Gareth Southgate was the toast of England when he steered the nation’s football team to the semi-finals of the World Cup this summer.
Tracey Neville inspired one of the sporting stories of the year when her England netball team shocked the mighty Australia in an epic Commonwealth Games final.
They are two obvious candidates for the Coaching Moment of the Year at the UK Coaching Awards. The third and final nominees are maybe not so much.
They are the coaching staff of amateur Yorkshire rugby union team Old Otliensians for their achievement in winning the RFU Junior Vase at Twickenham.
The trio of coaches up for the award is Kris Stafford, Steve Quinn and Harrison Marshall.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable and we’re completely stunned,” said club treasurer Gordon Longfellow.
The coaching team did a marvellous job at Twickenham but right through that cup run and also in winning promotion from Yorkshire Three. But Gareth Southgate, Tracey Neville and a team from the back of beyond in Yorkshire. It’s hard to believe.Old Otliensians
“The coaching team did a marvellous job at Twickenham but right through that cup run and also in winning promotion from Yorkshire Three.
“But Gareth Southgate, Tracey Neville and a team from the back of beyond in Yorkshire. It’s hard to believe.”
Club chairman Ben Featherstone added: “It’s fantastic for the club and just rewards the hard work that has gone in over the last few years.
“We were nominated because it’s a great story - a little old club like ours getting to Twickenham and winning.
“The whole town of Otley got behind us and we had a wonderful homecoming parade with an open-top bus and a civic reception.
“The run to Twickenham has rejuvenated interest in the club.”
The Coaching Moment of the Year is open to a public vote, beginning on the 19 November and concluding on the night of the awards on November 29.
Three more Yorkshire coaches have been shortlisted at the UK Coaching Awards. Ady Gray, Cameron Osburn and the late Fred Furniss, have been selected as finalists for the Children’s Coach of the Year, Disability Coach of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards, respectively.
Ripon-based martial arts coach, Gray said: “To be even nominated for this award over so many other great coaches is an honour.”
Teenager Cameron Osburn is up for disability coach of the year for his work across a multitude of sports including martial arts and Under-12 disability football in the Harrogate area.
Osburn’s mother Claire said: “We are all so immensely proud.
“He had this goal in mind when he was 16, and he’s gone from strength to strength. He set up the team by himself; he got the funding and sourced grants and equipment.
“He’s asked questions along the way but generally he’s done the majority himself. We run it as a family but my husband and my younger son both work for him.”
Fred Furniss passed away in July, but his legacy will live on for many years thanks to 45 years of coaching in Rotherham and then Kirklees. He most recently led Team England to success at the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games. Swim England’s Grant Robins said: “Fred’s level of enthusiasm for the sport and developing the sport through the coaches or the swimmers was huge.”