Rugby's big night out

TOP SPORTSWOMAN: Charmaine McMenamin (pictured here on her way to scoring a try for the Black Ferns in a 37-8 win against Australia at Eden Park in August), was last night named Tairawhiti sportswoman of the year in a big night for rugby. Picture by David Rowland/AAP
TALENT: Charmaine McMenamin. Picture supplied
JUNIOR SPORTSWOMAN: Briana Irving receives the certificate and trophy for junior sportswoman of the year from sports reporter Grant Miller, representing award sponsor The Gisborne Herald. Picture by Stephen Jones Photography
SPORTSWOMAN: Charmaine McMenamin receives the certificate and trophy for sportswoman of the year from Deputy Mayor Josh Wharehinga. Picture by Stephen Jones Photography

Waka ama, surf lifesaving, swimming, harriers, triathlon and speedway all had their moments.

But it was hard to go past rugby.

All Black wing George Bridge was judged the top sportsman and overall winner at the Bronwyn Kay Agency Sporting Excellence Awards.

And former Gisborne Girls’ High School student Charmaine McMenamin — a standout performer for the Black Ferns — was named sportswoman of the year.

McMenamin said she was honoured and surprised to win. She noted the other finalists in her category — Olivia Corrin (surf lifesaving) and Alicia Hoskin (kayaking) — were from “strong sports in this rohe”.

A highlight from McMenamin’s past year was coming back from a loss against France to post a win against England in the Women’s Rugby Super Series hosted by the United States. The Black Ferns won the competition.

It was also a thrill for her to play at Eden Park against Australia.

McMenamin said, with television coverage of the Farah Palmer Cup, women’s rugby was getting better recognition.

Triathlete Tayler Reid, who became the under-23 world champion during the judging period for the sports awards, won the category for the international sportsperson of the year.

The overall winner last year after he was part of the mixed relay team that won a bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Reid was also a finalist this year for sportsman of the year.

He had a strong 2019 season and is pushing for a place in the team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Reid has dreamed of becoming an Olympic athlete since he was five and he told the audience at the sports awards that being at the cusp of achieving it was “scary and exciting”.

He trains up to four times a day.

He was grateful for the support of people who believed in him, including his coach Stephen Sheldrake (who won coach of the year) and his family.

“I do this for you and I wouldn’t want to do this without you.”

Surf lifesaver Briana Irving took out the hotly contested junior-sportswoman category.

A member of the Junior Black Fins, she said a recent highlight was travelling to South Africa for the Surf Rescue Challenge.

Corrin was also part of that trip, competing in the senior line-up alongside Black Fins captain Cory Taylor, another finalist for sportsman of the year.

Irving also won the under-18 women’s 200 metres at the track and field nationals in Christchurch this year.

Swimmer Michael Pickett, who set a New Zealand 16-years 50-metre freestyle record this year, was junior sportsman of the year.

He also took out the category last year.

Pickett is based in Australia these days and his mother, Anna McVey, said he appreciated messages of support from home.

Daniel and Ethan Cook and their Smartcookies Racing Team won the sports team category.

Among their achievements were winning the New Zealand Saloon Car Champs and the NZ Grand Prix for saloons this year and the North Island Speedway Champs last year.

Horouta Waka Hoe Club’s J16 Puhi Kaiariki waka ama crew, who won the W6 500 metres and W6 1000m in Tahiti last year, were judged best junior sports team.

They won the same category at the Tairawhiti Maori Sports Awards in September.

Master sportsperson category winner Vesna Radonich said she had competed in waka ama while pregnant and her young children seemed to be keen to take up the sport.

“I’m so grateful to be a part of such a positive sport in our community,” Radonich said.

Hockey referee Jo Cumming was the official of the year and Ngaio Haenga (hockey) and Nicola Ludwig (gymnastics) were recognised for services to sport.

Gisborne Harrier Club was club of the year, Gisborne Park Run won the community-impact award and Surf Life Saving NZ was recognised for event excellence after staging the 2019 Eastern Region Senior Surf Life Saving Championships.

Grass-roots volunteer of the year Adrian Sparks, from basketball, said it was awesome to see a walkway by the beach and a new hockey turf. Other centres had multi-sport stadiums . . . “Gisborne needs one too,” he said.

Waka ama paddler Keri Mankelow-Ngatoro won a future-leader scholarship award.

There were also various awards within sporting codes.

Emerging athlete: Daniel Cook (speedway), CJay Ingram (mountainbiking), Pippa Jones (rowing), Thorn Parkes (cricket), Tama Wirepa (athletes with disabilities), the Gisborne Basketball Association u15 girls’ team, Jarrod Hill (waka ama).

