Vote for your Dudley News sports personality of 2012

Dudley News: Ian Rowe Ian Rowe

ANOTHER year of sporting achievement is drawing to a close and it’s time to decide the Dudley News Sports Personality of 2012.

Over the past few weeks we’ve been asking for your nominations and the results are in. Now it’s time to cast your votes in our online poll.

Our first nominee is Gornal Athletic manager Ian Rowe.

The Peacocks have enjoyed a superb year, winning the West Midlands Premier with more than 100 points, scoring more than 100 goals in the process.

Rowe’s men made it a double by clinching the Birmingham Midweek Floodlit Cup and have enjoyed a superb start to life in the Midland Alliance, while they have also reached the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in the club’s history.

All of this has been done on a shoestring budget, making Rowe a deserving candidate.

Our next nominee is also from the world of football.

Stephen Austin has been involved at Dudley Town for almost 40 years, first joining the club’s committee when he was 16.

He became vice-chairman seven years ago and has been chairman for the past three.

Despite the club suffering some tough times, Austin has never given up and exemplifies the commitment required in non-league football.

Dudley-based gymanstics coach Michelle Baker hit the headlines during the summer as Britain tasted Olympic glory.

Baker made history by becoming the first female coach ever to train a male gymnast for the Games as her charge, Kristian Thomas, represented the British team.

Thomas then went on to help make history himself as he anchored the team to an historic bronze, before finishing seventh in the individual competition.

Baker trains Thomas, along with a host of other gymnasts, at Halesowen-based Earls Gymnastics Club.

Last but not least, our final nominee is a familiar face to the hundreds who pack into Heathbrook during the rugby season and indeed, was in the running for this prize last year.

But it’s been another fantastic season for Dudley Kingswinford and their star centre Stefan Shillingford has once again been at the forefront.

Shillingford played a key role as DK secured a second successive promotion and has continued to flourish in National Two North.

Polls close at midday on Monday January 7.

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