Leon MacDonald will be guest speaker at the 2020 Marlborough Sports Awards. Photo: Shuttersport.

Nominations roll in for 2020 sports awards

COVID may have played havoc with the sporting landscape in 2020, but there is still plenty for Marlborough’s sporting fraternity to celebrate at the annual sports awards evening on November 16.

Despite a disrupted year for many codes, nominations have flooded in for the 2020 Marlborough Sports Awards, over 30 nominees being put forward by 22 different sporting organisations.

To help celebrate, the organisers have also attracted a couple of former Marlborough sporting identities to spice up proceedings. Joe Wheeler, a former Tasman Mako, Crusaders and Highlanders forward, and latterly a Sky Sport presenter, will be master of ceremonies. Joe will be joined on stage by Blues coach Leon MacDonald, one of this province’s most successful sportsmen, with some lively banter guaranteed.

The annual celebration of sporting prowess, which has been running continuously since 1968, will have a slightly-modified format in 2020.

The MSA organising committee have opted to stage a more “grassroots” awards evening this year, with the aim of reducing potential costs to sports bodies, the nominees’ individual sponsors, plus the major supporters of the event.

Trophies will still be awarded across all five categories, with an overall winner announced, while the Marlborough Medal, for lengthy service to sport in the province, will again be presented.

Ticket prices for the evening have been reduced to $30 per head and can be purchased on the Marlborough Sports Awards website.  Although there will be no formal dinner there will be a light supper and dessert served, plus some beverages.

As usual, trophies will be presented across five categories -sportsman and sportswoman of the year, junior sportsman and sportswoman, plus team of the year. The five winners will then be eligible for the supreme award, the title of Marlborough Sportsperson of the Year.

For more information on the 2020 Marlborough Sports Awards please contact [email protected] or go to the website www. marlboroughsportsawards.

The Marlborough Sports Awards are jointly run by Sport Tasman, Blenheim Round Table and Marlborough Media.

The event’s main sponsors are House of Travel, Redwood Trust, MoreFM, WK Advisors and Accountants, Marlborough Convention Centre and Fairweathers.

Jane Watson during a coaching course in Blenheim earlier this year. Photo: Peter Jones.

World Cup-winner will be guest speaker at Marlborough Sports Awards

World Cup-winning defender Jane Watson will join former netball star Bernice Mene on stage at the 2019 Marlborough Sports Awards dinner.

With netball on top of the world following the Silver Ferns’ thrilling final win over Australia in Liverpool, the province’s premier sporting night out will be a golden opportunity to celebrate their success and hear first-hand how the feat was achieved.

Watson will be guest speaker, with Mene handling the master of ceremonies role when this province’s foremost sporting achievers are recognised at the 2019 Marlborough Sports Awards dinner, to be staged at the Marlborough Convention Centre on Monday, November 18.

Twenty-nine-year-old Watson was a key member of the victorious World Cup squad, working in the defensive circle alongside veteran Casey Kopua and starting at goalkeeper in the three crunch matches which concluded the campaign.

After being born in Christchurch, she grew up in the small towns of Cave, near Pleasant Point, and Millers Flat, south of Roxburgh before boarding at St Kevin’s College in Oamaru. Watson has played with distinction for both the Southern Steel and Mainland Tactix franchises, captaining the Tactix in recent years.  She was named Premiership Player of the Year while with the Steel in 2017 and made her Silver Ferns debut in 2016.

The presence of Mene, also a world-class defender, will enhance the netballing flavour of this year’s awards, where achievements at all levels across a variety of sports are recognised.

The 53rd Marlborough Sports Awards, organised by Sport Tasman, the Blenheim Round Table and Marlborough Media, will follow a similar format to previous years. Five category winners will be named, the House of Travel Junior Sportswoman of the Year, the Redwood Trust Junior Sportsman of the Year, the WK and Advisors Team of the Year, the MoreFM Sportswoman of the Year and the Scenic Hotel Group’s Marlborough Convention Centre Sportsman of the Year. Those category winners will then go forward to vie for the much-prized Marlborough Sportsperson of the Year Trophy, won last year by international rower Robbie Manson.

Also presented on the evening will be the Marlborough Medal, designed to recognise someone who has given long-term service to sport in the province. Previous winners have included Graham Thomas, Ian Columbus, Roy Titheridge, Nigel Perry, Denise Lloyd and Tony Quirk. The identity of the recipient will be kept under wraps until the evening.

Nomination forms for the various category awards have been distributed to the province’s sporting organisations, each body able to nominate a male, female and team.

Nominations will close on Friday, September 13, with sports urged to be in quickly as demand for seats at the ever-popular event is expected to be strong.

Any inquiries regarding tickets or nominations should be made to Rory Crawford at [email protected] or call 03-5778855.