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Local coaching team competing with England greats for award


You don’t often find yourself up against one of England’s most famous coaches, but that’s exactly what has happened to Leeds Beckett’s Kris Stafford and Harrison Marshall.

Coaching Awards

Kris, who is the Rugby Development Officer for Sport and Active Lifestyles, and student Harrison who is currently studying an MSc in Sports Coaching, have been shortlisted for a UK Coaching award which sees them competing with England Football Manager Gareth Southgate and England Netball team Head Coach Tracey Neville – formerly a netball coach at Leeds Beckett. They’re all shortlisted for the ‘Great Coaching Moment of the Year’ award which celebrates a particular moment in time when a coach’s support and guidance really paid off.

Kris and Harrison, along with Stephen Quinn, have been nominated for their work with Old Otliensians RUFC in Otley. They took over the coaching of the rugby team last year. Since then the team has been promoted and got to the national final in Twickenham where they won the RFU Junior Vase. The team train twice a week and play on a Saturday. Everyone is a volunteer so no-one is paid.

Local woman Sharon Marshall nominated the trio for the award. She said: “I am passionate about recognising great coaching and I know the annual UK Coaching Awards are the showpiece for so many coaches to have their achievements shared and acknowledged. The whole town of Otley came out to cheer on the boys of Old Otlensians having reached the final of the Junior Vase trophy at Twickenham. The hard work and passion of the coaches certainly rubbed off onto the players. The coaches involved deserve recognition in the team’s performance throughout the year, topped off with a once in a lifetime opportunity to play at Twickenham.

”Winning the trophy for the first time in the Club’s history made it extra special. I’m very proud to be part of the community and know some of the players involved. Victories like this make a small club, as they attract new supporters and more importantly new players at an early age.

“I would love to see them pick up this award, especially as the other finalists are so high profile.”

Speaking about the nomination, Kris Stafford said: “Myself, Steve and Harrison are over the moon to be nominated for Coaching Moment of the Year 2018. It’s always nice to receive recognition for the work you do, but to receive it on a national platform is unbelievable and something we still can’t believe.

“The final in May was not only good for the club, but also for the whole town of Otley and it was great to see how sport can bring a community together. It’s amazing the power of sport can have on a community, and to be nominated by someone locally for this achievement is a huge honour and we are very grateful to them. To be on a list with household names like Gareth Southgate and Tracey Neville is unbelievable; they are both incredible and highly regarded coaches within their sports and in the wider sports community, and competing with them for a national award is something I never thought would happen. Whatever does happen on the night, I am looking forward to meeting them and sharing stories about our achievements, and celebrating the winning moment together.”

Voting for the ‘Great Coaching Moment of the Year opens on Monday 19 November – to support Kris, Marshall and Stephen please visit https://www.ukcoaching.org/about/our-awards

The winners will be announced at the UK Coaching Awards 2018 event in London on 29 November.

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