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Under-15s success is hailed in rugby club awards event

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: June 03, 2014

Ashbourne Rugby Club's under-15s pose proudly in their Bath tour kit. The tour was made possible with main support fromDairy Crest and G Wathall & Son, backed up by George Ditchfield Groundworks, Super Nosh, Nfu Mutual, the White Swan, Watkiss Thermal Break, Vehicle Diagnostics, Acres Signs and Graphics, Chris Keeling Plumbing and Heating, Lester Lowe and Kev Clarke Gas Services.

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ASHBOURNE Rugby Club's triumphant under-15s were the stars of the show when the club held its annual presentation night.

The boys were given a standing ovation by a gathering of 250 at the Recreation Ground when they were called up to collect their medals and shield for winning the NLD Shield final against Lincoln in April.

Under-15s manager David Coakley introduced all the players individually as they received their medals from guest of honour Steve Bott.

The players also enjoyed a late-season four-match tour to Bath.

MC Mick Pepper welcomed the mayor and mayoress of Ashbourne, councillors Steve and Sue Bull, deputy mayor Sandra Spencer, her husband Martin and councillor Denise Brown.

After the guests enjoyed a meal, club chairman Martin Fryer gave a witty speech interjected with details of the club's performances during the 2013-14 season and noting the fact that the totally amateur first XV was competing only six leagues away from playing in Europe.

The respective club captains then announced their awards for the season and gave a resume of their performances.

The first XV finished third in Midlands Two (South) and beat both of the teams who were promoted from the division.

The second XV finished a respectable fourth in a league including Mansfield, Matlock and Derby. They also won the Derbyshire RFU second XV cup final.

The third XV were runners up and most of the sides they played comprised of second or first XV players.

Impressively, George Ditchfield had taken the bull by the horns and the club fielded a fourth XV for most of the season.

This had involved some players coming out of retirement to play with younger players, some of whom had never played the game before.

George Ditchfield was subsequently voted clubman of the year when the evening's awards were announced.

The other main awards were:

First XV Player of the Year: Monty Lyon; Players' Player of the Year: Steve Maznenko.

Second XV Player of the Year: Dan Ryde; Players' Player of the Year: Paul Salt.

Third XV Player of the Year: Mike Allen; Players' Player of the Year: Martin Clewes.

Fourth XV Player of the Year: Stuart Bailey; Players' Player of the Year: Ryan Godfrey.

Young Player of the Year: Robert Farr.

Top Points Scorer: Jake Smith.

Top Try Scorer: Jake Smith.

The evening saw one final award, which was announced by club president, David Heath.

It was the David Clift Award for services to the club for over 25 years.

This isn't an annual award but one reserved for members who had given special service to the club, it was given this year to Phil Bates.

In his time at the club, Phil has been player, captain and for many years was the driving force to keep the club alive.

He was always supporting the club behind the scenes through fund-raising, among other things.

A competition was held to guess the length of the chairman's speech and the winner was Maria Turner.

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