Olympic duo among Tweeddale winners

SALSC's award for service to local sport, John Barrington, is pictured with SALSC director Rick Kenney, left, and ClubSport Tweeddale chairman Colin Aitken (picture by Brian Sutherland)

SALSC's award for service to local sport, John Barrington, is pictured with SALSC director Rick Kenney, left, and ClubSport Tweeddale chairman Colin Aitken (picture by Brian Sutherland)

Talented Tweeddale athletes turned out in force last Friday for their annual regional ClubSport Awards, held at Peebles Golf Club.

Hosted by ClubSport Tweeddale chairman Colin Aitken, the evening was a true celebration of success for sportsmen and women of all ages and abilities.

And, with a brace of Olympians present, this year’s honours board was of the very highest calibre.

Peebles cyclist Grant Ferguson (23) rode off with the 2016 Sports Personality of the Year accolade, following a season which saw him named as the only Scot in Team GB’s mountain bike squad in Rio.

While riding mountain bike and cyclo-cross races for his Dutch team, Bart Brentjens MTB, Ferguson also rides on the road domestically for the Pedal Heaven team, although mountain biking remains a priority.

Riding in the men’s elite category, Ferguson won the first round of the British Cross-country Series in Llanelli in April and finished a creditable 17th in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Cairns, Australia, later that month, his first taste of a World Cup race at the elite level.

Other highlights in the first half of 2016 included a second place in round three of the British Cross-country Series in Dalby Forest, Pickering, behind Italy’s Marco Aurelio Fontana, and a 15th place in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Albstadt, Germany, in late May.

This was good enough to win Ferguson selection to the Rio Olympic Games where he finished a commendable 17 th from 40 of the world’s best riders in the men’s cross-country event.

“The Olympics was a huge achievement for me and quite unique in the fact you are representing your country as opposed to your racing team in World Cup events,” he said. “Saying that, you are racing the same boys, just in national kit, so the usual camaraderie is there.

“For me, the Olympics was a huge goal at the end of a four-year plan and I am delighted to have achieved that.

“I will have a bit of a break now and then it’s back to World Cups and building towards the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2018.”

Boccia star Patrick Wilson, who finished sixth in the Individual BC3 event in Rio, was named Disability Sports Personality of the Year.

The 21-year- old has travelled far and wide this year, competing at the very highest of levels, beginning in Beijing with a seventh place in the Individual World Championships.

In Montreal at the World Open in May, Patrick was beaten by team mate Jamie McCowan in the semi-final BC3 but bounced back to take bronze after a 5-2 win over Russia’s Aleksandr Legostaev. At the same event, Patrick and team mate Jamie McCowan, the British duo claimed the bronze medal in the pairs event.

In June, the dynamic duo won Bronze in the BC3 Category in the Povoa World Open, while Patrick also won Bronze in the BC3 individual open after taking on Brazil’s Evelyn Oliviera.

Golfer Darren Howie collected the Junior Sports Personality of the Year trophy. This year Darren (16) was part of the Scottish team that claimed their first Boys Home Internationals title in 10 years, beating England in the process.

In June, Darren was part of the Border Golf Association team in the Scottish Championship when he shot 68(-3) to win the individual prize.

He became the winner of the Steven Gallagher Foundation Trophy at MacDonald Cardrona before representing the home nation in the Scotland Boys’ team in the European Amateur Team Championships in Austria in July.

Peebles Golf Club’s course record was smashed in September in style by Darren, who now holds the course record of 61 scratch.

Hockey has been proving to be a big hit in the Tweeddale area over the past couple of years and the efforts of the Ladies 1 st XI and their coach Stuart Lobb were rewarded when they were named Team and Coach of the Year respectively.

Having gained promotion into East of Scotland Division One in 2015, the ladies went from strength to strength and continued their winning ways in season 2015-16, going the whole season unbeaten and gaining promotion as champions back to the Premier League, where they are currently fourth.

Millie Turton was named Junior Coach of the Year, having already gained her level one coaching qualification in gymnastics in 2016. Now working towards level two Millie continues to help at her former club where she is developing as a coach by implementing new skills and routines with

her groups.

Now in their 10 th year, Peebles Netball have enjoyed one of their most successful seasons in terms of increasing participation and encouraging volunteers, earning themselves the Club of the Year title.

The club runs four school teams on behalf of Peebles High School, as well as an adults section and, over the last year or so, has set up and runs competitive league structures across the Scottish Borders. At the other end of the scale, it launched a new league for Developers.

The club strives to enable every woman and girl to be able to play netball at their standard either recreationally or competitively and has also provided many opportunities for volunteers in whatever capacity their strength lies.

This year’s Scottish Association of Local Sports Councils Award for Service to Local Sport went to Judo coach John Barrington.

John has been involved in his sport for the past 50 years or so and arrived at Peebles Judo Club at its conception in 1999. He has given his time tirelessly for the past 17 years, helping both on and off the mat by encouraging, assisting and mentoring young and not so young players.

With the expansion of Peebles Judo into Outreach Judo, John stepped up his game to help at satellite clubs in Newlands, Selkirk, Biggar and school classes throughout Peebles.

Paying tribute to his former mentor, Colin Aitken said: “John is without doubt the pillar that holds Peebles Judo together. His calmness in a storm, unquestionable technical knowledge, dedication to his players and coaches alike makes him a worthy award winner.”