Denied the pleasure of the Players’ Dinner, the senior squad took it upon themselves to organise a virtual Awards Evening with some online wit, repartee and drinking challenges. Whilst some of what went on in the players’ homes cannot be repeated here, the important snippets from our correspondent include awards for:
1st XV: Jack Blakeney-Edwards and Dan Stockdale top the starts charts with 23 each, closely followed by Matt Speres on 22. Toms Asejevs was the master benchman with 14 appearances as replacement.
Foresters: Owen Bullock out on his own with 20, followed by Rory Macnab and Tom Whyte on 17 and Louis Verity, Madison Hunting and Josh Prell with 16. Tom Jackson was the most-used replacement.
Top Try Scorers
1st XV: Oli Cicognini and Matt Speres with 8 each, followed by Rian Hamilton with 5.
Foresters: Owen Bullock again a runaway winner, with 24 tries followed by Henry Macnab with 14 and Brad Viner with 12.
Player of the Season
Sam Gaudie took the honours here, followed by Matt Speres and a tie for 3rd place between Joe Altham and Oli Cicognini. Matt Beesley earned an honourable mention for his kicking skills. The traditional award of the David Paling Trophy for the most improved player over the season went to Sam Dickinson who, in the space of a few short weeks, went from callow schoolboy to hard-nosed National League prop, proving conclusively that, if you are good enough, you are old enough – and who is now hot on the trail of Dad Neil’s number of 1st XV starts.
Off the field, there was a special “Clubman of the Year” vote for the phenomenal contribution of 1st XV team manager Matt Wareing.
Brook Taverner Award for Best Dressed Player
A runaway win in the best dressed beefcake class for the ever-stylish, elegant Jack Hirst, followed by dapper skipper George Hedgley and Big Daddy Rob Baldwin. But where were all the backs? Clearly head coach Jon Feeley would have walked this category if allowed to enter and must be disappointed that the modern three-quarter does not live up to the heritage passed down for generations. George Hedgley also topped the vote for best hairline, closely followed by a brace of Joshes – Burridge and Prell.
The players were also asked for their best memories of the season and these inevitably included the Tynedale bus trip (winning obviously helped – not to mention Sam Booker’s Campese-like heroics to score in the corner!), the spectacular tries by Henry Macnab at Huddersfield and Oscar Canny at Sheffield Tigers and – no surprises here – beating Otley.
The boys are all in good heart and raring to go when we are given the green light for return to rugby.