Wins for Peterborough United, Peterborough Panthers, Peterborough Town CC and Paralympians in the PT Sports Awards for 2021

The Peterborough Telegraph can’t run their sports awards competition as a public vote again for 2021.

Friday, 31st December 2021, 12:00 pm
Lauren Steadman after receiving her gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics. Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images.

But here are our unofficial winners from an exceptional year for our sporting stars. Sadly there are no prizes or a glitzy night out, just the honour of a mention on a well-read website!

SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR

It’s always baffled me how Posh chairman/co-owner/El Presidente/chief scout Darragh MacAnthony has never won this prize through a public vote.

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James Fox (centre) with his GB Paralympic gold medal winning crew. Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images.

After all he combines a huge personality/ego (both boosted now by his popular ‘Hard Truth’ podcast) with his sporting success which in 2021 meant overseeing a return to the Championship after eight long years.

Okay his ‘trust the process’ slogan for the current season could well bite him on the backside as Posh are currently struggling in the relegation zone, but there has been no more charismatic figure than MacAnthony in the city’s sporting arena since he rocked up at London Road in 2006.

MacAnthony faced competition from his own first-team manager Darren Ferguson who engineered his fourth Posh promotion (a club record) and reached the impressive milestones of 500 games as club boss and 700 games as a Football League manager.

Away from football, what a year for the Peterborough Panthers speedway team and their astute team boss Rob Lyon, another candidate for the top prize.

Posh heroes of 2021 Jonson Clarke-Harris (left) and Darragh MacAnthony. Photo: David Lowndes.

Lyon had to shuffle his team and riding order around because of injuries, but did it so successfully Panthers claimed their first top-flight crown for 15 years in great style.

Honourable mentions also to Peterborough Town Cricket Club captain David Clarke, rising boxing star Jordan Gill and Panthers skipper Scott Nicholls, an ever-smiling presence at the Showground and still a top rider at the grand old age of 43.

But for us there is only one winner so step forward DARRAGH MACANTHONY and let’s hope he’s also in the running next year as it would mean his ‘process’ did actually work and Posh have survived in the second tier!

SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR

Peterborough Panthers celebrate their Premiership title success in 2021. Photo: David Lowndes.

Posh striker Jonson Clarke-Harris shot Posh to promotion last season with 33 goals.

Any of the magnificent seven Panthers riders would be a worthy winner as well, but Peterborough was also represented with distinction on the world stage.

James Fox and Lee Manning, both Jack Hunt School alumni, took part in the Tokyo Paralympics in rowing and basketball respectively, while Stilton shooter Matt Skelhon competed in his fourth Games.

And Fox won a gold medal in a coxed mixed quad with Manning collecting a bronze medal.

Peterborough Town CC’s Josh Smith was named player of the year in the Northants Premier Division, while Chatteris boxer Gill’s rise up the world featherweight rankings is most noteworthy.

Emerging gymnast Jake Jarman from Gunthorpe was a reserve for the GB Olympic squad in Tokyo at the age of 19,

But JAMES FOX is now a double paralympic gold medalist and a five-time world champion (in a boat that hasn’t lost for 11 years) so he’s our winner for 2021.

SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR

The successful Peterborough Nene Valley Athletic Club also provided a Tokyo Paralympian in shot putter Lydia Church and although she failed to medal, just taking part is an achievement in itself.

Taking part is not enough for Sawtry triathlete Lauren Steadman though as she claimed a brilliant Paralympic gold.

Milton golfer Thalia Martin is making great progress after turning professional earlier this year, while there are also some impressive lady footballers in the area.

Captain Keir Perkins is leading from the front in the first National League campaign in Posh history, while Emily Johnson and Yasmin Green are a fearsome strike force for Netherton United.

But a GB gold means LAUREN STEADMAN is our winner.

JUNIOR STAR of THE YEAR (U18)

Peterborough Town CC’s leg spinner KARANPAL SINGH (17), who claimed some big scalps in the summer, wins this prize ahead of prolific winning athlete Louie Hemmings who is only 11.

TOP TEAM

This is the toughest category to judge. Posh are a leading contender for reasons already stated as are the Panthers and both secured glory in the most thrilling fashion.

Panthers were no-one’s favourites to become Premiership champions in 2021. Indeed they started the season as fifth favourites in a six-team competition mainly because they built a side so old it was a shock Stannah Stairlifts weren’t announced as a major sponsor. The ‘Dad’s Army’ nickname started out as an insult, but finished as a huge compliment.

Now in my early days on this paper I was once sent to watch Panthers (as a punishment I think). It was tedious beyond belief. More unbearable than being trapped in a lift with Shane Warne and the rest of tbe useless Aussie cricket commentators.

But I watched both Grand Final fixtures against Belle Vue in the summer and the excitement and tension was a thrill to behold.

But the two city sporting heavyweights were up against some high-achieving amateur teams with Peterborough Town Cricket Club’s seven trophies between first and second XI a unique achievement at Bretton Gate. Town haven’t lost a Northants Premier Division match for two seasons.

And Milton Golf Club’s junior team would be hot favourites to win in a less competitive year. They represented the club, Northants, the Midlands and England in the Home International Championships which they duly won in front of the Sky TV cameras.

Netherton United ladies also deserve praise for reaching the second round of the Women’s FA Cup for the first time in their history.

But for me PETERBOROUGH PANTHERS shade it in an exceptional year for our teams.