Event pays tribute to our sporting stars

Steve Eyley and Julie Crouch from the Ripley and Heanor News with sports awarda winners Phil Hogg, Gareth Harry representiong Marehay CC and Ryan Gorman.
Steve Eyley and Julie Crouch from the Ripley and Heanor News with sports awarda winners Phil Hogg, Gareth Harry representiong Marehay CC and Ryan Gorman.

The weeks of waiting are finally over and we can reveal the identity of the winners of the Ripley and Heanor News Sports Awards 2013.

Nominations from readers came into us in their droves as we asked you to nominate the individuals and teams from this patch who you felt were deserving of recognition in the awards.

The presentation ceremony took place on Friday at the brand-new £400,000 Codnor Sports Paviilon, which will be officially opened on Monday by former England manager - and current Rams’ boss - Steve McLaren.

Here at the Ripley and Heanor News, we felt that this area was blessed with an abundance of talented sportsmen and women of all ages, and covering all sports.

And so it proved as we received your many nominations for these awards.

The awards celebrate the rich sporting tapestry to be found in the Ripley and Heanor News’ area and offered you the opportunity to shine the spotlight of recognition on your chosen individual or team.

We asked you to nominate whoever you considered the area’s best sporting star to be, not to mention the most deserving team, at adult or junior level, the best young sportperson, and the unsung hero, for those behind-the-scenes who help to make it happen and go out of their way to ensure our sporting scene remains healthy and thriving.

So, after much deliberation, the winners in the five categories were chosen as:

Sportsman of the Year: David Ellis and Phil Hogg (joint winners)

Sportswoman of the Year: Jessica Turner

Young sportsperson of the year: Ryan Gorman

Team of the year: Marehay Cricket Club 1sts

Unsung sporting hero: Martin Simpson of Ripley Ravens basketball club

Both hailing from Marlpool, David Ellis and Phil Hogg have enjoyed a dream 2013 in the field of paratriathlons.

Both were new to the sport at the start of 2013 after excelling in swimming (in David’s case) and wheelchair racing and basketball (in Phil’s case) in previous years.

They have both won the British and European Championships titles in their respective categories while David was also crowned world champion, with Phil finishing fourth in his category at the same event, rounding off a superb year for them both.

Sportswoman of the year was Denby’s Jessica Turner.

The 18-year-old, now studying in Loughborough, is a member of Amber Valley and Erewash Athletics Club and her chosen athletic discipline is the 400 metres hurdles.

During the course of a memorable year, she has represented her club and county with distinction, consistently beating her personal best, and she topped it all off with her first appearance for Great Britain at under-20s level.

Among the many highlights have been the confirmation of her place in the top three young hurdlers in the country by taking a bronze at the England Athletics National Championships, winning gold at the Northern Senior and Under-20s Championships in Manchester, and taking bronze at the English School Finals, plus that first appearance for Great Britain at the European Junior Under-20s Championships.

The Team of the year award goes to Marehay Cricket Club Firsts.

In a memorable season, the side gained promotion back to the Derbyshire Premier League, as champions of the Derbyshire County Cricket League Division One, and also won the Marston’s Smooth Trophy, beating Alfreton, who were their nearest rivals in the league.

Captain Richard Wood’s side remained unbeaten in the league, winning 16 of their 22 games and drawing the other six, amassing 455 points and finishing 21 points clear.

Before the season, they set out their aims as being to gain promotion, if possible as champions, and to win a cup too.

It is a measure of the skill they showed during the season that they achieved exactly what they set out to do.

Young sportsperson of the year is Codnor’s Ryan Gorman, who has enjoyed a truly remarkable rise as a sprinter since taking up the sport last year.

In that time, he has achieved many records, including breaking the record for the fastest 14-year-old at 200 metres at the time in Europe. His time was faster than that of sprint legend Usian Bolt’s 200-metres time when he was 14.

Among a multitude of other successes, he has achieved second fastest 100-metre runner at U-15s time in 2012, 1st fastest 300m (indoor)U-17s time in 2013, 1st fastest 200m (indoor) U-17s time of all time, 3rd fastest 300 m U-17s time in 2012, 2nd fastest 300 m(indoor) U-17s time of all time, to name just a few, and his victories have continued since the cut-off date for nominations for this award passed.

His achievements have been phenomenal so far and there’s every indication that they will continue as he builds on thisa early success.

The final award is for unsung hero and goes to Martin Simpson of Ripley Ravens basketball club.

The award is given to someone readers think has gone that extra mile and is truly dedicated to furthering sport and helping those who take part in our area.

Martin Simpson certainly does that. Martin is chairman and a player at Ripley Ravens basketball club. He has shown determination and commitment in order to take the session from a few players to a fully fledged club and competitive team in under a year.

He has displayed fantastic leadership and has been selfless in putting a lot of his own time into creating a fun environment for many others.

The club initially started out as a Ball Again project, a fun and social outlet to play basketball funded by England Basketball.

Martin has been instrumental in turning the session from a small gathering for friends to play socially into something much bigger.

The club has now entered the Sherwood League, got its own kit, is looking to develop junior teams, has entered local tournaments and competitions, and is going from strength to strength.

All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication and passion of Martin Simpson. One of those who nominated him said: “Martin has looked for opportunities and support on how to run the club and has done a great job in getting things off the ground.”

Ripley and Heanor News editor Julie Crouch said: “We have been really excited about staging our second Sports Awards. There are simply so many great things happening in the sporting world locally.

“You really do us proud in this part of the world and this year alone we can boast of world titles, European crowns and national honours - not to mention county and local achievements, among our winners.

“Locally, many thousands of people take part or are involved in sporting activities. Everything from football to rugby, running to swimming, and athletics to darts and dominoes, to name but a few.

“As well as all the people that take part, excel and enjoy sport, our army of clubs and sporting organisations in this area are run by a dedicated band of volunteers who give up their time freely to make sure things happen - and I’d like to say thank you to all those people who work tirelessly behind the scenes.

“I think it’s vitally important that our young people are encouraged to take part in sport as it teaches determination, dedication and teamwork, all of which are important life skills. Many of our local youngsters are involved in school sports as well as activities outside school, which I’m sure they will only benefit from.

“It’s been very hard to pick our winners this year because the standards and achievements of so many are so high.

“It really has given us a headache to chose our finalists, with much agonising over who should be selected to be here today. We hope to make this into an annual event, to continue to celebrate the sporting talent to be found in the area. Congratulations to all of our winners.”

Go online to www.ripleyandheanornews.co.uk for a video from the presentation event.