Shannon McIlroy won the top prize at the ASB Nelson Sports Awards last week. Photo: Evan Barnes/Shuttersport

Shannon claims top sporting crown

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The world’s best lawn bowler has also been named Nelson’s Sportsperson of the Year for 2019.

Shannon McIlroy won the top accolade at the Nelson Sports Awards on Thursday evening.

In the glitziest night of the year for our local athletes, the city celebrated its most outstanding sportspeople at the 52nd annual awards held at Annesbrook Church.

Shannon says it was a credit to his support team including his family, which have helped him get to the top.

“It’s pretty humbling to be acknowledged for the efforts.”

Shannon says the game has been a huge part of his life.

“I’ve been playing for 28 years, I was on a bowling green before I went to school, it’s just been imprinted on me. As I go through now, it doesn’t matter who I play, I still have that edge.”

The world champion has played a whopping 360 matches for New Zealand Shannon also beat out world number one adventure racer Nathan Fa’avae, track star Craig Lautenslager and Central Stags skipper Greg Hay, who helped the Nelson Griffins win the Hawke Cup for the first time in 22 years, for Sportsman of the Year earlier in the night.

Shannon was quick to congratulate the fellow nominees in his category.

“We have some amazing talent here in Nelson for such a small area.”

Sport Tasman CEO Nigel Muir congratulated the 83 nominees who have “tested themselves in the cauldron of competition”.

“This evening reminds us of the simple truth that it’s not about the awards we win but a deeper self-reflection and measure of what we have put in.”

Nelson rower Zoe McBride took out Sportswoman of the Year on the back of winning two world cup gold medals and gold in the world rowing champs in Austria earlier this year.

Zoe claimed gold in the lightweight women’s sculls with teammate Jackie Kiddle which saw them both nominated for the world crew of the year.

The Tasman Mako’s historic season keeps getting better as the side was named Sports Team of the Year.

A maiden Mitre 10 Cup premiership also earned the Mako head coach Andrew Goodman the title of best in the region.

Nelson cricket veteran Mason Robinson was named the best Masters Sportsperson in the region, currently the second-ranked over-50 player in the world.

A trio of long-time servants to sport were also honoured with the Rata Foundation Lifetime Contribution to Sport awards.

These went to Don Carter for lawn bowls, Maree Smith for netball and Shane Drummond for rugby.

The region’s top young sports stars were also recognised with all three categories showcasing the incredible depth of young talent in Nelson.

In a highly competitive category, New Zealand football star Amelia Abbott was named Junior Sportswoman of the Year The U20 footballer was an integral member of the New Zealand side which finished third at the FIFA U17 World Cup.

Nayland College’s beach volleyball team won the Junior Sports Team of the Year after their historic success in 2019.

National champions Sophie Young and Greta Stjade took out the coveted award thanks to their unprecedented run in Mt Manganui where the pair went unbeaten throughout the tournament.

Mountainbiker Brady Stone was named the Sport Tasman Junior Sportsman of the Year after his stellar international season.

Brady won the British National Enduro Series Under 21 title in Wales this year and finished second in the overall enduro standings.