Tchoukball players, coaches and volunteers were celebrated at the 2016 annual Tchoukball UK Awards Ceremony in Kettering. Among the main prize winners was veteran UK and Bury Kings player Martin Cates, who, in his final season as a UK player and coach, was named Player’s Player.
Cates' name was sung and he was given a standing ovation as he collected his trophy. Guildford players Mack Hofberg and Eithne McCarthy were named Sportsman and woman of the year respectively. McCarthy was also named Sports Personality of the Year by her fellow players for infectious personality on and off the court.
It was a good night for Guildford who also took home the Club of the Year prize after expanding to two teams and helping a number of new and returning players in the sport. Another Guildford player, Rob Ellis, was awarded the Volunteer of the Year prize for his involvement as Membership Director of Tchoukball UK.
The other club to take home several prizes was Bury St Edmunds Tchoukball Club. Bury Kings won both the National Championships and Super Cup without dropping a point and were named Team of the Year.
As well as Cates' individual honour, other Bury players picked up awards. Bury Wolves' Niamh Farrelly picked up the Youth Female Player award for the second year, joined by Bury Saints' Tom Crichton who was named Youth Male Player, handed the award by his dad Michael Crichton - the ceremony's special guest. Bury Wolves, the club's under 18 side, also saw success with Abdullah Muhammad chosen as Best Male Newcomer and 16-year-old Sam Clark chosen as Club Volunteer by their fellow players.
Clark impressed voters with his commitment to helping head coach Ian Parker at training, as well helping to promote the club, secure funding for himself and fellow UK under 18 players for the European Championships and creating a video of the National Youth Championships.
Parker was recognised for his work with the club's three teams as he was named Coach of the Year for the second time.
Other awards saw Joline Wollenberg of Portsmouth Uni named Best Female Newcomer and Andrew Wolfe receive the Service to Tchoukball award for over 20 years of service as a volunteer in different guises.
The final moment of the ceremony saw a special presentation to Tchoukball UK's chief executive Phil Moore.
Nearly a year in the planning, Moore was surprised to be called on to stage to be given the Honorary Presidency of Tchoukball UK. There was even time for some 'vintage' footage of the one-time UK player showing off his knowledge of the game.
Speaking after the event, Tchoukball UK Operations Director Richard Jackson was full of praise for Moore's work.
He said: "A year of planning this presentation was time well spent. Phil's contribution to the game are enormous from being the powerhouse behind the Uk's hosting of the 2002 World Championships through to leading Tchoukball UK into key partnerships with government and education. Phil now holds the Vice-Presidency of the European Tchoukball Federation and he is a major asset to our work."
On the awards he said: "It's a real opportunity to acknowledge the achievements on and off the court for the year. We are very close to the game as Directors and stories such as Sam Clark's impressive contributions to his country and national side emerge all the time. It's a pleasure to be able to reward our players and volunteers for all their hard work."
The evening also celebrated all of the competitions that have taken place across the country over the year.
The winners and runners-up are as follows:
East of England Regional Competition:
Runners-up: Bury Saints
Winners: Bury Kings.
Yorkshire & The Humber Regional Competition:
Runners-up: Leeds Cosmos
Winners: Leeds Galaxy.
South East Division 2 Regional Competition:
Runners-up: Portsmouth Ducks
Winners: Guildford Ignite.
South East Division 1 Regional Competition:
Runners-up: Fareham Rhinos
Winners: Southampton Stags
U16 Youth Championships:
Runners-up: Rushton Academy
Winners: Thurston Community College
U18 Youth Championships:
Winners: Bury Dukes
Runners-up: Portsmouth Uni
Winners: Leeds Beckett Uni
National League Division 1:
Runners-up: Bury Saints
Winners: Headingley Outlaws
National Super League:
Runners-up: Guildford Inferno
Winners: Bury Kings.
Runners-up: Bury Wolves
Winners: Portsmouth Ducks
Runners-up: Headingley Outlaws
Winners: Portsmouth Drakes
Runners-up: Southampton Stags