They’re the best in Tweeddale

Tweeddale Sports Awards
Tweeddale Sports Awards

THE great and the good or the Tweeddale sporting fraternity turned out in force on Friday night to honour achievements, both local and national, of the past 12 months.

Hosted by the Tweeddale Sports Council, the event proved as popular as ever with many of the region’s top sportsmen and women attending along with friends, family, supporters and officials from a variety of activities. The purpose of the evening was to recognise the outstanding achievements of athletes, volunteers and coaches in the Tweeddale area and council chairman Jim Noble paid tribute to all of the above in his opening remarks.

He said: “I am always so proud to stand here on our annual awards evening and see before me the host of talent we have in such a small area.”

He also paid tribute to council vice-chair Neil Calvert who is stepping down from the post after many years’ service.

A sense of anticipation hovered over the room as the awards got under way and the large audience didn’t have long to wait to find out who had taken the top honours.

And, having only been back in the country for a week, international show jumper and Olympic hopeful Scott Brash, pictured right, was delighted to be named the Sports Personality of the Year. Having spent the last three months showcasing his talent in America, the 26-year-old admitted he was humbled at receiving this award from his local community and to be among so many high achievers from his area.

He told TheSouthern: “It’s just great. I have really enjoyed tonight. When you are working so hard on your own discipline you don’t often get the time to sit back and see what other people have been doing and in that respect I was quite surprised to see how well athletes from this area are doing. It’s great for myself and for them to be recognised by the community they live in.”

Brash, who will find out whether he has been selected for the GB Olympic team in July, also said that to compete at London in September would be a dream come true.

“I have always been a sporty person,” he added. “I enjoyed and played football when I was younger and was quite good at it, but there came a point when I had to choose what sport I wanted to do and I chose show jumping. It’s what I love doing and it has paid off. Olympic selection would be the icing of the cake.”

Guest speaker on the evening was former Tennis Scotland president Christine Lawrie who entertained the audience with the story of her journey along many sporting pathways.

There were many similar success stories on the night including news, hot off the press, of the Peebles High School netball success (see page 23 for details) and also that international athlete Olivia O’Hare would be following in her brother Chris’ footsteps in achieving a sports scholarship for the University of Tulsa in America.

And the winners were ... Sports Personality of the Year: Scott Brash (show jumping); Junior Sports Personality: Jo Pettitt (netball); Coach of the Year: Jimmy Moffat (football); Junior Coach: Faye Nicholson (athletics and netball); Team of the Year: Peebles Tennis Club Ladies Team; SALSC/sport scotland Service to Local Sport: Heather Robertson (tennis); SALSC National Award for Service to Sport: David Swan (rugby).

National Sporting Honours Awards: Scout Adkin, Sarah McCormack (athletics/hill running); Scott Brash (show jumping); Lewis Buchanan, Grant Ferguson, Lucy Grant, Katy Winton (mountain biking); Caillie Douce, Jo Pettitt (netball); Stacey Downie, Olivia O’Hare, Anne Peacock (athletics); Linda Nicholson, Susan Ridley (masters athletics); Isabel Knox (ultra running); Faye Nicholson (long jump); David Quarrie (wheelchair badminton); Paul Shanks (snooker); Ellie Savage (cricket); Naomi Symonds (volleyball); Taylor Winyard (tetrathlon).