Colman double helps Carlisle scoop regional pool

SJA member Jon Colman will have a very crowded mantelpiece at his Carlisle home after he won both sports writing categories at the Regional Press Awards staged today.

Colman, the winner of the regional sportswriter of the year prize at the SJA’s British Sports Journalism Awards in March, won the weekly prize for his work for The Cumberland News and the daily/Sunday trophy for his writing in the News & Star.

Described by the judges as “an exceptional talent”, it is the third year that Colman has taken the weekly sports writer award.

It was a terrific afternoon for Colman’s newspapers at the ceremony, staged at the Marriott Grosvenor Square, in London, where Carlisle’s News & Star, owned by the family-run CN Group, was also crowned daily newspaper of the year in the below 40,000 circulation category.

The sports photography prizes went to Christopher Whiteoak of the Aldershot News in the weekly category, who was congratulated on having “A portfolio of beautifully observed moments.”

Leah McLaren (Derby Evening Telegraph), described by the judges as “clearly a photographer at ease with every sport”, was the winner among the dailies and Sundays.

According to the chairman of the judges, Peter Sands, entries at this year’s Regional Press Awards were down on previous years. Sands noted that, given the state of the industry at regional newspapers, it was a miracle that the awards went ahead at all. He said some journalists told him they didn’t have time to put together entries, others that their companies would not pay the entry fee.

Sands said his accountant had said to him: “You support Newcastle United and you work in regional newspapers. How unlucky is that?”

Among those shortlisted for the sports writing awards were several members of the SJA. Those among the runners up were: Jonathan Clegg (East London Advertiser), Simone Corgan (MK News), Amanda Little (The Cumberland News), Eric Mackinnon (West Lothian Courier), Paul Rickett (Rotherham Advertiser); John Gibson (Evening Chronicle), Lee Marlow (Leicester Mercury), Tom Richmond (Yorkshire Post), James Smailes (Hull Daily Mail) and Martin Smith (The Star, Sheffield).

Shortlisted for the sports photographer prizes were: Magnus Andersson (South London Press), John Fryer (South Manchester Reporter), Andy Handley (MK News); Anthony Chappel-Ross (The Press, York), Mikal Ludlow (Gloucestershire Echo), Dan Matthams (Nottingham Evening Post), Dustin Michailovs (Nottingham Evening Post) and Lucy Ray (Telegraph & Argus, Bradford).

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