Hamilton scoop Club of the Season at Scottish Rugby Club Awards
Scottish Rugby celebrated a successful domestic club season on Friday evening (1 June) as the annual Scottish Rugby Club Awards honoured the players, officials and club members who contribute to a thriving grassroots game.
Hamilton lifted the coveted BT Club of the Season award for their commitment to sustainability and all-round rugby development during their close-fought promotion campaign.
The west coast club’s 1st XV clinched second place in BT National League Division 2 in their last game to gain promotion to BT National League Division 1 for the 2018/19 season. With a commitment to youth rugby they currently field at least one team at every level of their boys’ section.
Hamilton’s women’s team was only established last season but have made strides in winning their first games this term and are working in partnership with a neighbouring club to ensure that girls looking to get involved in rugby have a place to train.
President of Hamilton, Iain Leggate, said: “A lot of people have worked really hard to put us in this position.
“We’re not one of the top clubs in terms of trophies but we’re one of the hardest working clubs, one of the friendliest clubs and that’s what helps attract youngsters.
"You go on the park at Hamilton and you’re given a hard game but before and after we look after you.”
Oban Lorne picked up the BT Women’s Club of the Season award following a league-cup double in a season that saw them boost playing numbers and lose just one game in the process.
The team recorded 12 bonus point victories in BT Women’s National League 2 to clinch promotion in emphatic style and won the BT Women’s Bowl at BT Murrayfield, seeing off higher-league opposition on their way to the title.
Captain of Oban Lorne, Laura MacCormack, said: “It’s topped off what’s been a fantastic season for us - it’s now the pinnacle of our season.
"The girls deserve it, they’ve put a lot of hard work into this season and this is the reward for it.”
Stirling County were awarded the inaugural Coaching System of the Year prize for their commitment to quality coaching at every level and a sustainable model which has led to consistent performances from their junior and senior sides.
The Caledonia club has more than 90 coaches, ensuring there is a dedicated Head Coach at each age group for Micros through to Senior, in both the male and female sections.
They have committed to assisting all their coaches in completing their UKCC Level 1 or 2 within just six months of coming forward to volunteer.
Melrose’s Craig Jackson picked up BT Premiership Player of the Season having played a significant role in their league-cup double winning campaign, scoring 11 points in the BT Premiership final against last year’s champions Ayr.
Jackson was also selected to start in both of Scotland Club XV’s matches against Ireland and helped to retain the Dalriada Cup, scoring from the boot in both matches.
Jackson said: “It’s a fantastic honour. Melrose have had a great year and it’s an amazing accolade to have at the end of the season.
"A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes and it’s a privilege to pick up an award.”
Bryony Nelson was named BT Women’s Premier League Player of the Season after helping her team to an unbeaten post-split season and the Sarah Beaney Cup final at BT Murrayfield.
The Watsonians centre is the sister of Scotland Women internationalist Helen Nelson and was recently selected as part of the wider Scotland Women 7s squad that will compete in this year’s Rugby Europe Grand Prix series.
Male and female players from across the country were awarded eight further “Player of the Season” awards for their performances across the BT leagues – for more detail see results below.
Jock Todd from Kelso Harlequins picked up this year’s Spirit of Rugby award for his half a century of service to his club.
The former player, committee member and President still serves as Chairman and fixtures secretary and has played a role in the careers of Scotland centurions and Grand Slam winners.
Angela and Craig Marshall were named BT Volunteers of the Year for their tireless work in a number of roles for their club Greenock Wanderers.
Craig volunteers as house convenor, keeping the clubhouse and facilities running smoothly, while Angela has been proactive in fundraising and providing meals for players of all ages. She has even established a vegetable patch to provide fresh ingredients for the club’s kitchen.
Finlay Brown was named Crabbie’s Referee of the Season after a season of landmark appointments, officiating at the Hong Kong 7s and taking charge of two international tests in Europe, building on his top-level domestic refereeing credentials. He wins a year’s supply of Crabbie’s.
Glen Faulds from Currie Chieftains collected the Brigadier Frank Coutts Memorial (BT) Try of the Season following his finish of an exciting team score in the opening round of this year’s BT Premiership.
Scottish Rugby President, Rob Flockhart, said: “Scottish club rugby is in good health and the Club Awards recognise the inspiring and tireless work that keeps the game we love so strong.
"Nights like tonight are all about the players, coaches, committee members and volunteers who make the continued success of Scottish rugby a possibility.
“It is only right that we recognise their commitment, hard work and talent.”
2017/18 Scottish Rugby Club Awards winners
BT Club of the Season – Hamilton
BT Women’s Club of the Season – Oban Lorne
Coaching System of the Year – Stirling County
Crabbie’s Referee of the Season – Finlay Brown
Spirit of Rugby – Jock Todd (Kelso Harlequins)
BT Volunteer of the Season – Angela and Craig Marshall (Greenock Wanderers)
Brigadier Frank Coutts Memorial (BT) Try of the Season – Glen Faulds (Currie Chieftains)
BT Premiership Player of the Season – Craig Jackson (Melrose)
BT National League Division 1 Player of the Season – Darren Gillespie (Jed-Forest)
BT National League Division 2 Player of the Season – Taz McLaughlin(Hamilton)
BT National League Division 3 Player of the Season – Ryan Sweeney (Glasgow Accies)
BT Caledonia Regional Player of the Season – Kris Hamilton (Caithness)
BT East Regional Player of the Season – Gavin Douglas (Hawick Harlequins)
BT West Regional Player of the Season – Ewan Mackay (Strathendrick)
BT Women’s Premier League Player of the Season – Bryony Nelson (Watsonians)
BT Women’s National League Division 1 Player of the Season – Amy McGlashan (Glasgow University)
BT Women’s National League Division 2 Player of the Season – Lucy Stewart (Oban Lorne)
BT Women’s North Player of the Season – Isla Jack (Banff)