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TO KICK off 2012, we can reveal the shortlists for the first Bridlington Free Press Sports Awards.

TO KICK off 2012, we can reveal the shortlists for the first Bridlington Free Press Sports Awards.

The ceremony on Friday, March 16, will celebrate the achievements by local individuals and teams during the past 12 months.

In the running for the main Sports Person of the Year Award are:

Golfer Rachel Bell, who has travelled the globe in 2011 and secured her first international top 10 finish

Ryan Hepworth, who qualified for the World Ironman Triathlon Championships, less than 12 months after taking up the challenge

And darts champion Steve Rice, who again swept the board in local events, but began 2011 by winning the national John Smith’s People’s Darts competition, the country’s leading tournament for amateur players.

The Young Sports Person of the Year award, for under 21s, also has three candidates shortlisted. Darren Boyes capped a successful year of boxing with a call-up to the Yorkshire squad, to compete in Wales and Denmark, while golfer Harry Hudson became the youngest club champion at Bridlington Links, as well as showing his prowess at cricket for Sewerby.

Also nominated are teenage archers Michael Smith and Blain Nicholson, who have been invited to train with the British squad to pursue their dream of competing at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Free Press sports editor John Edwards said: “We were impressed not only by the number of entries we received but by the quality of the nominations.

“The aim of these awards is to show how high the standard of sport is around Bridlington. I’m also delighted to see so many different sports on the shortlists.

“Whittling the entries down to three or four per category was extremely difficult, but to then choose one winner was almost impossible.

“The panel could have chosen half a dozen winners in some of the categories. In fact, we had to give ourselves a few extra days to decide after meeting to discuss the entries.”

One of the most fiercely contested sections was the Junior Sports Person Of The Year.

The final three comprises Grace Dennis, who swam against Olympic champions in national competitions, and broke a number of long-standing Bridlington club records; Charlotte Jarvis, who started 2011 as the first girl to represent Bridlington Boxing Club and ended it as Yorkshire Champion and national runner-up, and Oliver Johnson, who scooped a number of national and regional honours in shooting.

Cricket has two contenders for the Team of the Year, with promotion-winning Grindale challenging Sewerby 1sts, who suffered their only defeat of the season in the final over of the final match.

They go up against Gerard Dyson and Tony Saltonstall, who achieved notable success around the country representing the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club, and Bridlington’s badminton players who won promotion from Yorkshire League Division Three in their very first season.

The prestigious Club of the Year title also has four potential winners. Bridlington Club For Young People’s achievements in the ring and within the community have been recognised, as has the town’s petanque club for its work.

Sewerby Cricket Club gets its second nomination, after the fourth team won promotion, alongside the firsts, and because of success in the Evening League and among its junior teams. Completing the line-up is Bridlington Swimming Club, which enjoyed one of the most successful years in its history.

Rugby has a clean sweep in the Coach of the Year category, with Mark Floyd, Kieran Lawry and Leigh Fulton battling it out for the trophy

The winners of six other categories will be announced on the night. They are the Unsung Hero Award, Services to Village Sport, Services to Junior Sport, Lifetime Achievement Award and a special honour for Outstanding Services to the Community Through Sport.