SOTY 2017: Monthly winners, October to January

Kris Knights, the November monthly award winner, with a selection of his trophies collected during the past 12 months.
Kris Knights, the November monthly award winner, with a selection of his trophies collected during the past 12 months.

October

Josh Lawler

Boxing

After securing the NSW Country super-lightweight title back in October last year, for which he received October’s monthly award, Cowra amateur boxer Josh Lawler went on to secure the state lightweight belt in March this year.

Fighting in Cowra, Lawler put his country belt on the line in a bid to secure the state title, and he did so by unanimous decision defeating Kobie Duncan.

 Trained locally by Jason Steward, the 20-year-old has compiled an amateur boxing record of 8-2, including one knockout victory, and has been undefeated since combining with Steward roughly four years ago.

In October, Lawler won the country title at the Bathurst Showground Pavilion as part of the Final Showdown tournament card, defeating Parkes’ Brad Moss by unanimous decision.

At the time, Lawler told the Cowra Guardian he identified his dominance in the third stanza of the fourth round bout as instrumental to the end result.

Lawler has his radar on climbing the amateur boxing ranks.

November 

Kris Knights

Skiing

Water skiier Kris Knights had a brilliant season last summer headlined by victory in the Bridge to Bridge Water Ski Classic on the Hawkesbury River and the Southern 80 at Mildura – two of Australia’s biggest ski events.

Knights and his team, Merforce, defied the odds at Mildura in February, recovering from 16th place after a 20km time trial, making up ground to win the race labelled one of water skiing’s toughest events on the calendar.

Mercforce, made up of boat driver Don Gulley, observer Kevin Boylan and skiers Kris Knights and Jake Tegart, claim the victory their greatest achievement after three years of consecutive second place finishes.

In a thrilling finish, Mercforce edged out reining champions team Mistress by eight seconds finishing the 80km race in a slick 31 minutes and 10 seconds.

Victory in the Bridge to Bridge during November won Knights his Sportsperson of the Year monthly prize.

The result was a dream come true for Knights, who told the Cowra Guardian it was the race which inspired him to pursue the sport.

The team led from start to finish hitting a top speed of 196km/h.

“Winning the race that gave me the love for this sport, makes it all the sweeter,” Kris Knights said.

Honors during the past 12 months include-

River classics

2nd Hawkesbury 120, 2nd Grafton bridge to bridge, 1st Bridge to Bridge Water Ski Classic, 1st Southern 80, 2nd Ted Hurely (Wentworth), 1st Robinvale 80, 1st Mildura 80, 1st Barry Behagg (Echuca).

Circuit racing

Queensland state titles: 1st Open men, 1st 20-30 men, 1st unlimited inboard.

NSW series: 2nd overall unlimited inboard 2up.

Country ACT series: 2nd overall unlimited inboard 2up.

NSW state titles: 1st Moc outboard.

Australian titles: 1st unlimited outboard.

Barry Carne Memorial: 1st 30-40 men, 2nd formula 2 outboard.

Australian team selection races: 6th open men (top three compete in the world titles).

December

Alana Ryan

Cricket

Alana Ryan represented ACT/NSW Country at the women’s National Under 18s Cricket Championships in Hobart in November, leading to recognition as a contender for this year’s Sportsperson of the Year.

Alana and ACT/NSW Country finished third overall, pitted against seven other Australian states and territories.

The week long championships consisted of four Twenty20s and four 50 over matches.

Prior to making selection in the ACT/NSW Country side, Alana captained Western Zone at the NSW Country Championships and was selected in one of two Country NSW sides to play NSW Metropolitan.

Outside of playing the game, Alana is involved in coaching and development of western girls.

She hopes to further improve her playing skills and coaching skills.

January 

Rick Nobes 

Rugby league

Cowra Magpie Rick Nobes picked up January’s monthly award following his selection in the under 23s Western Rams training squad, ahead of the inaugural under 23s country championships which was ultimately won by Monaro.

Nobes trained with a 47-man Rams squad during January.

The squad was cut before the opening round at Cowra on May 13.

The young dummy-half is an asset for the Magpies in 2017 during his first season in the premier league side.