THE 49TH annual Isle of Wight Sports Achievement Awards 2023 proved to be another huge, heartwarming success, with everyone who was nominated and shortlisted hailed as winners, at a packed Medina Theatre in Newport on Thursday evening.

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Hosted by County Press co-editor Lucy Morgan and ITV News reporter and presenter, Romilly Weeks, the 'sports Oscars' gala was a great celebration of Isle of Wight sports — its sportsmen and women, children, officials, coaches and volunteers, who keep clubs alive and kicking year after year. 

There was plenty of cheering, whooping and hollering from the enthusiastic audience when a nominee and winner was announced.

The winners, revealed on the night, with sponsors of the awards presenting them, included two high-respected figures in Island sports — Harry Kirby, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Dave Ball, for Service to Sport, the final award of the evening presented.

Harry, 80, has had a passion for hockey spanning five decades and is the driving force behind the Isle of Wight Hockey Club, from player to manager — ensuring its survival, after becoming the club's secretary in 1973.

He said: "Over the years, I still get a buzz now from seeing youngsters play hockey. The club could've folded, but didn't and it's now thriving. It has tremendous camaraderie and a strong sense of family."

Octogenarian, Dave Ball, still has great enthusiasm for sport — whether it be watching a local rugby match, or his wife, Jenny (nominated for a Senior Women award).

Dave, a legend in Island Games organisation, led the memorable NatWest Island Games of 2011, held on the Isle of Wight.

He said of his receipt of the Service to Sport award: "It has come as quite a shock. I'm taken aback, I'm touched and I'm very grateful. 

"Sport has been part of my life for as long as I can remember, so to receive an award like this is unbelievable."


Junior Boys award — Harrison Hendy (cycling); Junior Girls award (joint) — Alice Critchison (equestrian) and Ellora Jones (gymnastics); Coach — Shannon Betts (gymnastic, Legacy Elite Academy); Intermediate Boys — Harvey Abbott (kickboxing); Intermediate Girls — Matilda Moore (netball); Club Official — David Beckingham (swimming); Primary Sporting School — The Bay CE Primary School, Sandown; Secondary Sporting School — St George's School, Newport; Island Games Outstanding Individual Achievement — Kevin Chant (cycling); Island Games Outstanding Team Achievement — The Island Games Shooting Team; Senior Men — Dominic Marsh (kickboxing); Senior Women — Pip Smith (equestrian); Club Volunteer — Pauline Proud (bowls); Disability Senior Men — Zac Lacey (swimming); Disability Senior Women — Laura Curwood (triathlon); Making a Difference Award — Gemma Cowley (netball); Masters Men — Daniel Eckersley (athletics); Masters Women — Emily Fry (athletics); The Ray and Rosemary Scovell Trust Community Award — Ian Broadsmith (basketball); Junior Team — Shanklin Sandown Rowing Club's U14 Girls' Quad (Layla Katirewa, Ella Haydon, Immy Burfitt, Izzy Bounds and coxswain Esme Walters); Intermediate Team — Shanklin Sandown Rowing Club's J16 Double (Carter Horrix and Louis Sheasby); Outstanding Commitment Award — Trevor Davies (coach, Seaclose Swimming Club); Senior Team (joint) — Ryde Marina Ladies and Shanklin Bowls Men's teams; Disability Team — Isle of Wight Cricket Board Disability Super 9s; Junior International Award — Boe Howell (surfing); International Award — Brandon Robinson Thompson (golf); Lifetime Achievement Award — Harry Kirby (hockey); Service to Sport — Dave Ball.