Three longtime Team Army members Qioptiq, Driver Hire and Revision are all keen sponsors of Infantry Sport. Infantry Sport is extremely grateful for their loyal support which has funded the sporting endeavours of hundreds of Infantry soldiers this year.
On Tuesday 13th March, 2018 Colonel Mike Murdoch MBE ADC, as Chairman of Infantry Sports, hosted the Infantry’s Sport teams at the inaugural Sports Awards Dinner held at the Infantry Mess in Warminster. The aim of the Sports Awards Dinner was to celebrate Infantry sport, the Infantry’s success across so many sporting disciplines, and to recognise individual success.
Four awards were presented by Col Infantry during the evening; Best Infantry Sportsperson, Best Infantry Team, Best Contribution to Infantry Sport and Colonel Infantry’s Award for Excellence. All Infantry sports were asked to submit nominations and a select committee were then asked to review the nominations before making recommendations to Colonel Infantry, who had the deciding vote. It was a long and challenging process choosing the award winners, as the Infantry has achieved so much in the 2017/18 season across our various disciplines.
The worthy winners are as follows:
- Best Infantry Sportsperson – LCpl Chez Nihell 1PWRR, is the first in UK boxing history to win and successfully defend the English Title Belt three times at Super Heavyweight and is now the undisputed super heavyweight champion, retaining the belt indefinitely. He is also the UK Armed Forces Champion and the Isle of Wight Sportsman of the year; to name but a few of his titles. This JNCO typifies the core values of every Infantry soldier and is an inspiration to all he meets.
- Best Infantry Team – Swimming. The Inter-Corps Championships, held at the Aldershot Garrison Sports Centre (AGSC), saw every Corps in the Army represented with a guest team from the Royal Marines. The competition started well for the Infantry but with many Army-level athletes in attendance, places were hard-fought. Following some determined swims in the heats, the Infantry team managed to secure a place in every final. Our biggest rival of the day was the Royal Engineers who turned up in force, with a team twice the size of ours. But the Infantry put in some brave performances holding off the competition and eventually securing top spot at the end of the individual competitions. Noteworthy swims came from LCpl Luke Conder RIFLES, who broke the 400m record by a fraction of a second and touched out the current Army Champion. Capt Marcus Roberts SCOTS won the 50m and 100m backstroke events for the sixth time since he started competing in the competition in 2009 (having missed the 2012, 2013 and 2015 seasons due to other commitments). His record from 2009 still stands. Lt Aaron Gould LANCS won the 100m butterfly in his first appearance; an exhausting race made worse by the eight games of Water Polo he had played beforehand. The competition can change drastically in the relay events. But Never before has a team won every relay event and this success secured the Infantry’s place as the Champions in 2017 and the team retaining their title.
- Best Contribution to Infantry Sport – CSgt Alan Boyle (recently retired) 1 MERCIAN has made an outstanding contribution to Army Rugby League at a number of levels and particularly in the Civil Engagement space. He is a star. His efforts as the visionary and driving force delivering the Tom Sephton Memorial Trophy event in Warrington, since 2010 at the height of Op HERRICK 11, in support to the family of Pte Tom Sephton and the local community is an exemplar of positive Civil Engagement and Keeping the Army in the Public Eye (KAPE). Teams from various levels of Army Rugby League have taken part in the event; playing in the heartland of Rugby League. The event has now developed into the biggest Armed Forces Day event in the North West of England with circa 5000 in attendance. His highly effective engagement with the Rugby Football League, Super League Clubs and the local communities in the North West of England, coupled with his outstanding initiative, work ethic, planning ability, drive, communication skills, enthusiasm and selfless commitment, even continuing to lead on delivery when he himself was on subsequent Op HERRICK 14, 15 and 17 deployments, is testament to a very capable man and a unique asset, who has given and continues to give outstanding service. He has been the inspiration and driving force behind the success of Infantry Rugby League since its inception.
- Colonel Infantry Award for Excellence – Col Victor Matthews has been part of, or the sole member of, the Infantry Alpine Skiing Committee for the past 15+ years. He is a true stalwart of the sport. During the uncertain financial periods, or where the Army was committed to TELIC and HERRICK causing low attendance, there were many times when Infantry skiing could have disappeared. It is entirely due to Col Vic’s drive and determination that it still exists. Because of his skill at developing contacts and business relationships in resorts, the Infantry is able to offer the exercise to the broadest section of the Infantry at affordable and sustainable levels. Known and loved by the French authorities, local dignitaries and businesses, as well as generations of soldiers, his kind, wise leadership was an example to all. Awarded the OBE, Col Vic is now reaching the end of his tenure at Chairman, having formally handed over during the evening; there is simply no other individual who has contributed so much – or has been known so well – within their sport. He will be greatly missed.
During the evening Infantry Sports Colours were presented by Col Infantry to worthy Infantry Sportsmen from across the disciplines. Some noteworthy mentions are; LCpl Oldham 1 LANCS who first learnt to ski on Ex FROSTED BLADE 4 years ago. He developed well in the early period, but in the last two years he has accelerated at a rate that is incredibly unusual and exciting. A young, committed, enthusiastic soldier with a fantastic talent and great potential, LCpl Oldham has always epitomised Infantry Skiing, winning the Army Championship Individual award. Also, Pte Blick PARA who has been in the Army less than a year, came to the Army match play Golf championships and, under the radar and without fuss, slowly started to take out a variety of highly regarded players from other Corps. Reaching the final and still with no fuss, he despatched one of the Army team in short fashion securing him selection for the Army team. Not a bad first year in the Infantry. With the Infantry Golf team claiming 3 of 4 trophies available, Colonel Infantry also recognised Major Neil Bulmer’s contribution to the team’s success.
The inaugural Sports Awards dinner was a great success and highlighted just what fantastic sportsmen we have within the Corp of Infantry and their fantastic achievements as individuals or as a collective team. Here’s to next year’s successes!
Command Sgt Major Bez Burke