Four-way battle for Free Press award

Bridlington Free Press Sports Awards
Bridlington Free Press Sports Awards

Four of Bridlington’s top performers from 2014 will fight it out for the title of Free Press Sports Person of the Year.

Shortlists for each of the categories have been decided, after the judging panel looked through dozens of nominations which were received.

Golfer Alex Belt, all-rounder Mel Halstead, and endurance athlete Steve Tighe will all try to take the title from last year’s winner, motorcyclist James Cowton, who has been shortlisted again after another impressive year.

Belt enjoyed his most fruitful year, becoming Yorkshire PGA Yorkshire Champion and PGA North Region Champion, and qualifying for the PGA Championship in May.

Halstead won the Yorkshire bantamweight title and represented Great Britain at the World Martial Arts Games in Switzerland.

Tighe finished 11th at the 24-hour endurance race World’s Toughest Mudder in Las Vegas, and was the top Briton at the event, while Cowton became the first English winner of the Auto 66 Championship.

The Junior Sports Person of the Year award also has four youngsters shortlisted, all of whom enjoyed national or regional success in 2014.

Bridlington ABC team-mates James Precious and Ben Malone will be up against each other, but shooting’s Matthew Cawkill and Mollie Howarth, who has excelled at a variety of sports, will also have their eyes on the prize.

The Club of the Year will be either Bridlington Blades Fencing Club, Bridlington Rugby Club or Flamborough Tennis Club.

Team of the Year sees badminton’s Priory A, football giant-killers Flamborough 2nds and Bridlington Hockey Club 1sts shortlisted.

There are also three sides in the running for the Junior Team of the Year, with Martongate School’s gymnasts taking on Burlington Jackdaws U12s and Bridlington Cricket Club’s U11s, who enjoyed an unbeaten league and cup campaign.

Football and badminton go head-to-head in the Coach of the Year category. Football is represented by Burlington Jackdaws’ young coach Becca Bolton and goalkeeper Gavin Kelly, but they will have to beat Helen Owen, who has taught hundreds of youngsters the basics of badminton.

Awards will also be given to the town’s Unsung Hero, and for Services to Junior Sport and Services to Village Sport with the winners of these categories announced on the night.

A Lifetime Achievement trophy will also be presented at the ceremony, alongside a number of special awards for services to the community and outstanding achievements.

The awards ceremony will be held at Bridlington Rugby Club, on Friday, 6 March with former England Sevens rugby captain Rob Vickerman the guest speaker. Details of how to obtain tickets for the event will be announced shortly.