THE countdown is on for one of the biggest and most important awards ceremonies on the Island calendar — the 2023 Isle of Wight Sports Achievement Awards.


The gala event, organised by the Isle of Wight Sports Foundation, will be held at Newport's Medina Theatre next week, on Thursday, March 21.

Isle of Wight County Press: Gemma Cowley is the chair of Isle of Wight Netball.Gemma Cowley is the chair of Isle of Wight Netball. (Image: Isle of Wight Sports Foundation)

Isle of Wight County Press: Dave Everson of Shanklin Deep Sea Fishing Club.Dave Everson of Shanklin Deep Sea Fishing Club. (Image: Shanklin Deep Sea Fishing Club)

In the run-up to the ceremony, the County Press will be going through the rest of the 90 nominees shortlisted for accolades in this week's edition.

The annual event recognises outstanding achievements and service, with competition fierce and the winners never failing to impress.

David Beckingham, of Newport, has dedicated more than 30 years' volunteering as a swimming judge, on the Island and across GB.

Joe Cave, of Totland, and Rod Gardiner, of Freshwater, are two of three friends who set up West Wight Youth Football Club nearly 50 years ago. Joe, who has been a referee, coach and secretary, has "worked hard to keep the club going", while Rod has been treasurer from the start, and also coached in a local school and taken on other club roles.

Steve Dines, of Gurnard, is an experienced triathlete who has gone way beyond as a club volunteer with Wight Tri, serving many times as chairman.

Dave Everson, of Brading, joined Shanklin Deep Sea Fishing Club when aged 13 and, 45 years on, continues to volunteer for the club, as treasurer and much more.

Ray Ridett, of Shanklin, is president of Shanklin Bowls Club and been involved with for 50 years — contributing many years of time and care to the club and bowlers over.

Pauline Proud, of Wootton, has represented Bowls Isle of Wight for more than 40 years — continuing as a volunteer on the executive committee, promoting the game and encouraging others. A former national champion, Pauline is a life member of Bowls Isle of Wight.

Gemma Cowley, of Cranmore, is chair of Isle of Wight Netball and has "made a big difference to the sport" — boosting membership and participation.

Sarah Marie Tyrell-Jones, of Sandown, is a "hugely committed and dedicated" volunteer who has promoted healthy lifestyles, through swimming and running, to help fundraise and raise awareness of life-threatening illnesses.

Ian Broadsmith, of Whippingham, is well known on the Island for the "effort and enthusiasm" he has for basketball — giving opportunities to children of all ages to play basketball and improve their skills.

Bob Wickham and Keith Williams, two Shanklin Deep Sea Fishing Club stalwarts, have "kept the club running through very grim times, without being in the spotlight".

Boe Howell, 16, of Yarmouth, got into the England Surfing Team, competing at the World Junior Championships in Rio. last year, Boe took 46 ferry trips and drove 20,000 miles to attend competitions last year.

Trevor Davies, of Newport, has dedicated the past 45 years to teaching children to swim. He is one of the remaining founder members of Seaclose Swimming Club, which started in 1978.

Liz Dunlop, of Yaverland, is a masters triathlete who continues to return the highest of achievements, and who qualified for two World Championships and four European Championships last year.

David Ball, of Newport, is a legend in Island rugby who, in his eighties, stepped down from his role as a coach to generations of pupils at Ryde School. He has also coached Island senior teams and in Hampshire.

Henry McLuckie, of Newport, is a middle-distance runner who beat many of his personal bests last year at the start and end of the season, despite being sidelined by illness midway through. He remains in the top ten in Britain over several distances.

Brandon Robinson-Thompson, of Freshwater, was believed to be the first Island golfer to qualify for the Open Championship. He earned a Category 19 Tour Card for 2024, which will see him play more regularly on the top tier of European pro golf.

Isle of Wight County Press: Sandown-Shanklin Rowing Club U16 pair Carter Horrix and Louis SheasbySandown-Shanklin Rowing Club U16 pair Carter Horrix and Louis Sheasby (Image: Sandown-Shanklin Rowing Club)

Harry Kirby, an Isle of Wight Hockey Club legend, is still involved with the club at the age of 80, having been part of the set up for 50 years. 

Gurnard Sailing Club's junior Tera Squad won the RS Tera Club Award at the RS Nationals, an event featuring 20 sailing UK clubs.

The Arreton Rebels has, within two years, gone from never playing hardball cricket, to being able to hold their own — not only against girls' teams, but against mixed and all boys' teams — and represented the Island on many occasions.

Sandown-Shanklin Rowing Club's U14 girls' quad team, comprising Layla Katirewa, Ella Haydon, Immy Burfitt and Izzy Bounds, beat crews from the South Coast in the end-of-season championships for the second year running.

Nettlestone Primary School's U11 girls' football team managed, with fewer than 30 girls to choose from, saw half of them take part. They were unbeaten in all their Isle of Wight Rural League games last year and won the final 2-0 against Priory School.

Sandown-Shanklin Rowing Club's U16 pair, of Carter Horrix and Louis Sheasby, had a very successful season, including gold at the Inter-Regional Championships. They have been accepted onto the GB J16 Pathway.

Ryde Rowing Club's U16 squad "working well as a team and supporting the club during some difficult times".

The Island Games swimming team, with only three of the 12 swimmers having competed at a previous games, saw four of them achieve fastest-ever times.

The Quest Sailing Team, from Yarmouth Sailing Club, sailed around the Island in September last year, raising more than £2,600 for the West Wight Dementia Choir Children. The team comprised Max and George Newman, Alice Jobert, Katherine Backhouse, Bede and Richard Lizska, Devon Smith and Catherine Brading-Palmer, coached by Jojo Minchin.

The 15-strong senior Island Games shooting team gained 23 medals.

The Island Games women’s half marathon team, which comprised Charlie Metcalfe, Holly Newton and Carly Scoble, won gold.

The Island Games men’s football team had, despite a lack of preparation due to an extended season, won bronze by beating Bermuda in the third and fourth place play-off, after losing a close semi-final to Jersey.

Isle of Wight County Press: The 2023 Island Games women’s half marathon team of, from left: Charlie Metcalfe, Holly Newton and Carly Scoble.The 2023 Island Games women’s half marathon team of, from left: Charlie Metcalfe, Holly Newton and Carly Scoble. (Image: Isle of Wight Sports Foundation)

Kev Sampson led a trio of Island anglers, which also included Gareth Crofts and Richard Russell, to second in the British Championships in Ireland.

Ryde Marina Ladies’ Bowls team had, after winning many Island and regional titles, crowned their season by winning an All-England title in the senior fours. Ryde Marina will represent England in the British Isles Championships this year.

The Shanklin Bowls Club men’s A team won the Island triple of Division 1 title, County Guy Cup and County Colin Ridett Memorial Trophy. They are the only team to have done this twice on the Island.

The Isle of Wight County Disability Cricket Team won the regional Super Nines Competition, beating Kent, Hampshire and Middlesex, then Essex in the final.

A number of primary and secondary schools were also nominated.

Primary schools include Binstead, Carisbrooke, Newchurch, Niton, Priory School of our Lady of Walsingham and The Bay CE, Sandown.

The secondary schools include Cowes Enterprise College, Priory School of our Lady of Walsingham and St George’s School, Newport.