwater – is gaining a fine reputation with the international success of Laura Gallagher and Corey Walkes.

Not that it’s all about competition, with the centre open six days a week and offering sessions to children (from pre-school age), adults and people with disabilities too.

For more details, contact or 01278 458060.

Whirlwinds Academy, meanwhile, offers trampolining lessons at its base in Chelston Business Park.

The sessions run every weeknight and on Saturday mornings, catering for recreational (beginners) right through to international performers (age 3+).

For more details on learning this fun and fitness-boosting sport in a safe way, email

And now for something completely different... polo.

Taunton Vale Polo Club’s season runs from mid-April to mid-September, offering a fast-paced, social game on horseback.

Clearly this sport requires a horse, and the ability to ride it, but the club does offer ‘learn to play’ days for those with an equestrian background who want to try something new.

Taunton Vale’s Orchard Portman venue is the oldest polo ground in England (the club having been founded in 1911), and offers a social day out to watch an equestrian discipline with a twist.

For more details on learning to play, or how to go and watch, you can visit

This is The West Country: Members of Taunton Rowing Club on the River Tone in Taunton

ROW YOUR BOAT: New members are also welcome at Taunton Rowing Club.

Another county town stalwart is Taunton Rowing Club, which meets on Saturday and Sunday mornings in the winter months, as well as holding winter circuit training on Thursdays at Taunton School.

Newcomers are welcome to come down at 8.30am, the club members congregating at the north end of the COACH building in French Weir Park, opposite Longrun Meadow.

The club offers two free taster sessions, and if people wish to stick with the sport, there’s a six-session course for £90.

After completing that beginners’ course, club membership is available, with the current age range 13 to 72.

New recruits should bring sports kit and trainers, plus layers for the winter weather, a change of clothes and a towel.

Club member Steve Swan said: “There is nothing like the feeling of moving a boat fast in the water and winning a medal.

“We have a very friendly club atmosphere, and it is a great way to keep fit and enjoy the wildlife along the River Tone.”

For those who don’t actually want to row, the club is also looking to train up coxswains to steer the larger boats and assist coaches – ideally of a smaller and lighter stature.

For more details, contact or

Finally, we come to table tennis, which has thriving leagues in Taunton and Bridgwater.

Two of the biggest clubs in Taunton are Ark and YMCA.

Both run teams in the Taunton Table Tennis League, and YMCA has a club afternoon for over-50s on Fridays (2-4pm).

Taunton also has a couple of small clubs for casual players – Taunton Table Tennis Club (TTTC) meets on Friday evening (8pm) at Blackbrook Sports Centre.

There is also a table tennis night at Brittons Ash Community Hall (BACH) on Mondays (7.30-9.30pm) and Saturdays (10am-noon).

These cater for all ages and all you need to play is a bat and a ball, though TTTC does have some spare bats for newcomers.

It’s a simple sport to pick up, and to do so with TTTC, contact Tim Jennings via 07973295979 or

For BACH the best contact is Julie Byrne (07714 424 838,, and for the over-50s session at the YMCA it’s 01823 274667 or Brian Hunter via 01823 337850.

And to get more details on all the local clubs and league play, you can visit

But that’s not all folks! Look out for part two of our feature, tomorrow, right here on the County Gazette website.