Macclesfield Young Farmers Club team edge a tense evening of discourse

By Kevin Glenton

23rd Feb 2022 | Opinion

He strode into the chamber like a prize-fighter, ready to light up the audience one last time...

There would be no ring-walk anthem or haranguing, although present were an official timekeeper and a bell.

Cordiality, respect and the civility of the competition ensured that silence marked each one of his twenty steps to the spotlight.

Jordan Kenyon was about to give what could have been his final solo speech in a Cheshire Young Farmers Club senior debate.

Macclesfield's supporters Stuart Parks and Beth Candy lent their ears and support to the debate.

The 30-year-old and five other members of the Macclesfield Young Farmers Club debating team faced Middlewich in the second round on Monday night at Mere Parish Club.

Jordan's impromptu speech on working from home, prepared only minutes before, was part of a set structure involving each side proposing then seconding before a sparkling 12 minute cut-and-thrust rounded off the evening.

On the topic of his speech and the event itself he said: "It's always easy to talk when you're telling the truth.

"Middlewich are a class outfit. They've done it for a good few years.

Macclesfield awaits the judges' decision.

"We've met them in the final a lot. It's like a United - City third-round cup draw [tonight].

"The debate competition in general, I can't sing its praises highly enough.

"From a skillset and development point of view, through my career and Young Farmers, public speaking is something that doesn't come naturally to a lot of people."

The 12 minutes of point and counterpoint towards the end saw team members stand tall and deliver a direct response the other side, either from prepared notes or challenging facts and figures heard that evening.

A tight contest saw a majority verdict in favour of Macclesfield, who are now through to the county semi-finals.

Prior to the judges' tense announcement of Macclesfield's win, team members Emily Hamand and Katie Hooley described what it takes and what it means to stand up behind a proposal or opposition.

Emily, 23, said: "You've got be good at arguing, and me and Katie are very good at arguing."

She described how confidence and being willing to give anything a go while having fun were priorities and showed a great deal of respect for tonight's opponent, who they beat in the last final of this competition.

It was Katie's debut although she had given speeches before.

The crest for the winners, who will compete in the last four next month.

The 23-year-old said: "It was nerve-wracking. I was shaking, but it does help build your confidence and it's a transferrable skill that you can have for life."

Emily Hamand said teams are given the titles for debates, one agricultural and one non-agricultural, a week before and prepare with help on hand, and cake, from team coaches.

Debating has its roots in ancient Greece and a hotbed of discourse was found in 18th century London society.

For most of the evening, one side advances the reasons for the argument to the chair, judges and audience unopposed, before all hear the riposte.

The winning competitive debating team from Macclesfield: (back): Joey Symons, Jordan Kenyon, James Brunt. (front): Georgie Johnson-Greening, Emily Hamand, Katie Hooley,

Officials keep their eye on the clock and proceedings are genial, ordered and well-mannered respect for the opponent and the chair is welcoming.

You can click here to read all about the activities of Macclesfield Young Farmers Club.

The semi-finals of the Cheshire Young Farmers Club senior debate takes place on March 7 at a venue to be announced.

Congleton have also made the semi-final, having seen off Knutsford on Monday, please click here to read about Macc's potential next opponents..

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