Orkney take home top BT award at annual club celebration

Another successful year in the Scottish club game was celebrated this evening at BT Murrayfield, with the annual Scottish Rugby Club Awards Dinner bringing down the curtain on season 2014/15.

Orkney Rugby Club scooped the top accolade, the BT Club of the Season to mark its promotion into the national leagues and work at grassroots on the island, while BT Premiership champions, Heriot’s, collected three awards.

Orkney Rugby Club win the 2015 BT Club of the Season

The Goldenacre side’s head coach Phil Smith won the Caledonia Best Coach of the Season, with number 8 Jason Hill taking home the BT Premiership Player of the Season and the Brigadier Frank Coutts Memorial [BT] Try of the Season trophies.

A further 14 awards were also handed out during the formalities. 

Scottish Rugby’s Director of Domestic Rugby, Keith Russell, said: “Well done to all of tonight’s winners.

“Submissions for this year’s awards have been of a very high standard, demonstrating that our club game is in good health.

From start to finish it has been an exciting season for rugby in Scotland. Every winner this evening thoroughly deserves this recognition for helping build a thriving club game.

“We wish all our winners the very best as they prepare for the new season, particularly to our BT Club of the Season, Orkney, who will move into the national leagues from August.”

Orkney have had an impressive year, topped by their senior team winning BT Caledonia Regional League Division 1 and securing promotion into BT National League Division 3 for season 2015/16 and winning the BT Caledonia Shield.

All this has been achieved against the backdrop of away trips taking, at times, more than 24 hours to reach venues. This dedication is also seen in the work of the club’s development team – development officer Tom Hughes and modern apprentice Mark Sinclair – and volunteers who deliver rugby to every school on Orkney, which requires air and sea travel to the out-lying islands. 

The team’s hooker, Scott Rendall, also won the BT Caledonia Regional Leagues Player of the Season.

Neil McCartney, Orkney Chairman, said: "Now that we have got into the national leagues, the guys are going to be travelling a lot more, but the commitment is there and we're up for it.

It's just fantastic to win this award. We're certainly going to celebrate its return to Orkney. We pull in players from some of the 17 islands, so this is very much the club's award. It's for everybody, the coaches, players, volunteers and parents.

"Sport in Orkney is going great guns. We've had a lot of interest in the past few years in athletics, rock climbing and football, but it was us who led the way, five years ago, when we introduced our rugby development officer."

2015 BT Women's Club of the Season - Murrayfield Wanderers

Murrayfield Wanderers collected the BT Women’s Club of the Season for a second consecutive year after winning the BT Women’s Premier League and the Sarah Beaney Cup.

President Beth Dickens said: "The team spirit when we are on the pitch is amazing and it's exciting every year to see new players coming through. 

It's really nice because the women's team is the most successful team in the club and it raises the profile of the women's game. We are a big family club and the guys always come out to support us."

It was a special night for Lee Anne Steel from Livingston Rugby Club, who having won the BT Volunteer of the Month award in each of the past two seasons (November 2013 and April 2015) lifted the BT Volunteer of the Season trophy.

Lee Anne works tirelessly at Almond Park to ensure the growth of the game in the area, particularly at youth level. This year she has achieved her UKCC Level 2 coaching qualification and has put plans in place for a youth academy, set to open in the new season. 

2015 BT Volunteer of the Season - Lee Anne Steel (Livingston)

As well as arranging 31 children to come to BT Murrayfield for the RBS 6 Nations clash with Wales back in February, Lee Anne has also found time to start up a girl’s team.

She said: "It's exhilirating, it's fabulous, it's a big accolade for the club.

"Its not just me who does the work, there's loads of people who do so much across every level of the game at Almond Park. It's a team effort.

Seeing the faces when the children turn up on a Sunday for a game and getting muddy - that's what drives me."

2015 Spirit of Rugby winners - Mary and Jim 'Basher' Inglis

The Spirit of Rugby award went to two stalwarts of Selkirk Rugby Club, Jim ‘Basher’ Inglis and his wife Mary.

Jim, a former Scotland internationalist, and Mary have served their club for more than 70 years. Most recently they have jointly undertaken the role of fixtures secretary, but over the years they have put tireless hours into fundraising, making players teas and Jim has previously served two terms as Selkirk President.

Mary said: "The award means the world to us. We have made lots of friends in rugby and we enjoy working with everyone at Philiphaugh, especially the young ones.

It's such an honour to receive this award for the club. We've had a very successful season, winning all 22 games and going up a league.

Basher added: "The club will be honoured with this achievement. Our three daughters are here celebrating with us."

Jed Thistle’s Garry Goodfellow, who led his team to an unbeaten run in the under-18 National Youth League Cup and Borders Semi-Junior League, collected the Daily Record Youth Coach of the Season. 

Goodfellow’s team also won the under-18 Kings of the Sevens Series, Border under-18 Cup and Daily Record Festival of Rugby under-18 7s at the Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s.

Finally, Alex Pratt was awarded Referee of the Season.

This season, Pratt was appointed as assistant referee for the Women’s Rugby World Cup final in Paris, for all of Scotland Women’s home RBS 6 Nations matches, has had multiple appointments on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, and taken charge of the 2015 Sarah Beaney Cup final. 

2015 BT Premiership Player of the Season & BT Try of the Season - Jason Hill (Heriot's)

2014/15 Scottish Rugby Club Awards winners

  • BT Club of the Season – Orkney
  • BT Women's Club of the Season – Murrayfield Wanderers
  • Caledonia Best Coach of the Season – Phil Smith (Heriot’s)
  • Daily Record Youth Coach of the Season – Garry Goodfellow (Jed Thistle)
  • Referee of the Season – Alex Pratt
  • Spirit of Rugby – Jim and Mary Inglis (Selkirk)
  • BT Volunteer of the Season – Lee Anne Steel (Livingston)
  • Brigadier Frank Coutts Memorial [BT] Try of the Season – Jason Hill (Heriot’s)
  • BT Premiership Player of the Season – Jason Hill (Heriot’s)
  • BT National Leagues Division 1 Player of the Season – Nick McCashin (Stewart’s-Melville FP)
  • BT National League Division 2 Player of the Season – Chris Mason (Howe of Fife)
  • BT National League Division 3 Player of the Season – Douglas Hearn (Lasswade)
  • BT Caledonia Divisions Player of the Season – Scott Rendall (Orkney)
  • BT East Divisions Player of the Season – Keir Hamilton (Royal Dick Vet College)
  • BT West Divisions Player of the Season – Dan Hull (Oban Lorne)
  • BT Women's Premier League Player of the Season – Emma Bree (Melrose)
  • BT Women's National Leagues Division 1 Player of the Season – Alison Henderson (Stewartry)
  • BT Women's National Leagues Division 2 Player of the Season – Victoria Harper (Grangemouth)