SUFFOLK SPORTS AWARDS: Abbeycroft Leisure Coach of the Year
- Credit: Andy Abbott
The annual Suffolk Sports Awards will take place at Trinity Park, Ipswich, on Friday night. Fourteen awards will be presented and this section looks at the Abbeycroft Leisure Coach of the Year award. Next Wednesday we’ll bring you the winners from the event in the Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times.
Gavin Hogg (Rugby)
Gavin led Bury St Edmunds Rugby club to promotion to the National League for the very first time last spring, and masterminded the club’s perfect season record.
His role as head coach has seen him organise and run an in-house coach development programme to improve the number and quality of coaches working at the club, from under-sevens to seniors.
Every age group now has at least one Level 2 coach responsible for their team.
Gavin has been involved in rugby all his life and, as a player, he competed at a high level in Northern Ireland before moving to England and becoming player-coach at Stowmarket.
Ian Driver (Hockey)
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Ian has been a volunteer coach at Ipswich Hockey club for the last 10 years, providing coaching support to bridge the gap between junior and adult hockey.
He was instrumental in establishing the Ipswich Hockey Club Junior Academy four years ago, which has since produced several England internationals.
For a number of years he has coached the Under 16 girls’ team, achieving outstanding results last season when the team reached the final of both the national indoor and outdoor championships, a first in the club’s history.
During the summer he runs a junior development team in the local ladies’ summer league, providing players aged 13-16 with, often, their first opportunity to play in an adult environment.
Emily Wharton (Tennis)
Emily has worked at the Wortham club since 2009, making a significant impact on the success and reputation of the club.
Emily has increased the standard of play and confidence in junior players to the extent that the club was able to enter five junior teams in this summer’s AEGON league. Under Emily’s guidance, the under-12 boys’ team won the Suffolk Junior Winter League.
She has increased the number of girls playing and for the first time in several years there was a girls’ final at the club’s finals day.
She has successfully introduced Cardio Tennis and Tennis Express and was selected as the National AEGON coach of the month in June. She has also been shortlisted for the National Coach of the Year award.