The Hockey Writers’ Club has announced the 2014 winners of the Player of the Year awards for Senior, Youth and Junior Categories. The presentations were made at the Annual Awards Presentation Lunch on Tuesday 20th January 2015.
The Men’s Senior Award was won by Holcombe and England defender Iain Lewers, whilst Canterbury and England midfielder Susannah Townsend picked up the Women’s Award.
Lewers, turned heads with a series of world class displays at the heart of England’s defence during 2014, including showing nerves of steel to slot home vital penalty stroke against Belgium to put England into the World Cup semi-finals.
Townsend has caught the eye with some excellent performances for England, showcasing her speed, strength and eye for goal to play a key role in England’s Commonwealth Games silver medal win. As Townsend was unavailable, her award was collected on her behalf by her very proud father.
Runners-up in the men’s vote were Lewers’ Holcombe team mate Nick Catlin and East Grinstead’s Ashley Jackson. Last year’s winner, goalkeeper Maddie Hinch also from Holcombe and another Holcombe player, defender Laura Unsworth came second and third respectively in the women’s vote.
Lewers said: “It’s a great honour to win an individual award and especially this one. I was quite surprised. We have played a lot of hockey in 2014, the World League in India seems so far away now, but there were many positives and tests for our group and that was a big step forward for us.”
The Higgins Youth Award (boys 18-and-under) was won by Liam Sanford of Bath Buccaneers Hockey Club. Following up in close contention were Repton and Beeston’s England U-18 player Andrew Oxburgh and Jack Waller of the Whitgift School and Wimbledon HC.
The Higgins Youth Award (girls 18-and-under) was won by Holly Hunt of Stockport Grammar School and Bowdon Hightown Hockey Club. Canterbury and Sutton Valence pupil Anna Baker and Repton and Beeston’s Erica Sanders completed the line-up in what was again a highly competitive field of candidates.
The Higgins Junior Award (boys 16-and under) was won jointly by Jack Whelan of RGS High Wycombe and Reading Hockey Club and Ollie Rogerson of Repton School and Beeston Hockey Club. James Oates of The King’s School and Canterbury 1st team and came third in these Awards.
The Higgins Junior Award (girls 16-and-under) was won by Lizzie Neal of Kent College, Canterbury and Canterbury Hockey Club. Two other players we are sure to hear more of are Repton School’s Mimi Tarrant, and centre-half Esme Burge, regular players for Beeston 1sts and both playing at England Under 16 level. who came second and third.
For full details, including a list of previous winners, visit the Hockey Writers’ Club website.