GOLFER Matty Lamb capped a special year in his rise to the top of the amateur game when he scooped the top prize at the annual Sport Tynedale Awards.

The 22-year-old Hexham Golf Club member has rarely been out of the headlines during 2019, after he won the Hampshire Hog Open, and came close to lifting the St Andrews Links Trophy, arguably the game’s biggest amateur competition.

After setting a 36-hole record at the Scottish venue, known as the home of golf, Lamb was selected to represent England at senior level, and such was the impact during the year, almost made the Great Britain Walker Cup team. Sporting commitments meant the affable Lamb was unable to attend the ceremony, at Hexham’s Wentworth Leisure Centre on Sunday.

Nevertheless, he won sportsman of the year, and also took the Tynedale Trophy for overall adult champion.

Lamb was well represented on the Wentworth stage, for handing out the prizes was Andy Paisley, Hexham’ Golf Club’s head professional, and the older brother of European Tour golfer Chris Paisley.

“Matty has done exceptionally well,” said Andy. “There are some other good golfers here tonight as well, in Zara Naughton and Alex Heppell, who have done amazingly well.”

Matfen Hall golfer Zara was crowned young sportswoman of the year after her own outstanding year, during which she was selected to represent England Schools, after a top six finish at the National U18 Schools Golf Championships in Nottingham.

Alex, who is junior captain at Brampton Golf Club, led Haydon Bridge High School’s golf team to a successful season, and also teed-up for England Schools.

With regular host Allison Curbishley at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, former ITV sports presenter and commentator Roger Tames stepped into the breach, and proved a worthy deputy.

Younger attendees may not remember the veteran broadcaster’s TV days, but Tames was the voice of North East sport from the 1970s to the mid 2000s, commentating on matches involving Newcastle United, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

He said: “The best thing I ever did was to come to work in the North-East back in 1976, and I have always enjoyed being part of the sporting community. Attending events such as this really shows the effort which goes into providing opportunities for people to get involved with sport locally.

“Clearly there is a lot of incredibly talented people here, and organisations such as Sport Tynedale, as well as various sporting clubs and schools, are giving them every chance to fulfil their potential.”

A popular winner once again was Slaley runner Dan Joyce, the recipient of last year’s Stan Calvert Scholarship. This time around Joyce was named young sportsman of the year, after an incredible year which saw him win the Schools International Athletic Board 800m title, and also run for England in the Youth Nations Cup, among other achievements.

Sportswoman of the year was Allison Kelly, the Prudhoe archer who has achieved wonders since taking up the sport less than four years ago. A prolific winner of county and national titles, she represented Great Britain in last summer’s world championships.

The recipient of this year’s Stan Calvert Scholarship was young canoeist Ryan Dodd. The Hexham Canoe Club member travels the length and breadth of the country competing at a high level, and the £600 he received will go towards the cost of travel and equipment. The youngster was also shortlisted for young sportsman of the year.

Sport Tynedale chairman Edward Heslop paid tribute to Stan, one of the event’s founders, who set up the bursary back in the 1970s to help young sportspeople from rural Tynedale to achieve in higher competition further afield.

Coach of the year was Lesley Woodhouse, who was recognised for the key role she has played in transforming the fortunes of Tynedale Netball, from near extinction, to a force to be reckoned with in competitive leagues across the North-East.

Sports personality of the year was a man who is used to helping others succeed. Alan Sharp, chairman of the volunteer-led Haltwhistle Swimming and Leisure Centre, has played a key role in guiding the essential facility through difficult financial times, and improving its offering.

In his role as chairman of Haltwhistle Town Council, Alan has also worked hard behind the scenes to improve facilities for football and other sports in Haltwhistle.

For the second year running, Daniel Craigie was named volunteer of the year after another hard working 12 months, during which the cricket and hockey coach has helped to develop a North of England representative hockey squad. He regularly travels to Yorkshire and elsewhere to fulfil his voluntary commitments, while helping others to achieve.