It was a bit like the Oscars, only much more important. It was also a bit like BBC Sports Review of the Year as well, only much more important. It was, of course, Havant Borough Sports Association’s 37th Annual Awards night, and the Many Shades had been nominated for no less than three awards. On 2nd February 2017 four nervous players attended to represent the club and collect any prizes that came our way.
We had been nominated in the categories “Team of the Year”, “Veteran Sportsman of the Year”, and “Coach of the Year”. Although plenty of people knew about these nominations, we had tried to keep them secret from both Rich Bonsey and Shaun Gale so that if they won it would be a genuinely pleasant surprise, and if they lost they would never know!
The first half of the ceremony was to present the awards to the Runners-up in all of the categories. The first category we were up for was Team of the Year, and sure enough, the Many Shades were summoned to collect this award. There was no mention of Rich or Shaun in the runners-up categories for Veteran, or for Coach, so we hoped there was still a chance for them.
As the main awards began to be announced, the quality of achievement of the winners in so many categories was very high, with serious international attainment on their CVs, and it began to look ominous. Then we got to Veteran Sportsman of the Year, and Rich Bonsey’s name flashed up on the screen! Stew Russell went up to collect Rich’s award as he hadn’t been well enough to attend in person, and Stew said a few words on Rich’s behalf.
Then came “Coach of the Year”, and no mention of Shaun at all! His loyal players looked at each other and accepted that perhaps tonight wasn’t to be his night. Shaun of course couldn’t have attended anyway as Thursdays are first team training nights.
Then the last two awards of the night came along – the Service to Sport Award, and the overall Sports Person of the Year Award. Totally out of the blue, Shaun Gale’s name was announced for the Service to Sport Award, well deserved in light of all of his efforts for Hawks in the Community, but especially so for his dedication and commitment to the Many Shades of Grey.
After that we just waited to see which of the many excellent sports men and women from the Borough would be declared overall Sports Person of the Year, and we really were stunned and delighted that it was Shaun Gale who got the nod! Verily thou art the “Special One”!
Nominated for three Awards, we came away with four, that really is something of a result!
Pete, John the Hat, Stewart and Jeff stand guard over Rich and Shaun’s silverware.
Both Rich and Shaun were able to be presented with their awards at the home league game against Billericay on the following Saturday.