Michael Vaughan yesterday capped an extraordinary 12 months as an England player by winning the prestigious Vodafone Cricketer of the Year award.

The Yorkshire batsman won the vote after hitting seven centuries during the year, including three against Australia, to help him become the world's leading Test run-scorer in 2002.

''Receiving this award really finishes off what has been an amazing 12 months for me,'' said Vaughan, who received a silver salver and a cheque for £15,000.

''I look back on what I have achieved, especially scoring the three hundreds in Australia and almost have to pinch myself.''

RUGBY UNION: Westoe are seeking a backs coach to replace Steve Rutland, who has resigned after six seasons with the South Shields club. He leaves on a high after the first team finished fourth in North Two East and reaching the final of the Durham Cup, while the seconds and under-16s won their county cups and the Senators regained the Fourth Teams Shield. Captain and forwards coach Ali McConway attributed much of this success to ex-Durham, England Colleges and North of England squad centre Rutland, whose career began at Middlesbrough in the illustrious company of Rory Underwood, Rob Andrew and Alan Old. Said McConway: "We are an ambitious club and seeking someone of similar calibre." Anyone interested should contact Ali (telephone 0191-4556470) or chairman John Tighe (0191-4555940).

RUGBY UNION: Newcastle Falcon's Jamie Noon is among the nominations announced for the Zurich Premiership player of the season. Saracens' England and Lions flanker Richard Hill also features in the short-list of four, together with Northampton back-row forward Andrew Blowers. The winner will be announced tomorrow.

TENNIS: Britain's Tim Henman has been seeded 25th for the French Open, which begins in Paris next Monday. Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt, of Australia, is the top seed while last year's winner at Roland Garros, Spain's Albert Costa, is ranked nine.

COMPETITION: The winners of our cricket competition for tickets to next month's Test at Chester-le-Street's Riverside are: Mr E Short of Witton le Wear, County Durham, Russell Crawford of Stockton, Brian Pratt, of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Mrs N Spence of Sowerby, Thirsk, and Lynne Newton of Spennymoor.

The runners-up were: Simon Farquhar of Richmond, North Yorks, David Wade of Darlington, Mrs M Jury of Kelloe, Mr Leek of Darlington, R Porter of Dipton, Stanley, James Neesam of Eston, Teesside, J Summers of Newton Hall, Durham, G Winfield of Stanhope, Neil Jordison of Middleton one Row, Darlington, and F Allen of Easington.

OLYMPIC GAMES: Sebastian Coe believes it is most definitely the best of times for London to make an Olympic bid and sees the tussle with Paris to host the 2012 games as the ultimate tale of two cities. The former Olympic champion said: ''I truly believe that we can offer Games that will be different; the French could do it extremely well also with their own style, but London can do exactly the same, that's why I don't think there are any front-runners at the moment.''

SPORT ON TV TODAY: a selective guide

FOOTBALL: UEFA Cup final, Celtic v Porto from Seville - BBC1 1930

RACING: From Goodwood - BBC2 1400; from Folkestone and Uttoxeter - Sky Sports 2 1800