Birtley ABA delighted with BBC Team of the Year award

Pat McCormack
Pat McCormack has been one of Birtley's successes in 2011

Birtley Boxing Club coach Ronnie Rowe has said the BBC North East Team of the Year award came as a surprise at Wednesday's awards ceremony.

The club have enjoyed success in 2011, particularly with Pat McCormack's European and world junior championship successes earlier this year.

"I didn't dream for one minute we'd win," Rowe told BBC Newcastle.

"To get the team award is great. We are a team. We all work together as a group of volunteer coaches."

Birtley a club on the up - Rowe

Rowe and the other volunteers at Birtley helped launch the amateur careers of North East professional brothers Jon-Lewis and Travis Dickinson.

Travis followed in the footsteps of his older sibling when he won the Prizefighter competition in January, while Jon-Lewis added a high-profile win against David Dolan to his professional record in July.

"The best thing we got from Prizefighter is that we can reinvest," Rowe added.

"They came through our junior section into the senior section, won major honours internationally and when it was right for them they turned professional.

"Now with the new scheme, now we are a pro-am club we get the benefit of the money that they received from winning those Prizefighters.

"That money went back into the club. It enabled us to travel down to Haringay, box in the Haringay Cup in London and win that.

"So it's a full cycle that we've got now."

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