Wetherby scoop top gong at National Rugby awards

The Wetherby RUFC contigent at the National Rugby Awards (Photo: Guy Roberts)
The Wetherby RUFC contigent at the National Rugby Awards (Photo: Guy Roberts)

Double winning captain James Gibson admitted he had to pinch himself in amazement after Wetherby walked away with a top prize at the inaugural National Rugby Awards at Twickenham.

Wetherby were rewarded for their invincible year last season, which saw them win every match in Yorkshire Four and clinch the Yorkshire Silver Trophy.

Gibson captained Wetherby throughout the campaign, which saw the first XV win all 27 of their games - scoring 1483 points and conceding just 159 in the process

And after beating five other nominees to the prize the captain could hardly believe his luck.

“This award means a lot,” Gibson said. “We have gone undefeated this season and won both the cup and the league and it’s been an absolutely fantastic season and this award just caps it off.

“Heading into this season we had a very good back end of the season before and managed to go through the back half of that season undefeated.

“I think it’s been over 18 months now undefeated. We drew one game that back half, missed out narrowly on promotion that season and sort of took that confidence through.

“A few new players came back to the club after disappearing off, they played colts level then disappeared off and then came back to us. That was a big boost and just ploughing on through this season to go undefeated was fantastic,

“It means a lot as it’s a national award and we’re a little town up in Yorkshire and coming down and being nationally recognised for an award is fantastic.”

Wetherby coach Mike McHugh-Hicks had been nominated in the coach of the year category, but missed out on the gong.

Meanwhile, Conor Sheriden refused to be downcast despite missing out on the Challenge Trophies Men’s Amateur Player of the Year gong.

Sheriden was shortlisted alongside Robert Lyons from Chippenham, Will Crow from Dorking, and Joe Bercis of Ampthill and Matt Protheroe of Hartpury College.

The top prize went to Paul Bradley from Aston Old Edwardians RFC, who was honoured having played his 32nd season for his club and having played his 1100th game.  

It was not a surprise taht Sheridan had been given the nod on the shortlist though as he scored 476 points for Wetherby last season, including 39 tries.

“It was fantastic to be nominated, words can’t describe the feeling,” he said.

“The season we’ve had has been phenomenal, the team stood together throughout the campaign.

“In terms of me being nominated, I feel it’s more of a team accolade than for me individually and it’s been a great year. 

“I’ve played rugby for quite a few years now and this is a bit of a highlight. It’s one of the few awards I’ve been nominated for and it’s quite special.

l Lawson Keys sponsor the 2015 National Rugby Awards. Follow the Awards in The Rugby Paper www.therugbypaper.co.uk