Nationals winning volleyball coach scoops top award

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Colin Redpath believes his coach of the year award is a win for the entire ASB Nelson Pine roster.

Having just picked up the prestigious Canterbury Community Trust Nelson Coach of the Year at the Nelson Sports Awards on Wednesday, Colin was quick to mention the nominations his players had, before reflecting on the moment that ASB Nelson Pine were crowned kings of the court – New Zealand’s top volleyball club.

Tournament MVP Patrick Shone was a finalist for Nelson Sportsman of the Year, Finn Delaney was up for Nelson Junior Sportsman of the Year, and the ASB Nelson Pines were up for Nelson Team of the Year. “There’s lots of fantastic coaches but you need a team to get a result to actually win any of these awards,” says Colin, who admits he did not expect to win.

ASB Nelson Pine won the VNZ Club Championship in August, beating competition favourites and 16 time winners Sparta in a five set thriller. The final was held at the Trafalgar Centre after a week of matches in Nelson. “There were 2500-3000 people there, the whole atmosphere was great.”

Colin says winning the VNZ Club Championship was a four year process that included multiple trips across the country for competitive matches and sometimes just to train. Four of the 12 Nelson players now study in Wellington, and part of the Pines’ success was the ability to bring some of the city’s top players together again. “This year we had a base in Wellington with so many ex-Nelsonians there. You try to piece everything together without everyone in the same place, it’s an interesting one. We were sleeping on floors, booking the cheapest flights possible, just to get to Auckland and play the best teams there.”

Colin has previously won the VNZ Club Championship with Christchurch club Shirley in 1993 but this was the first time a Nelson team had ever won the tournament. His coaching CV also includes a stint as the national men’s coach and roles with New Zealand age-group teams. But it’s clear his future is with Nelson and he’s hoping the Pines can build the same dynasty that Sparta has produced over the past 20 years.

Team Seagate was the biggest winner on the night with adventure racing team-mates Nathan Fa’avae, Trevor Voyce, Sophie Hart and Chris Forne picking up the More FM Sports Team and overall New Zealand Community Trust Nelson Sportsperson of the Year awards. Tall Black Mika Vukona was named Nelson Pine Industries Sportsman of the Year while lawn bowler Jo Edwards received the Westpac Sportswoman of the Year award. Takaka motocross rider Hamish Harwood won the ASB Junior Sportsman award with Emily Jensen taking home the Sport New Zealand Junior Sportswoman of the Year award. Waimea College’s under-16 double sculls rowing team-mates Sam Johnston and Sean Ducray won the Nelson Mail Junior Sports Team of the Year award and Phil Costley was named The Printhouse Nelson Masters Sportsperson of the Year.

David Jones, Robert Winter, Rosalie Winter and Bob Cooke received life-time contribution awards.