Netball's Bethan Ziedler (pictured with acting Director of Campus Services and Director of Sport Phil Attwell) won Sports Woman of the Year Award. Image: Mike James Photographic.

Sporting excellence recognised at AU awards

Exeter Castle played host to the University of Exeter’s brightest sporting talent at the annual Athletic Union awards on Wednesday 1 May.

Approximately 500 players from over 30 clubs took to the red carpet for the black tie event which recognised the outstanding achievements of clubs and athletes throughout the year.

The majority of the University’s 49 sports club’s held nominations for at least one of the 15 awards which covered an array of categories both on and off the pitch.

“This year’s AU dinner was another excellent celebration of sporting success at Exeter” commented Assistant Director or Sport (Performance and Competitions), Nick Beasant. “There have been some incredible sporting achievement s and outstanding results over the last 12 months, and this event is the most fitting occasion to recognise all of them.”

It was a successful night for the Men’s Football Club who scooped three awards including the Club Development Award, Team Captain of the Year (Jesse Wilson), and Club Captain of the year (Jean Luc Esposito and Rob Fellingham). The club, whose first team were promoted into the top flight of University football this season, also enjoyed record numbers at their annual varsity in September.

Captain of the year co-winner Jean Luc Esposito said: “EUAFC is immensely proud to have received these awards adding to what continues to be a successful season. We [Rob and I] would like to thank all of our club members, supporters, committee, and the AU without whose tireless efforts this season’s success would not have been possible.”

Snow Sports also left the evening with an impressive haul. The club, who do not compete in the British Universities and Colleges Sport set-up, received the Non-BUCS Club of the year in recognition of their annual trips to the Alps which see hundreds of students hit the slopes each year. They also received the Achievement in Media award for their Piggyback Backflip ski video which has so far received over 70,000 hits on Youtube. Club Treasurer William March also collected Treasurer of the year.

“We are unbelievably proud of the awards we have won this year.” Commented Snow Sports captain Robert Fail. “Looking forward we are determined to continuously produce even better media and now that Freestyle gets BUCS points next year, we’re aiming to win the best AU club overall.”

Snooker and Pool won Team of the Year following a year of dominance across both disciplines. The club won every major tournament they entered this season including the BUCS National Snooker and Eight-ball Pool championships.

Individually the honours went to Netball’s Bethan Ziedler and Men's Cricket and Men's Hockey’s Tom Abell who were awarded Sports Woman and Sports Man of the Year. Sports Personality of the year went to Emily Robinson (Women’s Cricket, Women’s Hockey and Women’s Rugby), whilst Squash’s Josh Tipping took Coach of the Year. American Football’s Ollie Tribe was also recognised for his efforts working on the Social Sport and Sporting Stars day, as he picked up the Volunteer of the Year award.

The acclaimed Bruce Coleman Contribution to Sport award was awarded to Lacrosse scholar Emily Zaborski. Now in her final year, the Scotland international has competed for the Lacrosse first team throughout her time at Exeter. She said: "Winning the Bruce Coleman award has topped off four amazing years at Exeter. Sport here has been a huge part of my student life and I implore everyone to get involved in some way or another. I'm so thankful to everyone who has helped me get this far; particularly the AU, EULC and the High Performance Team”.

The evening ended with the Club of the Year award, which honours the best overall club achievements throughout the season. Despite being newly formed for 2013/2014 Windriders took the prize following an outstanding opening season. An amalgamation of the former windsurfing, water-skiing and kiteboarding clubs, the club achieved a number of BUCS medals this season and were shortlisted for funding by local body Active Devon.

Club captain Josh Clarkson praised the achievements of the club. He said: "We are over the moon to have been awarded club of the year, this would not have been possible without the hard work of this year’s committee and the support of our members. This has been a fantastic first year for us, with next year looking to be even better."

Photos from the evening are available on the University of Exeter Student Sport Facebook page.

Date: 12 May 2014