The group of nominees for the 2016 Orange Sport Awards was phenomenal, no wonder the Orange City Council sport and recreation committee had such a hard time choosing the winners.
It did eventually though, and the overwhelming sensation for each of the four victors was surprise. Congratulations to the winners and all the nominees.
SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR
Despite the stellar group of nominees, it’d be pretty tough to argue Marjoram didn’t deserve this award after tasting World Cup success last year.
Marjoram was a part of Australia’s over 45s hockey side which dominated the 2016 Federation of International Hockey Masters World Cup, going through undefeated to claim the gold medal in emphatic fashion.
Marjoram was one of the Aussies’ best too, scoring four goals, including a double against Ireland in the preliminary games. He found the back of the net in Australia’s 3-1 decider win over England too.
Marjoram beat out a host of other NSW and Australian representatives who were nominated, like Eliza Mills, Deb Orrock, Janet Martin, Charlie Gascoyne, Jack Littlefield and Charlie Bubb.
“I can’t believe it, I wasn’t expecting this at all,” Marjoram, the first male hockey player to win the award in more than 30 years, said.
“It was very nice to beat England, we do like beating them. It was really nice that my mum, my brother, my wife and kids were able to come and watch too, being in Canberra that made it possible.”
JUNIOR SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR
In 2016 Annie Miller became just the fourth Orange netballer, since the turn of the century anyway, to be selected in the Australian Schoolgirls under 16s side.
She helped her NSW side to a silver medal at the School Sport Australia 15 and Under Championship to earn her place and join that elite crew alongside Sophie Fardell (2006), Dominique Ferguson (2002) and Teigan Colley (2002).
In basketball terms, Miller also toured New Zealand with the Australian Country Cup and represented NSW Country.
She’s since moved to Sydney with her family and wasn’t on hand to accept the award as a result, her mother Clare did so and spoke on her behalf.
“I know Annie really wants to thank Orange Netball Association and Orange Basketball Association,” Clare Miller said.
“In particular Mardi Aplin, Kylie Jordan and Michael Rudd from netball and Craig Harvey, Grant Cole and Carmen Dederer on the basketball side of things.
“It can be really tough for players in the country to go further with travel and that sort of thing, but our associations really make it a lot easier.
“We have an amazing association in netball and I’d say the same about basketball.”
TEAM OF THE YEAR
EMUS RUGBY CLUB
Following in the footsteps of their cross-city rivals Orange City – the Lions shared this award with Orange Netball Association’s Central West Regional League side in 2013 – Emus’ top grade side claimed last year’s Team of the Year gong after sealing a second consecutive Blowes Clothing Cup title.
Outside the two losses the side suffered and a hard-fought grand final showdown against Forbes, the greens went through the 2016 Central West Rugby Union top grade season relatively untroubled.
It has no bearing on the award, but the side is also undefeated and well on track to claim a third straight title in 2017.
Emus beat out ONA’s top and under 14s sides, which won a 21st straight Regional League title and finished second in the Samsung State Age Championship respectively, along with Orange’s NSW title-winning over 35s women’s masters hockey side.
“There was some amazing teams nominated so we’re pretty proud of this, a big congratulations to those teams for great years and earning nominations. This wasn’t expected, so thank you to Orange City Council,” Emus coach Paul Ringland said.
“It’s not just for the players or coaches, there’s so many volunteers and people who put their time into it and we couldn’t do it without them, so thank you.”
SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
A player, a coach, a founder, a secretary, a president – there really isn’t much Orange City Rugby Club supremo Steve Stone hasn’t done for his club over the years.
A true gentleman in every sense of the world, Stone has gone above and beyond over the years and devoted countless hours to ensure the Lions have thrived and continue to do so.
He’s one of the founders of the Lions’ junior club – a production line of talent – and has been president of the senior club for the last 12 years, but his work with the club and the wider community extends far further than that.
As a result, he was named the 2016 Orange Sports Personality of the Year.
“I really wasn’t expecting this, it’s a nice thing to happen after the last week or so the club’s had,” Stone said.
“Charlie Brouwers got me involved in the club when I came back from Sydney, I’ve just tried to follow his example in being a good ambassador for the club.
“There’s a lot of reasons why you do the work you do but I think it’s just about giving something back, the juniors in particular was a good way to do so. The camaraderie, the mateship, all those sort of things as well.
“Such an award, it’s a real surprise, thank you.”