Players, club officials and supporters gathered at the Washington Central hotel to celebrate a superb season, on and off the pitch, with the disappointing end to the campaign almost forgotten at an upbeat presentation evening.
And it was a great night for Sam Smith who picked up a hat-trick of awards after a fine personal season at the heart of the best defence in the division.
Sam collected the RISC Player of the Year, the Supporters’ Player of the Year and the coveted Players’ Player of the Year trophies, proving a popular choice in all three categories.
The evening got off to the best possible start when the Supporters’ Club presented the Club with a £20,000 boost with members Mark Lumsden, Paul Armstrong and Derek Coyle handing over a cheque to Phil Norman.
It was then the turn of the Reds Independent Supporters Club who recognised the contribution of not only Sam Smith but also that of Clare Partridge, Les Byers and Liam Irving for work at the club and fundraising efforts.
Elaine and Dave Heron were also praised for their many years driving the supporters’ mini bus to away games after opting to step down from that particular role.
Mark and Dave spoke eloquently about the club and other individuals who have made invaluable contributions over the years.
Matching the achievements of Sam Smith in the first team, Tom Skinner did likewise for the Development Squad and he too collected two awards lifting the Supporters’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year accolades.
There was also recognition for Thomas Houghton who was nominated Manager’s Player of the Year.
Matty Clarke received the Goal of the Season award for his stunning strike against Warrington Rylands at Borough Park whilst Dav Symington and Thomas Houghton were rewarded for finishing top scorer for the first team and Development Squad respectively.
Reuben Jerome picked up a memento in recognition of scoring the club’s quickest hat-trick while Jim Atkinson and Brian Dawson picked up similar trophies for quirky individual achievements – goalkeeper Jim scoring a goal and saving a penalty in the same match and Brian netting a goal for the Development Squad at the tender age of 43!
Steven Rudd also spoke at length to thank the many people it takes to ensure the match day operation runs smoothly.
The final award off the evening saw club captain, Conor Tinnion, present the Clubman of the Year award to kit-man, Phil Grisdale, for his outstanding service to the team over many years. This went down well with the players who gave Phil a boisterous ovation for his work behind the scenes on match days, in and around the dressing room.
Phil Norman spoke on behalf of the club to round off the evening which was well attended by first teamers and reserves alike.