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

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

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.

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