Maddie Hinch won her fourth UK women’s player of the year award while Nick Bandurak became the second male to land back-to-back trophies on Wednesday.
The winners were announced at the Hockey Writers’ Club (HWC) annual awards presentation at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge.
HC Tilburg’s Hinch, 34, won the HWC women’s Player of the Year award for the fourth time, having previously triumphed in 2013, 2015 and 2016. In the vote by HWC members she finished just ahead of fellow internationals Wimbledon’s Fiona Crackles and East Grinstead’s Tess Howard.
After another stellar year where she formed part of England’s gold medal-winning team at Birmingham 2022, a fourth success takes her ahead of Karen Brown and Kate Richardson-Walsh, both three-time winners of the award.
The England and GB goalkeeper was unable to pick up her award due to Dutch league commitments this week, as team-mate Howard received the award on her behalf.
Hinch said: “It is an immense honour and privilege to once again receive this prestigious award. The past year was a huge one for myself and my teammates and of course it was made particularly special with England winning an historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. A day I will never forget.
“I can think of numerous standout individual performances so receiving this award is a significant accomplishment for me and I’m grateful for the recognition.
“It’s just crazy to think that I have now become HWC’s most decorated athlete, overtaking legends Karen Brown and Kate Richardson-Walsh. Both of these women have been role models for me and have played a crucial role in helping me reach where I am today. Their accomplishments have always been an inspiration to me and it is humbling to be mentioned in the same breath as them.”
Meanwhile Bandurak, 30, won the Mercian men’s Player of the Year award for the second year running and joined Iain Lewers as the only players to win back-to-back HWC Men’s awards.
Holcombe forward Bandurak admitted to surprise at winning back-to-back awards after a stellar 24 months for club and then being called up for England selection last year.
He said: “It’s been a crazy year. Last year I stood here and was asked ‘what’s next?’ and I said ‘everything’. From working full time to getting that opportunity has been amazing. And as I alluded to last year aged 29 it’s like a little bit of a free swing and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
“It’s a massive surprise and honour to receive the award. It’s been an incredible 12 months and I’m chuffed to win again.”
The club will next year mark its 40th anniversary of the prestigious awards.