The 19th Salford Sports Network Awards, in partnership with Salford Community Leisure, took place on Friday 20th September at The Lowry Hotel in Salford with guest of honour, professional climber Kenton Cool.
The Salford Sports Network Awards recognise the sporting achievements, hard work and dedication of voluntary sports clubs and individuals across Salford including football, rugby, martial arts, athletics, swimming and more.
More than 200 people attended the event to see which clubs and individuals picked up one of the eleven awards that were up-for-grabs.
BBC Radio Manchester’s Phil Trow and guest speaker, Fourteen time Everest summiter and guide Kenton Cool spoke about his epic climbing skills and experiences, inspiring people in the community to use similar strategies in their own sports and everyday lives.
Mark Dutton, Chair and non executive director at Salford Community Leisure, which runs the Salford Sports Network, said: “Sport is an essential part of any community and it enables people to come together, build community spirit and promotes health and wellbeing. This year’s Salford Sports Awards has been biggest event yet with record numbers of nominations and some very worthy winners.”
Selecta UK Ltd Club of the Year Award went to Eccles RFC, which is one of the biggest amateur clubs in Salford with 18 teams for age seven and up. The club is currently commemorating its 70th anniversary and there were successes on the pitch as well, with the first 11 gaining promotion to division two in the North West National Rugby Union League, whilst the Senior Colts won their division championship title and the Lancashire and Cheshire Colts League Senior Plate. The flourishing junior programme has seen eight boys and six girls going forward to represent Lancashire this year. With an ethos of improving their creativity, consistency and frequency of their promotional material, the club has increased engagement and participation by making it easier to connect with the club.
PE in Sport Award Primary School of the Year went to Light Oaks Junior School that prides itself in its PE provision and success across a range of different sports. As well as a dedicated two hours of PE each week, every class has access to the Daily Mile and other sporting activities which have included input from pupils and technology has been introduced including iPads that capture footage to help with assessment and track skill development. The school’s links with Manchester City and Salford Red Devils, teacher training, investment in sport and PE across the school and their focus on making all lessons have an element of active learning, really impressed the judges.
The Sports Achiever of the Year went to swimmer Joseph Stout aged 14 of City of Salford Swimming Club. It’s been an incredibly successful year for Joseph having achieved five medals at the County Championships including three Gold. He won four medals at Regional Championships and two Gold Medals at the National Championships. He has worked his way up the British rankings recording the fastest time for a 14-year-old in the 200m Butterfly Butterfly British Champion 2019. This year he has also ventured into open water swimming and become the National Open Water Champion in the 14 years age category. An incredible achievement becoming British National Champion twice in entirely different events takes a very special athlete who works tirelessly. He is the first ever athlete in Salford to win National titles both in the pool and in the open water environment.
The Avoira Disabled Sports Achiever of the Year went to Georgia Sheffield aged 14 from Pendleton who is part of City of Salford Swimming Club. It’s been a busy 12 months for Georgia, who has competed at county, regional and national levels, having worked hard and increased her training and attending national para camps. She came away from the Lancashire County Championships with seven gold medals, competed in the British Paras International Swim meet/world series and also picked up the top junior performer in the 200m front crawl having accrued the most FINA points for her age category. She won the gold medal and was crowned new national champion in the 200m and 100m Fly at the English Summer Championships. The judges were impressed with her continued dedication to her sport and to her local club.
The Changing Lifestyles Award went to Lesley Wiszniewski aged 63 from Worsley. Having been diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2018, a biopsy operation and a course of radiotherapy, she was placed on long-term medication. Initially un-sporty and inactive, Lesley was very reluctant to consider going into the gym but after her referral to the Can Move programme, starting with gentle exercise, seven months on, Lesley is now doing weekly circuit classes, an hour in the gym every week, a Tai Chi class plus swimming and feels more focused, positive and confident.
The Volunteer of The Year Award went to Winton Wanderers Club Secretary, Rob Wilson. The judges were impressed by Rob’s invaluable commitment to his role. He’s the coach for two teams and runs the club’s Wildcat programme. He spends many hours each week coaching as well as countless hours delivering the secretary role and has been instrumental in the revival of the club, helping to make it now one of the biggest football clubs in Salford. He’s helped grow the girl’s game and developed an ethos that every child has a chance to play football and has mentored new coaches to ensure this movement continues.
The Unsung Hero in Sport Award was given to Ian Keymer, who Groundsman at Cadishead Sports JFC. It was Ian’s can-do attitude that impressed the judges the most. As Groundsman for the last 25 years Ian has provided a safe environment for everyone at Cadishead Sports and is always on-hand and willing to support other organisations, schools and allotments.
The Coach of the Year Award went to Phil McGahey of Winton Wanderers FC. Phil is a former professional footballer who now devotes his time to coaching rising stars and has been head of the Academy at Winton Wanderers for three years. He has helped grow the club and played a role in training and mentoring 11 coaches who have gone on to coach their own teams within the club. On the pitch, Phil’s teams have won trophies in various competitions, playing good technical football, whilst he ensures every child is included. Every child coached by Phil has improved immensely.
In its 2nd year, the Tommy Curran Special Recognition in Sport Award went to Keith Brookes from Monton Sports Club. Keith literally is Monton Sports Club, having been involved in the club for over 60 years and been instrumental in transforming the club from a traditional members club into a thriving five-sport club. He has helped drive improvements to the facilities and introduced new sports and teams that have benefitted all the members and the local community. Keith’s commitment is unmatched and he’s at the club every day of the week, watching the teams perform and meeting members.
Junior Team of The Year was Salford Harriers U17’s girls’ team who have celebrated a successful year at local, regional, county and national levels, with each individual member of the close-knit team contributing to the team’s triumphs. They are currently Greater Manchester Road Relay Champions, North West Road Relay Champions, Manchester and District Cross Country League Champions, Northern Cross Country Championships Champions and bronze medal winners at the England Athletics Road Relay Championships. Their success is down to team spirit, strong bonds, mutual respect and support, dedication, hard work and making the most of their natural abilities.
Senior Team of The Year went to Cadishead Rhinos ARLFC who rounded off another successful year by retaining the coveted Simon Annis Cup, beating higher league opposition in the process. Their achievements have been down to improving the quality of their training, utilising floodlit pitches to work on more technical aspects of the game, as well as organising team bonding sessions and working on the team’s mentality and creating a real feeling of self-belief amongst the players. This has led them to become role models for the younger players, who many of them work with through other coaching roles throughout the club.