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Tuesday, 02 June 2015

Matty is star of the show

OLYMPIC rowing star Matt Wells received a hero’s welcome when he returned to his birthplace to hand out the prizes at this year’s Sport Tynedale Awards.

But it was another Hexham-born Matthew who stole the show, 14-year-old Hexham Golf Club member Matty Lamb getting his hands on three awards after a remarkable year.

The teenager broke records by becoming the first person to win the Northumberland U16 and U19 titles in the same year.

And he won the Scottish U14 Championship, while missing out on the English title by just two shots.

In recognition of his glorious year, the Queen Elizabeth High School student was presented with the Tynedale Trophy – the prize for the ‘champion of champions’ from the awards evening.

This followed his triumph in the Young Player (Boy) category which saw him lift the Edward Waite Trophy, while he also helped his immensely talented junior teammates to the Ian Turner Trophy for youth team of the year.

Their season started well with victory in the Northumberland U19 Junior Golf League, and it got better with success in the North of England Team Championships and culminated in them being crowned national champs after excelling in the National Junior Team Final.

Representing the successful team alongside Matty was Marcus Mellor, Josh Stancer, James Dunn, Ali Harris, Duncan Storey, Alex Bull, Callum Cree, Patrick Cree, Rob Simpson, Jamie Carrol, Ed Crawford, Rob Parker and John Mackey.

Sponsored by North Country Leisure, there was a massive turnout for the awards ceremony.

Matt Wells was chosen to hand out the trophies in a bumper Olympic year, fitting the bill perfectly as he helped spread the fever to the district when he brought 10 Olympic rowers to Hexham in a farewell regatta in August.

Coincidentally, QEHS Rowing Club, where it all started for Matt all those years ago, were in the honours.

For helping to organise the Olympic regatta and for topping British Rowing’s school league table, the Tyne Green dwellers received the J.E. Woodman Trophy for club of the year.

There was also individual success for the club, enthusiastic coordinator Pauline Higgins adding the Michael Sharman Trophy for sports personality of the year to her recent Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal from British Rowing.

Meanwhile, their girls team won the Isobel Iceton Trophy for high school team of the year after their women’s U14 coxed quad of Harriet Aubrook, Amy Bowman, Milly Dickinson, Lucy Ryan and cox Michael Veitch, and their women’s’ U16 coxless quad of Nicola Charlton, Marie McLoughlin, Fran Ronan and Robyn Dodwell both earned bronze medals in the National Rowing Championships.

QEHS was not the only local paddlesport club to enjoy success as Tyne Valley Canoe Club’s John Dean left with the Grant Thornton/Bobby Wood Memorial Trophy for coach of the year.

Putting in endless hours of hard work at the Prudhoe-based club, John became just the second coach in the country to receive the level three award in white water kayaking.

The young people of the district have also shown their excellence in coaching, and the young sports leader of the year award was won by Hexham Squash Club’s Simon Graham, a role model to the even younger members of the club.

There was little to split the two candidates for the Northumberland Playing Fields Association Trophy for disabled sportsperson of the year.

In a close-run vote, Dilston College student and Tynedale Harrier James Simpson picked up the award after winning a world indoor athletics gold medal and representing Great Britain’s Mencap football team.

Wylam youngster Sam Smith rounded off a great year which saw him carry the Olympic Torch with the disabled sports personality.

The Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy sufferer is sports mad, regularly playing football, basketball and cricket, and is also an ambassador for the Youth Sport Trust.

Ponteland Middle School girls U13 cricket team shook off the attention of their girls U11 cricket team, and others, to win the David Thompson Trophy after reaching the finals of a national tournament.

Both One Life Racing Club’s ladies and men’s veterans were shortlisted for the Sport Tynedale adult team of the year, but top honour went to the females.

The Ladies’ Veteran 40 team of Angela Wylie, Claire Jackson, Fran Little, and Karen Robertson continued their dominance in the British Triathlon Club Relay Championship with a fourth successive gold medal for the club.

The winner of the Hexham Courant sportswoman of the year trophy for the third year in a row was Ryal’s Hilary Ross who completed a hat-trick of hat-tricks by adding to her three successive European and World Duathlon titles.

The sportsman of the year accolade went to esteemed Tynedale Volleyball Club member Steven Anderson who received international honours when he made his debut for England earlier this year.

Sisters Charlotte and Catherine Sadler faced off in the Gordon Brewis Trophy for young player (girl) and it was elder sibling Charlotte who claimed the glory following gold medals in the 400m and 100m hurdles in the Scottish U20 Championships.

The final presentation of the evening saw Derwent Reservoir sailor Simon Weatherspoon receive the £500 prize of the Stan Calvert Scholarship awarded to a highly promising youngster from the district to aid their development.