Top Borders teams in contention

Peebles hockey team, one of the squads in the running (picture by Brian Sutherland)
Peebles hockey team, one of the squads in the running (picture by Brian Sutherland)

Voting has opened for the 2017 Live Borders Celebration of Sport Awards, sponsored by GB Technologies.

Now in their fifth year, the awards have been created to recognise the wealth of sporting talent that exists within the region, from sports personalities to teams, coaches, clubs and events.

An expert judging panel will decide the winners in some of the specialist categories, but two of the accolades will be decided by a public vote and the shortlist of these nominees was unveiled this week.

In the running for Sports Personality of the Year are three sporting giants who flew the flag for the Scottish Borders at the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. Rugby 7s silver medallist Mark Robertson, Libby Clegg, who achieved double gold on the track, and mountain bike supremo Grant Ferguson.

The contenders for Team of the Year are Gala Fairydean Rovers Disability Football Team, Peebles Ladies Hockey Team and Kelso Ladies Hockey Team.

This award is being sponsored by Border Embroideries and manager William Smillie said the firm was delighted to be involved once again.

“As a business, we understand the importance of working together as a team and the importance of having the ability to work together towards a common vision,” he said.

“In that respect, the three teams on this year’s shortlist have excelled and all thoroughly deserve to be recognised.”

To vote, just fill out the form on page 67 of this week’s Southern Reporter and hand it in to any Borders Sport and Leisure Centre, or go to the Borders Sport and Leisure Facebook page to vote online. The winners of all the categories of the Celebration of Sport Awards will be revealed at a special ceremony at Springwood Hall, Kelso, on Friday, March 3.

Tickets for the Celebration of Sport 2017 are still available. To book, contact the booking line on 01896 661150. Team nominees are:

GFR DISABILITY FOOTBALL

Having started up in 2012 as a physical activity session, aimed at reducing social isolation for adults with a learning disability, GFR Disability Football Team now plays competitively in the

Scottish Football Association National Disability League the Scottish Disability Sport National Championships.

The team has a regular attendance of 10 enthusiastic players who train weekly with Gala Fairydean Rovers’ coaches.

In 2015, the squad competed at their first SDS National Championships at Toryglen GFR proudly reached the semi-final stage in their classification. In 2016, the squad reach the final before being narrowly beaten to gain second place having won five consecutive games.

The 2015-16 League season proved to be a magnificent turn around, with the team competing for top. In each fixture, they were either first or second in the table. The last fixture proved the turning point when they narrowly lost out to the eventual champions.

PEEBLES LADIES HOCKEY TEAM

Peebles Hockey Ladies have successfully been promoted the last two years. After suffering relegation at the end of 2013-14 to East of Scotland Division Two, the ladies bounced back and gained promotion back to Divison One in 2014-15, winning 11 games in the process.

The ladies went from strength to strength and continued their winning ways, which saw them dominate Division One in season 2015-16 and gain promotion as champions back to the Premier League. Until September 2016 ,they played a total of 27 consecutive matches undefeated, having not conceded a league match since March 2015.

Peebles Hockey Ladies have encouraged so many players to return to the sport that a second team is now being formed.

Some of the ladies are now coaching at the High School in their spare time to help the youngsters and staff build a development pathway, both indoors and out.

KELSO LADIES HOCKEY CLUB

The 2015-16 season for Kelso Ladies 1st XI was very different to the previous year.

A bit of movement between the firsts and second XI resulted in a shuffle of players, with some of the younger players stepping up into the premier division.

A productive pre-season, a regular coach and change of formation allowed for more attacking play while holding strong in defence. The mix of experience and young fast players worked very well.

The opening half of the season was very much a see-saw of results and some very close games but, towards the end of the year, the team settled and began a winning streak which continued into the second half of the season. In the end, they finished third in the East Division Premier League with not much space between them and the second-placed side. They won nine games, drew six and lost six, scoring 42 goals and conceding 36.