Backbone of the club: Andrew McCulloch (surfing), Dave Corrin (surf lifesaving), Tony Scragg (hockey), James Matete (rugby league), Paul Evans (swimming).

Super-coach: Tanya Owen (netball), Alexandra Smith-Tuhou (softball), Matt Pierard (football).

Waka ama, surf lifesaving, swimming, harriers, triathlon and speedway all had their moments.

But it was hard to go past rugby.

All Black wing George Bridge was judged the top sportsman and overall winner at the Bronwyn Kay Agency Sporting Excellence Awards.

And former Gisborne Girls’ High School student Charmaine McMenamin — a standout performer for the Black Ferns — was named sportswoman of the year.

McMenamin said she was honoured and surprised to win. She noted the other finalists in her category — Olivia Corrin (surf lifesaving) and Alicia Hoskin (kayaking) — were from “strong sports in this rohe”.

A highlight from McMenamin’s past year was coming back from a loss against France to post a win against England in the Women’s Rugby Super Series hosted by the United States. The Black Ferns won the competition.

It was also a thrill for her to play at Eden Park against Australia.

McMenamin said, with television coverage of the Farah Palmer Cup, women’s rugby was getting better recognition.

Triathlete Tayler Reid, who became the under-23 world champion during the judging period for the sports awards, won the category for the international sportsperson of the year.

The overall winner last year after he was part of the mixed relay team that won a bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Reid was also a finalist this year for sportsman of the year.

He had a strong 2019 season and is pushing for a place in the team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Reid has dreamed of becoming an Olympic athlete since he was five and he told the audience at the sports awards that being at the cusp of achieving it was “scary and exciting”.

He trains up to four times a day.

He was grateful for the support of people who believed in him, including his coach Stephen Sheldrake (who won coach of the year) and his family.

“I do this for you and I wouldn’t want to do this without you.”

Surf lifesaver Briana Irving took out the hotly contested junior-sportswoman category.

A member of the Junior Black Fins, she said a recent highlight was travelling to South Africa for the Surf Rescue Challenge.

Corrin was also part of that trip, competing in the senior line-up alongside Black Fins captain Cory Taylor, another finalist for sportsman of the year.

Irving also won the under-18 women’s 200 metres at the track and field nationals in Christchurch this year.

Swimmer Michael Pickett, who set a New Zealand 16-years 50-metre freestyle record this year, was junior sportsman of the year.

He also took out the category last year.

Pickett is based in Australia these days and his mother, Anna McVey, said he appreciated messages of support from home.

Daniel and Ethan Cook and their Smartcookies Racing Team won the sports team category.

Among their achievements were winning the New Zealand Saloon Car Champs and the NZ Grand Prix for saloons this year and the North Island Speedway Champs last year.

Horouta Waka Hoe Club’s J16 Puhi Kaiariki waka ama crew, who won the W6 500 metres and W6 1000m in Tahiti last year, were judged best junior sports team.

They won the same category at the Tairawhiti Maori Sports Awards in September.

Master sportsperson category winner Vesna Radonich said she had competed in waka ama while pregnant and her young children seemed to be keen to take up the sport.

“I’m so grateful to be a part of such a positive sport in our community,” Radonich said.

Hockey referee Jo Cumming was the official of the year and Ngaio Haenga (hockey) and Nicola Ludwig (gymnastics) were recognised for services to sport.

Gisborne Harrier Club was club of the year, Gisborne Park Run won the community-impact award and Surf Life Saving NZ was recognised for event excellence after staging the 2019 Eastern Region Senior Surf Life Saving Championships.

Grass-roots volunteer of the year Adrian Sparks, from basketball, said it was awesome to see a walkway by the beach and a new hockey turf. Other centres had multi-sport stadiums . . . “Gisborne needs one too,” he said.

Waka ama paddler Keri Mankelow-Ngatoro won a future-leader scholarship award.

There were also various awards within sporting codes.

Emerging athlete: Daniel Cook (speedway), CJay Ingram (mountainbiking), Pippa Jones (rowing), Thorn Parkes (cricket), Tama Wirepa (athletes with disabilities), the Gisborne Basketball Association u15 girls’ team, Jarrod Hill (waka ama).

Backbone of the club: Andrew McCulloch (surfing), Dave Corrin (surf lifesaving), Tony Scragg (hockey), James Matete (rugby league), Paul Evans (swimming).

Super-coach: Tanya Owen (netball), Alexandra Smith-Tuhou (softball), Matt Pierard (football).

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