A Northwood School student was named the Watford Observer Young Sports Writer of the Year yesterday evening as some of the area's potential sports reporters of the future were recognised.
Matt Ford was selected as the overall winner of the awards that were established to promote sports writing in our areas for a comment piece he wrote about the change in head coaches at Watford last season.
It was felt Matt did a very good job in combining information, opinion and a clear writing style throughout his piece to explain the Hornets' downturn under Gianfranco Zola, the reservations about Beppe Sannino and the challenges facing him. You can read Matt's winning entry here.
Matt was presented with a certificate and gift vouchers by Sam Berry, school games organiser for the Watford and Three Rivers School Sports Partnership which supported the awards along with the Watford and Hertsmere School Sports Partnership.
Sam had earlier presented Matt with another award as the Key Stage 5 winner and also handed out certificates and vouchers to six other youngsters in two more academic key stages.
Judged by Group Sports Editor Anthony Matthews, who hosted the awards at the Watford Observer's office, and two former reporters from the newspaper, Lionel Birnie and Adam Parsons, pupils from schools or educational establishments which had signed up for the initiative were able to enter into three categories - live reporting, feature writing and comment.
Pupils from Watford Grammar School for Boys dominated the Key Stage 4 awards, winning all three sections.
Ethan Lester claimed the live reporting category for an enthusiastic piece about a karate grading, writing with clarity as he explained what some of the sport's technical terms meant.
The Key Stage 4 award for feature writing was presented to Jai Singh, who adopted a quote-led tabloid approach to former Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic's decision to leave Old Trafford.
The comment prize for this age group went to Ethan Honey. His article about the political and social controversies surrounding the Sochi Winter Olympics was judged to be the most coherant and well-structured article that was entered.
In contrast to the Key Stage 4, those who prevailed at Key Stage 3 had their entries submitted from a cross-section of educational backgrounds.
Home-educated pupil Ella Worthington received the feature writing prize for her piece about high rope climbing, giving the reader a good feeling of the challenges she faced and bringing to life the combination of nerves and excitement at rising to it.
George Rowedder's live reporting entry was submitted via Watford FC's Community Sports and Education Trust.
The winner selected last season's Champions League final as his subject and his strong use of language gave a strong sense of the scale of the occasion and what unfolded on the pitch.
Football was also the topic chosen by the winner of the comment section, Alfie Rushton.
The Kings Langley School pupil wrote enthusiastically about his love of the game but was also praised for discussing how the sport can be a force for good in the world, bridging religious, geographical and political divides.