Herefordshire's Anna Robertson nominated alongside British Lions coach Warren Gatland at London awards ceremony

BURGHILL’S Anna Robertson believes Herefordshire can fly the flag for sports in the West Midlands after being nominated for a prestigious prize at the UK Coaching Awards in London.

Robertson, 24, rubbed shoulders with the likes of British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland and four-time Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie at a glittering award ceremony in Marble Arch.

She was nominated as a West Midlands regional finalist for Gillette Community Coach of the Year in celebration of her efforts with Herefordshire Cricket and volunteer work in athletics and netball.

It is not the first time Robertson has been honoured this year – having received an award from England captain Alastair Cook in October for her outstanding contribution to cricket development.

But Robertson insists her work is far from over as she aims to help Herefordshire start punching above its weight after a night spent with more sporting stars like Gatland and Ainslie in London.

“Herefordshire is a very small place and to be picked out of the whole of the West Midlands is such an achievement,” she said.

“I’ve seen that there are massive gaps we need to fill in Herefordshire if we want to grow and I want to at least make a difference and really promote any sport in the area.

“My aim is to get these young people to believe that even though they’re from a small area, they can achieve their dream.

“I’m also trying to get people’s opinions to change slightly on cricket as it is a bit of a male-dominated sport but I want to prove that women can do it too.”

Robertson and Gatland were nominees for 12 categories at the UK Coaching Awards, supported by Gillette, as achievements in developing sport in a wide community over the past year were recognised.

And Robertson believes her experience mingling with the best coaches Britain has to offer will stay with her as she brings new ideas back to Herefordshire.

“I met some great people, some great role models and I’m going to look to them in the near future,” she added. “Hopefully from there I can one day make a difference in Herefordshire and really put it in on the map.

“I’m just so shocked. You see Warren Gatland and Ben Ainslie on the television but they were there on the night. They’re real people and have been through the coaching system and worked hard for it.”

The 2013 Gillette Great Starts’ campaign celebrates community coaches and inspires the next generation of coaches by providing them with grants to fund their next level qualifications. Applications for coaching grants available through the scheme will reopen in 2014, visit www.facebook/com/GilletteUK for more details.

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