The ‘unofficial’ Doncaster Free Press Sports Awards 2018 – winners announced

Beth Dobbin. Photo by Stephen Pond - British Athletics/Getty Images
Beth Dobbin. Photo by Stephen Pond - British Athletics/Getty Images

Okay, so there is sadly no longer a glitzy awards evening to celebrate the best of Doncaster sport.

But the Free Press is always watching, and we have witnessed some exceptional sporting achievements over the course of 2018.

This week we are delighted to honour this year’s stand-out performers in our ‘unofficial’ sports awards.

Here is a run down of who scooped what – and there is plenty for the town to be very proud about.

Congratulations to all of our winners.

Sports Personality of the Year

Beth Dobbin

Following her brilliant breakthrough season, sprinter Beth Dobbin is the winner by a clear distance.

The 24-year-old, from Sprotbrough, not only become a British champion but reached the 200m final at the European Championships in Berlin.

But that is only half the story.

Beth, the daughter of former Doncaster Rovers midfielder Jim Dobbin, had been combining her self-funded athletics career with four part time jobs.

She also spoke out this year about her battle with epilepsy as a teenager.

The former Doncaster Athletic Club youngster's unwavering determination and perseverance has now well and truly paid off after securing a place in British Athletics' world class performance squad for 2019. 

She will be groomed as a potential participant in the relay events at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Highly commended

Jarvis Parkinson

The 19-year-old swimmer, from Hatfield Woodhouse, won two silver medals at his first Commonwealth Games. He was part of Team England’s 4x100m and 4x200m relay teams.

Connor Swift

The Moorends cyclist rode to a memorable win in Northumberland to be crowned British road race champion, aged 22.

Gavin McDonnell

The Dunscroft boxer began the year still looking for a route back to a world title opportunity.

Despite falling short again, his performance against Daniel Roman in the US earned plaudits and suggested a third crack at world honours is a distinct possibility.

A career-best masterclass against Gamal Yafai in March demonstrated just how good the 32-year-old is.

Junior Sports Personality of the Year

Joshua Berry

Remember the name, because teenage golfer Josh Berry is a star of the future.

The 13-year-old, from Kirk Bramwith, capped a sensational year by winning The Junior European Open 2018 in Spain, one of the most prestigious junior tournaments across Europe.

He also won an array of international and domestic titles during 2018 and represented England Under-16s in the R&A’s Junior British Open. 

The Doncaster Golf Club member plays in men’s medals and other men’s tournaments at his home club and already represents the Sheffield Union men’s team. 

Team of the Year

Tickhill Cricket Club

Tickhill bounced straight back to the ECB Yorkshire South Premier League at the first time of asking with minimum fuss.

They won 15 out of 20 games and lost just twice on their to winning the South Yorkshire League Championship title.

Their promotion means that Doncaster will have two teams in the top flight for the time since the Yorkshire League was regionalized in 2016, with Tickhill joining Doncaster Town at the top table.

Liam Johnson scored the most league runs (562) and Callum Stuart finished the year as leading wicket taker with 46 league victims at an average of 12.39.

Highly commended

Doncaster Miners Volleyball Club

The ambitious Doncaster club won Division Three North of the National League.

They were formed in 2015 and have aspirations of bringing elite level volleyball to the town.

Coach of the Year

Alan Stoves and Gareth Ikin 

Stoves and Ikin both led England to gold medal glory at the Hockey Masters World Cup in Spain.

Ikin, Doncaster Hockey Club ladies' first team coach, was in charge of the women's over-35s, while Town Field stalwart Stoves guided the men's over-40s side to gold. 

Highly-commended

Richard Horne

Horne led Doncaster RLFC to third in Betfred League One in his first full season in charge at the Keepmoat Stadium - an improvement on the previous season's sixth-placed finish.

The Dons lost to Workington Town in the promotion play-offs.

Outstanding Sporting Achievement

Fraer Morrow

Weightlifter Fraer Morrow produced a brilliant performance in her debut Commonwealth Games to finish fifth in the women’s 53kg in Australia.

The 19-year-old, from Bessacarr, lifted a personal best and broke a British record by lifting 99kg in the clean and jerk. She lifted 73kg in the snatch.

Afterwards she said: “I think I could have done even better but I am always going to think that.

“If I had got that last snatch (75kg) then that would have been the perfect day but it’s my first Commonwealth Games and I’m still only 19 so I can settle for five lifts from six.

“I’m still a junior lifter so there’s still that to come but my aim now is qualifying for the Olympics."

Highly commended

Mason Yarrow

Taekwondo ace Mason Yarrow went to the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina in October.

The 17-year-old, from Dunscroft, enjoyed a memorable 2018 after also representing Great Britain at senior level for the first time at the European Championship.

Special Recognition

Jamie McDonnell

World champion boxer Jamie McDonnell has been punching his weight out of the ring this year - by launching a charitable foundation in his name.

The Doncaster fighter has given up his time throughout the year for a variety of community projects and school visits. 

The project also involves the launch of the JMcD Boxing Academy in central Doncaster.

A launch party was held at Bawtry Hall in August.

“For those that know me, my biggest motivation in boxing has been to earn enough money to provide for my family," said Jamie.

“This still remains a priority, however the launch of the foundation will allow me to have a closer relationship with the charitable work and social issues which are important to me."