University of Chichester crowns its sporting stars

The team of the year winners with Prof Clive Behagg
The team of the year winners with Prof Clive Behagg

Fontwell Park racecourse was the setting for the University of Chichester Students’ Union sports awards evening.

A whopping 284 students and guests gathered for a celebration of student sport, with a number of presentations and awards organised by the Sports Federation Executive Committee.

Speaker was the University Vice Chancellor Professor Clive Behagg.

Compered by the uni football club’s Alex Fraser and netball’s Laura Nerssessian, the presentations started with a special recognition award for former University SARC member of staff Bob Hughes, who has retired.

For more than 20 years, Bob has voluntarily supported a number of clubs and individuals.

Next to be recognised was the Team Therapist scheme, in which more than 30 students from the BA (Hons) sports therapy course support the teams with first-aid. Ten leavers were recognised.

January saw the Tough Guy Club take 15 students to Wolverhampton for an event – the world’s toughest taste of mental and physical pain-endurance over an assault course. Fifteen racers, including four women, completed the course.

Eight teams enjoyed BUCS (British University College Sport) league success in 2012 – the netball fourths, men’s badminton firsts, men’s lacrosse, women’s football seconds, men’s hockey firsts and men’s football first, second and third teams all received plaques and winners’ medals.

Dr Sarah Gilroy presented the Steven Bernard men’s football fresher of the year award. Steven Bernard was one of three PE QTS students who died in 2005 in a car accident. This year’s recipient was Callum Eagle.

Upon arrival at Fontwell, students and guests voted for one of eight candidates for the sports personality of the year, with footballer Matt Lee this year’s winner.

The final presentations before the interval saw the first of the colours, which are awarded to leavers for participation in a sports team or competitive event.

More than 60 students received a certificate for colours.

The individual awards started with the Unsung Hero award going to footballer Marc Slowey.

The most improved player accolade went to netballer Emma Ripley for her rise from the fourth team to second-team captain.

Contribution to Sport went to Alex Fraser from the football club. He has taken on a range of roles including president, manager and vice-captain as well compering the sports awards.

Fresher of the year was Ryan Acquah from the badminton team. He excelled on court and provided coaching support to his team-mates.

Sportswoman of the year was Megan Horwood from the rugby club. She has impressed as first-team captain and been a key player.

Sportsman of the year was footballer Will Holmes, who has been a vital cog in the first team creating and scoring numerous goals.

The most improved team award was shared between the men’s badminton and men’s hockey first team after both had league-winning seasons.

Club of the year went jointly to snow sports and cheerleading for improving and developing all areas of their clubs.

Finally, team of the year was awarded to the men’s football first team for their successful BUCS 1A season, where they gained promotion to the elite Premiership South after an unbeaten league campaign.

The remaining colours were awarded – 30 students were given club colours for their services to clubs in an official capacity.

International colours were awarded to three students – Matt Grace, Sam Jones and Mike Kelly, who have all played Aussie rules football for their country.

Full colours were awarded to students who had consistently excelled in performance and/or heavily contributed to the running of their club and/or the Sports Federation. In all, 43 were recognised for their efforts.

The final awards of the night were for the Excellence Award. These went to Jacquelyn Jobey (basketball), Peter Finlay (lacrosse), Danny Watts (football) and Alex Fraser (football).

SID FLETCHER