A FAIRYTALE finish to the 2017 season delivered one of the finest achievements in the proud history of Goatacre Cricket Club - one of the finalists for the Team of the Year award, sponsored by MANS LC.

Five runs short of the winning target set by West of England League Premier Two Glos/Wilts title rivals Cheltenham and nine wickets down, Jif Wilkins was carried out to bat having suffered a knee injury while fielding.

This Is Wiltshire:

Amid high drama, the stricken number 11 blasted a four, a single and then a further four to secure the title and a place in the region’s top tier for the first time in the summer 2018.

It was the most remarkable of Goatacre’s 15 wins from 16 matches during a league season that saw them bounce back spectacularly from the loss of four regular players the previous year.

The championship triumph came as a result of a true team effort, with every member of the squad making a key contribution to the cause.

Goatacre were also beaten by just three runs in the final of the county T20 competition and the first XI’s success had a positive effect on the club as a whole, with the fourth XI and U13s tasting success in their respective leagues.

Westbury Rugby Club Ladies were also table-toppers as they ended the Women’s National Challenge South West North Two season unbeaten.

A recruitment drive in the summer of 2016 proved pivotal to Westbury’s best campaign to date, experienced players and newcomers alike attending training on a weekly basis.

Membership swelled to around 40, creating a friendly atmosphere and stimulated competition for places.

Westbury rounded off their season in style as a 56-7 away victory over Gordano ensured they finished three points clear of Devizes at the summit.

Captain Anna Hemingway said: “We are very excited to have been shortlisted for Team of the Year at this year’s Wiltshire Sports Awards.

“Getting recognised for all the hard work and determination that the team and coaches have put in over the last couple of years is very important for us, as we have not only focused on our game but also on creating a real rugby community at the club.

“From begging ladies to come down and join our little club with cake seven years ago, to becoming a team of 40 plus players, who won the league completely undefeated, is an incredible feat.

“We are constantly working hard to make sure that we can build on our success and entice new players as the women’s game steadily grows.”

The rugby league stars of Swindon St George complete the Team of the Year shortlist after ending their trophy drought in 2017.

St George finished top of West of England Pool Two after tasting defeat only once in their 10 outings, thrashing local rivals Oxford Cavaliers 54-8 and Bath 84-4 en route.

They faced Oxford once again in the West of England Grand Final in August and recorded a dominant 36-18 win to clinch the honours.

Having missed out at the same stage last year, head coach Ben Whincup was delighted to see the club win silverware for the first time in 10 years.

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 wiltshiresportsawards@newsquest.co.uk.