After being given a standing ovation at the annual Tchoukball UK awards ceremony, Pete King, who was recognised with the service to tchoukball award, spoke about his hopes for the development of tchoukball across the country. Outgoing competitions director King was visibly emotional after being given the prize, cheered on by officials and players from all clubs having radically transformed UK competitions in the past two years.
After the ceremony King spoke about his feelings. He said:
“[I feel] Quite humble and speechless to be honest. I was very surprised and somewhat overwhelmed. It’s great to receive thanks and recognition from your peers and to receive this award makes all the work worthwhile.”
Now moving into the Head of Development role he admitted he did not know how to react when given the surprise honour. Speaking about his award and the importance of volunteers in the sport he said:
“It’s extremely important. Without volunteers no sport can be sustained. We really need more volunteers in Tchoukball to be able to take it to the next level. Unfortunately funding in sport is hard to come by and therefore it relies on volunteering to help support events. He added: “My hope is that tchoukball can now be developed in schools and youth clubs more. We’ve worked hard to build a competitive national league structure which has aided the development of exciting players, however, I now feel we need to develop more ‘come and play’ type sessions which engages and encourages Tchoukball to be played for fun at youth level. We have a talent pathway in place and more clubs being established across the country therefore we now need more schools and youth players to join, participate and stay in the sport long term.”
The awards celebrated performance both on and off the court with Ben Wallace, Louisa Fountain and Scott Mills walking away with the top gongs for performance.
For the first year players had a direct role in deciding five of the awards given out.
Bury’s Ben Wallace was give the most coveted prize of player’s player, while his coach Ian Parker was voted club representative of the year.
The outstanding referee of the year award went to Guildford’s Dom Raeyan with Southampton’s Sam Scott being chosen as the sports personality for raising the most smiles during the season.
Farnborough’s Jennifer Hunt was named as the best female newcomer after her outstanding return to the sport. After a breakthrough season, seeing him rise from a second team player to becoming a vital first team member at Southampton and playing an important part in the UK Development Squadss first competition in Geneva, Richard Latouche was voted as the best male newcomer.
The evening’s performance awards recognised those players and volunteers that had stood out for the governing body’s Board of Directors.
The sportsman and sportswoman of the year awards were given to the outstanding players throughout the season with Southampton’s Scott Mills and Guildford’s Louisa Fountain deservedly picking up the awards. In the youth ranks Bury players Niamh Farrelly and Max Van Den Oort were named the female and male youth players of the year. Bury had a successful evening being named club of the year with head coach Ian Parker given the coach of the year prize. Broadlands Bolts were selected as the team of the year after their first division title success. The final two individual awards went to Viky Burton for her role as head of Team UK who was named as volunteer of the year, before the room was upstanding as King was recognised.
The awards evening also celebrated the winners of the different competitions throughout the year. Bury St Edmunds completed a domestic quadruple winning the Super Sevens national league, Super Cup, Domini Fox Memorial Cup and Eastern Region titles. Runners-up in the Eastern Region Broadland Bolts were triumphant in the inaugural first division, gaining promotion to the Super Sevens next season. The Yorkshire Region title went to Leeds Galaxy while the hotly contested southern region went to Guildford Inferno. Portsmouth Drakes picked up the Andrews Cup while Leeds Cosmos took the challenge cup trophy. There was yet more success for Bury St Edmunds in the National Youth Championships, with their under 15s and under 18s sides both coming out on top. In the National University and College Championships several of the Southampton Stags players who came second in the national league and Super Cup donned their University of Southampton colours to bring back the title.
Chief Executive Philip Moore was full of praise for an outstanding season that saw a two-division national league for the first time. He said:
“Last season was a difficult one to top with so much progress on and off court. The Awards Evening gives us an opportunity to celebrate collectively as a sport. Achievements on the court are important, but taking the time to reward our outstanding volunteers like Pete as well as inspire a new generation of them is a vital part of what we do.
My heartfelt congratulations to anyone who was honoured at any point during the season and as this year draws to a close domestically, we look towards the World Championships in Taiwan in August.”