Atherton and Samuel head award shortlist

Former England cricket captain Michael Atherton is on a shortlist of six for the prestigious title of SJA Sports Writer of the Year.

Having played 115 Test matches, Atherton retired from cricket in 2001 and headed for the Press Box where he covered the game for the Sunday Telegraph until succeeding Christopher Martin-Jenkins as cricket correspondent of The Times last year.

Now Atherton finds himself in the running for the most prestigious title in sports writing, with an award determined by the votes of national newspaper sports editors.

The Sports Journalists’ Association was launched as the Sports Writers’ Association in 1948 and has been staging sports awards for the last 60 years and has been recognising the achievement sports journalists with the British Sports Journalism and Sports Photography Awards for nearly 40 years.

This year’s winners in a comprehensive range of categories will be announced next Monday evening, March 9, at a dinner at The Brewery in the City of London sponsored by UK Sport and Sky Bet.

Atherton’s rivals for the top writing prize include some of the biggest names in newspapers, including Martin Samuel, who has lifted the John Bromley Trophy for the past three years.

Samuel was the main player in Fleet Street’s version of the January transfer window, moving from The Times to the Daily Mail. At the same time Paul Hayward left the Mail for the Guardian/Observer titles and Hayward, another previous Sports Writer of the Year, is again shortlisted.

Patrick Collins of the Mail on Sunday, with four previous Sports Writer of the Year titles, and the Independent’s James Lawton, with one, are joined by the Daily Mirror’s Oliver Holt to complete the short list.

Other awards revealed at the dinner will include the Sports Photographer of the Year, Young Sports Writer and Young Sports Photographer of the Year and Regional Sports Writer.

See the shortlists for the SJA British Sports Photography Awards by clicking here

Click here for the shortlisted entries for the writing categories at the SJA British Sports Journalism Awards.

For information about the dinner, including ticket sales, contact Sandra Phillips on 0208 916 2237 or

UK Sport is the longest standing lead sponsor of the Sports Journalists’ Association, with a partnership that goes back more than a decade. Sky Bet are the SJA’s newest partners, the sponsorship being announced in October 2008.

Both partners support the SJA’s two prestigious annual awards events, including the presentation of a special UK Sport Award for excellence at the SJA’s Annual Sports Awards and the sports betting writer of the year at the SJA’s British Sports Journalism Awards.

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