Reading is home to a number of professional sports teams and various amateur sports clubs.

Football

The Madejski Stadium, home of Reading Football Club and formerly London Irish

Reading is the home of Reading Football Club, an association football club nicknamed The Royals, formed in 1871.[1] Formerly based at Elm Park, the club plays at the 24,161 capacity[2] Madejski Stadium, named after chairman Sir John Madejski. After winning the 2005–06 Football League Championship with a record of 106 points, Reading F.C. spent two seasons in the Premier League[3] before being relegated to The Championship. During their Premier League first season, they fractionally missed-out on UEFA Cup qualification.

Reading Town Football Club, formed in 1966,[4] played at Scours Lane and were playing in the Hellenic League Premier Division prior to folding in June 2016. Reading City Football Club (Formerly Highmoor Ibis) have since moved back to Scours Lane having formerly played there up to 2011 which was renamed Rivermoor Stadium in 2016 upon the clubs return and currently play in the Hellenic League Premier Division.

Rugby

Reading was a centre for rugby union football in the area, with the Aviva Premiership team London Irish as tenants at the Madejski Stadium until they moved back to London into the Brentford Community Stadium at the start of the 2020-21 Premiership Season. Reading is home to three senior semi-professional rugby clubs; Reading Abbey R.F.C., Redingensians R.F.C. and Reading R.F.C.

Palmer Park Stadium

Main article: Palmer Park Stadium

Palmer Park Stadium

Palmer Park Stadium within Palmer Park has a velodrome and athletics track. It is used by Palmer Park Velo, Reading Athletic Club[5] and the Berkshire Renegades for training.[6]

Basketball

The Reading Rockets basketball club plays in the English Basketball League.

Hockey

Reading Hockey Club enter teams in both the Men's and Women's England Hockey Leagues.

Rowing

Reading Rowing Club on the River Thames

Rowing is pursued by the Reading Rowing Club, the Reading University Boat Club,[7] both next to Caversham Bridge whilst Reading Blue Coat School trains in Sonning adjacent to The Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake in Caversham, which provides training facilities for the GB National Squad.[8] However almost all club rowing is done on the River Thames. The annual Reading Town Regatta takes place near Thames Valley Park,[9] with the Reading Amateur Regatta taking place in June, usually two weeks prior to Henley Royal Regatta.

Speedway

The town was home to a motorcycle speedway team, Reading Racers. Speedway came to Reading in 1968 at Tilehurst Stadium, until the team moved to Smallmead Stadium in Whitley,[10] which was demolished at the end of 2008. The team was inactive pending the building of a new stadium, which it was hoped to complete in 2012.[11] The team reformed in 2016 joining the newly formed Southern Developmental League the following year. The team currently races in Swindon awaiting a new stadium in Reading to be built to return to the town in.

Marathon

The Reading Half Marathon 2004 climbing Russell Street in West Reading
The Reading Half Marathon 2004 climbing Russell Street in West Reading

The Reading Half Marathon is held on the streets of Reading in March of each year, with 16,000 competitors from elite to fun runners.[12] It was first run in 1983 and took place in every subsequent year except 2001, when it was cancelled because of concerns over that year's outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.[13]

Triathlon

The British Triathlon Association was formed at the town's former Mall health club on 11 December 1982.[14] Britain's first-ever triathlon took place just outside Reading at Kirtons's Farm in Pingewood in 1983 and was revived in 1994 and 95.[15] Thames Valley Triathletes, based in the town, is Britain's oldest triathlon club, having its origins in the 1984 event at nearby Heckfield, when a relay team raced under the name Reading Triathlon Club.[16]

Other sports

The Hexagon theatre was home to snooker's Grand Prix tournament, one of the sport's "Big Four", from 1984 to 94.[17][18]

The town hosts Australian rules football team Reading Kangaroos and American football team Berkshire Renegades.

Reading-born Richard Burns became the first Englishman to win the World Rally Championship, in 2001.[19]

Reading has previously been the town in which two former Formula One teams, Canadian constructor Walter Wolf Racing (from 1977-1979) and Brazilian constructor Fittipaldi Automotive (from 1977-1982), based their headquarters. Former Formula One driver Innes Ireland (who is best known for racing for Team Lotus from 1959-1961, as well as driving for British Racing Partnership and BRM between 1962 and 1966), lived in Reading until he succumbed to cancer at the tender age of 63 in 1993.

References

  1. ^ "The History of Reading Football Club". Reading Football Club. 2 May 2010. Archived from the original on 4 February 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  2. ^ "Madejski Stadium information". Reading Football Club. 4 August 2010. Archived from the original on 7 May 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  3. ^ Fordham, Jonny (8 July 2009). "Nicky Shorey doubts Reading FC's '106' record will be beaten". Reading Post. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Reading Town News Season 2010/11". Uhlsport Hellenic Football League. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  5. ^ "How to Join". Reading Athletic Club. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  6. ^ "About us". Berkshire Renegades American Football Club. Archived from the original on 15 May 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
  7. ^ "Home". Reading University Boat Club. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  8. ^ "Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake". BBC News. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  9. ^ "find". Reading Town Regatta. Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Tears and Glory". Reading Speedway. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  11. ^ "Work extension to start new Reading stadium". BBC News. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  12. ^ "Reading Half Marathon 2010 Race Info". Reading Half Marathon. Archived from the original on 10 September 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  13. ^ "Reading half marathon 2011 'will be biggest yet'". BBC News. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  14. ^ "British Triathlon Celebrates 25th Anniversary". Triathlon. 11 December 2007. Archived from the original on 6 July 2010. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  15. ^ "History of triathlon". British Triathlon. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  16. ^ "Triathlon's coming home... to Reading". Reading Chronicle. 13 January 2010. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  17. ^ "Snooker Legends". Reading Arts. Archived from the original on 25 November 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  18. ^ "Snooker: A vacuum at the Hexagon before Taylor stages a clean sweep". The Independent. UK. 13 October 1992. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  19. ^ "Former world champion Burns dies". BBC News. 26 November 2005. Retrieved 2 September 2010.