SWINDON Robins were the big winners at last night’s Swindon Advertiser Sports Awards 2012, scooping a hat-trick of gongs.
The Elite League-winning side were named Team of the Year at the Blunsdon House Hotel ceremony, while manager Alun Rossiter picked up the Coach of the Year and Sports Personality of the Year mantle.
Rossiter, who led the Robins to their first title since 1967 courtesy of a famous play-off final win over Poole Pirates, was delighted with his side’s haul.
He said: “It's feels amazing to have picked up so many awards after what was a really special season for the club. I didn't know quite how much winning the league title meant to the people of Swindon, but I am still having people come up to me now to say well done.
“The whole team and everyone at the club was amazing all year, and these awards are a great reward for that.”
Former Swindon Town winger Matt Ritchie was announced as Sportsman of the Year, seeing off competition from Swindon Robins rider Peter Kildemand, eventer Andrew Nicholson and Olympic gold medal rower Pete Reed.
The Sportswoman of the Year award went to wheelchair tennis star Louise Hunt. The Wanborough player represented Great Britain at the Paralympics in London in 2012 and topped a shortlist which also featured swimmers Tilly Gray and Hannah Miley and eventer Jonelle Richards.
Johnny Haines’ reward for defeating five-time darts world champion Raymond van Barneveld at the Dutch Masters in October was the Performance of the Year prize. Other nominees in this category included Swindon Town for their 4-3 win at Premier League Stoke in August, Swindon Robins for their thrashing of Lakeside in the Elite League play-offs and Grant Turner for his 48.31 second leg in the Great British 4x100m relay at the Olympics.
The Young Team of the Year are Swindon Rangers Under 10s, who claimed the league and cup double in 2012. They beat off competition from Swindon Town Under 18s, Esprit Junior Pink’s gymnasts and Swindon Dolphins.
Darts starlet Josh McCarthy, who won the English Masters Youth Singles last year, was named Young Sportsman of the Year while Swindon Harrier Morgan Gascoigne’s two silver medals at the Welsh Under 17 National Outdoor Championships were enough to land her the Young Sportswoman of the Year gong.
Jill Aldridge’s dedication to Croft Netball Club was honoured with the Unsung Hero prize while Barry Sandry’s decades of work in local golf have been recognised by the Lifetime Achievement Award.