The Beamish family enjoyed a proud night at the Werribee Hockey Club’s best-and-fairest celebrations, with siblings Jamie and Claudia creating history.
Capping off a year in which the Werribee men’s team came from fourth to claim the Vic League 2 premiership and promotion, 17-year-old Jamie tied in the men’s award with teammate Matthew Skoglund, while 15-year-old Claudia capped off an impressive season to win the women’s award.
Both were the youngest winners of their respective awards in the club’s 43-year history.
For Jamie, it was the icing on the cake of a great year for his side.
“It came as a bit of a shock really,” he said. “To be one of three people to win a best and fairest and a premiership in the one year at the club is a real honour.
“I had a good chat to Ross Cowlishaw, who’s won the last couple of these, and he said to just soak it in and really cherish this award along with the premiership.”
The defensive rock had set his goals on promotion and said that was the driving force behind his career-best season.
“I’d told a few of the guys in pre-season that I didn’t want to play Vic League 2 again, so the goal from the start was always a premiership and promotion,” he said.
“To go from fourth, beating third, second and first to gain promotion, was pretty special. We got a lot of confidence from our back half of the season.
“We had a really solid backline group, which meant I didn’t have to worry about anyone else and I could just play my role, which probably helped my game to excel.”
For Claudia, the move to more of a midfield role this year paid immediate dividends.
“I actually expected our goalie to win it, so it came as a real shock,” she said of her award.
“My coach moved me from the defence into the centre, so that helped me a lot, I think, and gave me a bit of freedom.
“I was a bit out of it on the night and didn’t realise just what it meant to the club to win it so young. But afterwards, talking to a few people, it was pretty amazing.”
The win had extra significance for Claudia, who is moving to premier league club Altona next season.
“I umm’d and ahh’d about moving last year but decided to stick around, and I’m really glad I did, but I think the time is right now,” Claudia said.
“I’ve been with the club my whole life, so it is hard to leave the place that got me into hockey and got me to the level I’m at, but I want to test myself and Altona is a good club to do that at so we’ll see how next year goes.”