THE three finalists for the Coach/Manager of the Year award, sponsored by Swindon’s Bus Company, have all seen their charges secure glory on the national stage.

For Swindon Robins speedway boss ALUN ROSSITER, the glorious charge of his side in the SGB Premiership in 2017 came against the odds and all predictions.

The vagaries of the sport’s averages system meant Rossiter’s team building saw him take a gamble by including captain and subsequent 2017 world champion Jason Doyle on a high points tally and filling the remainder of his septet with largely untested talent.

Written off as no-hopers and even likely relegation candidates, not least after two opening defeats, Rossiter instead moulded his unit into a formidable outfit, a record-breaking run of 17 successive league victories between the start of June and the end of August taking them top of the table heading into the end-of-season play-offs.

That was all despite Doyle’s campaign being interrupted by injuries, as fellow Australian Nick Morris, French rider David Bellego, young British reserve Zach Wajtknecht and mid-season signing Tobiasz Musielak, from Poland, all stepped up to the plate.

The Robins defeated old rivals Poole home and away in the play-off semi finals before shrugging off a first-leg loss to reigning champions Wolverhampton to win the second – and the title – with an unforgettable second-leg performance from Doyle and Morris.

The Rhythmic group and display group coach at Esprit Gymmastics in Swindon, CHERIE SKEATS has been at the forefront of the sport’s development in this country since the high watermark of their appearance at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Her senior group were crowned British champions for the fifth year in succession in July and also triumphed in the Elite Rhythmic Group League with a round to spare.

Skeats, who has been coaching at Esprit since 2006, also took her junior group to represent Britain in Estonia and Athens at the beginning of the year following a trial at the end of last year, the first to represent this country since London 2012.

She also takes a display team all over the world to Eurogym and World Gymnaestrada events, representing Great Britain, and was one of only three coaches from the country to attend a European Union Gymnastics (UEG) coaching course in Marbella last month.

Spending as much as 20 hours a week in evenings and Saturdays coaching at Esprit, while working for an electronics company during the day, Skeats has helped the club to be one of the top performing rhythmic clubs in the country.

The founder and head coach at Chippenham’s Emeralds Boxing Club, LIAM LATHBURY has helped to train up no fewer than five national champions.

The latest was 18 year old Connor Gray who was crowned national junior champion at 67kg after defeating Travis Biddle, of Kettering School of Boxing in a unanimous points decision at Hayes Working Men’s Club earlier this year.

A backer of female boxing, Lathbury has also encouraged a growing women’s and girls representation at the club, with many of his fighters also joining the South West boxing squad, while Emeralds’ only active female boxer, Katie Doig, won her first competitive contest against Lauryn Hitchcock (Lympstone ABC) at the club’s recent home show at Neeld Hall in the town.

The club currently has 45 members, 28 of whom are active amateurs, aged 10 to 35.

Father-of-two Lathbury, who also works as a postman, said: “We take all sorts of characters in the boxing gym and we try to be a family away from home for them.

"We’re trying to be a community based gym and we want to work with the whole of the community. It’s something I feel quite strongly about as everyone gets dealt different cards.”

The 2017 Wiltshire Sports Awards, set up by the Swindon Advertiser, Gazette & Herald and Wiltshire Times in conjunction with Wiltshire & Swindon Sport (WASP).

Newsquest Wiltshire group sports editor Owen Houlihan, WASP CEO Steve Boocock and 1968 Olympic 400m hurdles champion David Hemery will meet in January to decide the award winners.

All the winners will be announced at the Corn Exchange celebration ceremony at the end of January, which will include an audience with 1985 World Snooker champion and now-television commentator Dennis Taylor, who will be guest speaker.

The evening will be a celebration of all of the winners for all of the categories, and tickets are available priced at £15 per adult and £9 per child, to include a buffet.

Tickets can be purchased by calling Ian Parker on 01793 501731 or email