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Byers named Orkney’s outstanding sportsperson of 2021 at awards ceremony

Matthew Byers, Orkney Sportsperson of the Year for 2021. (Orkney Photographic)

Matthew Byers was crowned Orkney’s Sportsperson of the Year for 2021 at the county’s sports awards this evening.

Byers, a weightlifter, received his award for what was a turbulent but ultimately very successful year in which he has climbed to the top of the Scottish rankings in his weight category.

He is also due to compete at the British Senior Championships this weekend, the first Orcadian to do so.

Byers beat sprinter Taylah Spence and rugby and footballer Scott Rendall to the crown.

It marked the culmination of an evening which saw a host of awards dished out at the Orkney Theatre.

Athlete Max Linklater took the Young Sportsperson of the Year, while Team of the Year went to Orkney RFC’s First XV.

Three inductees were entered into Orkney Sports Hall of Fame. Rognvald Omand, Betty Stanger and Melvin Wick were all honoured for their vast achievements in swimming, squash and badminton respectively.

Meanwhile, two stalwarts of football and athletics were also celebrated with Service to Sport Awards. Sandwick and Dounby legend Calvin Poke, and Fraser Murray, a giant of the athletics scene, picked up the gongs.

The Coach of the Year Award went to John Cairns for his work within the Orkney Athletic and Running Club’s throws section.

Orkney RFC’s Under-16 side picked up the Young Team of the Year.

In the volunteer categories, football coach Michael Swanney was named Volunteer of the Year, and Melissa Lindsay won the School Sports Volunteer of the Year for her work to promote netball at ‘Hope Community School.

Last but not least, the Performance of the Year — presented to the one outstanding sporting performance of 2021 — went to Orkney’s inter-county Milne Cup squad who beat Shetland in Shetland for the first time in 40 years.

Full coverage in the next edition of The Orcadian.