BEN Goodall admitted winning the junior sportsman of the year prize was extra special after a challenging two years, writes JAMES ROBERTS.

The Harwell tumbler sustained a serious back injury 24 months ago and was runner-up in the same category at the Oxfordshire Sports Awards in both 2015 and 2016.

But after claiming British and English Championship silver medals, gold in Portugal’s Loulé Cup and eighth at the World Age Group Championships in 2017, Goodall felt his hard work had been vindicated.

He said: “Going from rock bottom and almost stopping to a level that can be recognised like this is a nice confidence boost for me.

“It’s the last opportunity I’d have had as a junior, but to be nominated three times in a row is a big deal as well for me.

“It’s definitely a motivation – it’s going to make me go back and want to achieve the same again.”

Enya Dale’s junior sportswoman of the year award was very much a family affair.

The Oxford Falcon Rowing and Canoeing Club member won three international medals in 2017, including double bronze at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Hungary last August.

Dale’s older sister, Freya, won junior team of the year with Wallingford Rowing Club in 2012 and the canoeist was delighted her sibling could share in her success.

She said: “I’m so happy for my sister to be here tonight, because I never thought I would be on that stage.

“It’s so amazing that my family were here to witness that.

“I came here just out of the enjoyment of being nominated.

“It’s been an amazing year and this starts the next year off perfectly.”

Oxford Academy’s under 14 football side were junior team of the year after reaching the final of the English Schools’ Football Association Playstation National Cup Final at Pride Park, Derby.

Coach Grant Thomas said: “The kids have been outstanding and worked so hard for the last three years.

“We took 250 kids to Derby, they were so excited to see the boys play.”

Lois MacDonald won the young volunteer award for her unwavering commitment to netball coaching across Oxfordshire.

The Wallingford member said: “I just love seeing the kids develop, that’s what I get out of it.

"It’s the best thing seeing the girls do what they love.”