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Winners at the Vitality Netball Superleague Awards 2021.

Cobden during the Vitality Super League match between Wasps Netball and Loughborough Lightning at Copper Box Arena, London, England on 25th April 2021.

The Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) Awards is an annual event used to commemorate the league’s best performers from the previous season who are honoured at every Grand Final.

With every game being shown on Sky Sports for the very first time, those who decide on the award recipients are in for a much more difficult task to whittle it down to just one winner.

Find out your Vitality Netball Superleague Awards 2021 winners:

Gilbert Golden Shot:

Awarded to the player with the most goals in the regular season.

Winner: Mary Cholhok (Loughborough Lightning).

Mary Cholhok has won the Gilbert Golden Shot after being consistently top of the Gilbert Top Scorer leaderboard throughout the 2021 campaign. At the end of the regular season, the Ugandan finished on 772 goals with a shot success rate of 88 per cent.

This was the goal shooter’s best scoring season to date and she finished 122 clear of second-placed Joyce Mvula of Manchester Thunder. This is the second season in succession that Cholhok has won the award.

Runners-Up: Joyce Mvula (Manchester Thunder), Kim Borger (Team Bath Netball), Rachel Dunn (Wasps).

Umpire of the Season:

Determined by the VNSL Umpire Appointment Panel.

Winner: Louise Travis.

Umpire Louise Travis won the Umpire of the Season in 2018 and does so again in 2021. Travis has officiated in Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Finals in the past and has once again provided a consistent, clear season on court this season. The 2019 winner of this award was Gary Burgess.

Players’ Player of the Season:

Winner: Towera Vinkhumbo (Strathclyde Sirens).

Towera Vinkhumbo made her VNSL debut in 2020 but truly stamped her mark in the competition with Strathclyde Sirens in 2021. The Malawi was a rock at the back for a Scottish side who exceeded all expectations this season.

Vinkhumbo led the league in terms of intercepts (60) and turnovers (93) in 2021. She also sat in fifth for deflections (56) at the end of the regular campaign. She takes over from Sam Cook who won this award in 2019.

Runners-Up: Kim Borger (Team Bath Netball), Donnell Wallam (Leeds Rhinos), Serena Guthrie (Team Bath Netball).

Sky Sports Fans’ Player of the Season:

Winner: Donnell Wallam (Leeds Rhinos).

Donnell Wallam’s debut Superleague season will always be one to remember. The Australian scored some of the league’s most memorable goals not just in 2021 but across the VNSL’s 16-year history.

Wallam’s skill on the ball, work off it and ability to do something special in front of – or sometimes behind – the post has made her a fan favourite. Therefore, it is no surprise that you voted her as your Sky Sports Fans’ Player of the Season for 2021.

There was just seven votes in it but Wallam claims the award and follows 2019’s winner in Manchester Thunder’s Joyce Mvula who finished fourth this time around.

Runners-Up: Eleanor Cardwell (Manchester Thunder), Towera Vinkhumbo (Strathclyde Sirens), Joyce Mvula (Manchester Thunder).

Young Player of the Season:

This is awarded to a VNSL Player, under the age of 21 years old prior to the start of the season, who clubs believed had been the best performing throughout the 2021 season.

Winner: Funmi Fadoju (London Pulse).

Funmi Fadoju showed glimpses of her quality in front of audiences in 2020 and at Netball Europe 2019, but this year she has been able to show her stuff over the course of a full VNSL season.

The teenager has been voted the best U21 performer in the Superleague this term due to her displays at the heart of a London Pulse defence which only grew stronger as the season progressed.

Fadoju finished the league top for deflections (84), fourth for intercepts (38) and fifth for turnovers (62). Her 2019 counterpart was Sophie Drakeford-Lewis.

Runners-Up: Alice Harvey (Loughborough Lightning), Niamh McCall (Strathclyde Sirens), Emma Barrie (Strathclyde Sirens).

All Star VII 2021:

Teams have had to pick out who they think was the best player in each position but weren’t allowed to vote for their own players. The players in each position who received the most votes will make up the All Star VII.

Winners: GK: Towera Vinkhumbo (Strathclyde Sirens), GD: Layla Guscoth (Team Bath Netball), WD: Laura Malcolm (Manchester Thunder), C: Serena Guthrie (Team Bath Netball), WA: Brie Grierson (Leeds Rhinos Netball), GA: Eleanor Cardwell (Manchester Thunder), GS: Kim Borger (Team Bath Netball).

Coach of the Season:

Voted for by all teams’ coaches within the VNSL.

Winner: Karen Atkinson (Strathclyde Sirens).

Strathclyde Sirens have defied expectations this season due to their hunt for a semi-final spot. They finished agonisingly close to Finals Weekend but achieved their greatest-ever Superleague points tally which will install belief into all Scottish fans moving forward.

Atkinson – who was not meant to be sat on the sidelines this term – helped construct a determined young squad who managed to only to disrupt the ‘top sides’ but become one.

She was voted Coach of the Season by her fellow tacticians and will follow in 2019 winner Sara Francis-Bayman’s footsteps.

Runners-Up: Anna Stembridge (Team Bath Netball), Karen Greig (Manchester Thunder), Dan Ryan (Leeds Rhinos Netball).

Vitality Player of the Season:

Awarded to the best player of the 2021 season as determined by title partner, Vitality, based on a shortlist provided by senior performance staff.

Winner: Beth Cobden (Loughborough Lightning).

The biggest individual award you can win as a VNSL player, being voted Vitality Player of the Season is a huge honour for any netballer. This year, Commonwealth Games gold medal winner and Loughborough Lightning defender Beth Cobden takes that accolade.

The Vitality Rose made her return to the Superleague this season after a spell in Australia and made an instant impact on her Lightning teammates, helping them to a first-place finish in the league and a spot at Finals Weekend.

Cobden, a VNSL champion with Manchester Thunder, finished the regular season fifth in the league for deflections (56). She also gained 44 turnovers and 24 intercepts for her side. She was also seen foraying into attacking positions and providing assists for the likes of Mary Cholhok.

She follows on from England teammate Rachel Dunn who won the 2019 award.

Runners-Up: Eleanor Cardwell (Manchester Thunder), Towera Vinkhumbo (Strathclyde Sirens), Joyce Mvula (Manchester Thunder).

Congratulations to all winners and runners-up on your achievements this season!

Make sure you’re following @NetballSL on Twitter and Instagram for all the latest news and previews ahead of the Grand Final weekend.  

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