The region’s sports stars made it a perfect 10 for The News’ Sports Awards last night.
Hosted at Fratton Park’s Victory Lounge once again, professionals, amateurs, volunteers, coaches and enthusiasts across the whole spectrum of sport gathered for the 10th edition of the annual awards ceremony.
Regardless of age, gender or the standard that sport is played, it was a celebration of all the competitive spirit that brought out another year’s worth of top performances.
Pompey kindly agreed to stage the event, and several of Michael Appleton’s first-team squad turned up to play their part in proceedings as they handed out awards and showed their support for the cause – despite the off-the-field troubles at the club.
At a time when the links between the club and the community are needed more than ever, it was another show of strength and the bond between the football club and the rest of the city’s sporting stars.
It was someone else who has done so much for sport in the city – popular City of Portsmouth athletics coach Gerry North – who picked up the lifetime achievement award.
Sportsman of the year was Hampshire spinner Danny Briggs, who is currently away with England for their one-day international series with Pakistan, while boxer Greg Bridet was a worthy runner-up.
Sportswoman of the year was rising athletics star Cassie Thorp, while tenpin bowling ace Hayley White capped a fine year with the runner-up spot.
The outstanding contribution to sport category saw another athletics coach, Bronwin Carter – a regular winner at the Sports Awards – take home the top prize, while Gosport Cricket Club’s Benjamin Godbold was named as runner-up.
Coach of the year saw someone who has made the transition from competitor to coach look very easy as gymnast Natalie Porter picked up the award ahead of netball coach Julie Osborne.
Local rugby dominated the best one-off performance category as Portsmouth’s veteran Matt Gronow was runner-up to Havant Ladies’ Kara Palmer for her extraordinary eight-try haul.
The young sportswoman of the year crown went to young swimmer Nicole Mackenzie after her impressive year in the pool, while hockey starlet Rebecca van Berkel was runner-up in the category.
There was fierce competition for the title of young sportsman of the year, with javelin star Richard Shuttleworth pipping talented amateur boxer Mateusz Ziolkowski to the award.
The outstanding contribution to disabled sport was another field brimming with talent and athlete Chris Tollet went one better than his runners-up place last year to edge past boccia star Cecilia Turk.
While there were plenty of individuals honoured, teams were also applauded for their performances in the team of the year category.
Heart of Portsmouth boxing took the acclaim, while City of Portsmouth’s men’s athletics team ensured that the athletes walked away with another gong.
For the youngsters, Warren Park under-11s football team were young team of the year after reaching the national schools’ final, and Jelly Netball Club were the runners-up for their efforts on the local and national scene.
With so many Pompey players in attendance, it was only right that their efforts were rewarded.
Greg Halford claimed the award as Pompey’s player of 2011 – just ahead of Joel Ward who picked up the runners-up berth.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Winner: Bronwin Carter
Runner-up: Benjamin Godbold
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO DISABLED SPORT
Winner: Chris Tollet
Runner-up: Cecilia Turk
Coach of the year
Winner: Natalie Porter
Runner-up: Julie Osborne
Best one-off performance
Winner: Kara Palmer
Runner-up: Matt Gronow
Winner: Richard Shuttleworth
Runner-up: Mateusz Ziolkowski
Winner: Nicole Mackenzie
Runner-up: Rebecca van Berkel
Young team of the year
Winner: Warren Park School Football
Runner-up: Jelly Netball
Team of the year
Winner: Heart of Portsmouth Boxing
Runner-up: City of Portsmouth Men’s Athletics
Winner: Cassie Thorp
Runner-up: Hayley White
Winner: Danny Briggs
Runner-up: Greg Bridet
Pompey player of 2011
Winner: Greg Halford
Runner-up: Joel Ward