Young Sam shocked to beat such a high quality field
SUCH was the quality of sporting success on show at Guernsey Sports Commission’s 2019 awards night that outstanding cyclist Sam Culverwell had been thoroughly surprised to take home the top gong.
Culverwell certainly had no shortage of supporters rooting for him at the Beau Sejour theatre following a breakthrough season graced by an Island Games crown and a 12th-place finish at the senior National Championships.
However, the 19-year-old’s initial reaction on lifting the GSC Trophy was to pay tribute to the class of the other contenders.
His achievements had ultimately taken centre stage from bowls world champions Lucy Beere and Alison Merrien, prospective Olympians Cam Chalmers and Clem Thompson, and footballing hotshot Maya Le Tissier, who signed her first professional contract on Wednesday.
‘It’s a massive honour just to be nominated for the award, let alone to win it,’ he said after taking a trophy last year won by British U20 record-breaking hurdler Ala Chalmers.
‘Especially when you look at the other people who were nominated – their achievements have just been phenomenal. Realistically, I think every single one of those nominees could have won it and was deserving of that award.
‘It just goes to show the incredible strength-in-depth of outstanding Guernsey performance across a whole range of sports, which is really impressive to see from such a small island and is also really encouraging going forward to the home Island Games in 2021.
‘From a personal point of view, I wasn’t expecting to win the award but I was maybe hoping to get shortlisted, top three.’
St Martin’s football club ended the night with a trophy hat-trick of sorts. Beyond the accomplishments of their unbeaten U16s, who earned the Beau Sejour Trophy for youth team performance, Saints could reflect upon their role in developing bright prospects Le Tissier and Alex Scott.
Brighton and Hove Albion’s Le Tissier won the Guernsey Brewery Salver for outstanding women’s achievement and Scott, who successfully trialled for Bristol City, won the equivalent youth prize.
Meanwhile, Guernsey Triathlon toasted two of their successes at the latest Island Games.
Male champion Josh Lewis had shone among tough competition for the Richard Burton Salver, celebrating men’s achievement, minutes after the Sir John Loveridge Trophy for sporting progress went to female silver medallist Megan Chapple.
Neither of those four had been present to collect their award – the product of their off-island successes in some cases.
But making the stage with beaming faces were the European Championships-winning mixed lawn bowls quartet who received the GSC’s Small Team Trophy.
The equivalent prize for a team of over four individuals went to the Guernsey table tennis squad that won gold at Gibraltar 2019. The efforts of coaches and organisers didn’t go unnoticed either, with long-serving basketball stalwart Patrick Ogier and Guernsey Cricket receiving the Dave Dorey Memorial Trophy and Sport Guernsey and Nautical Guernsey Shield respectively. Guernsey Cricket had won the latter for hosting the T20 Europe Final.