23rd September 2017, 10:39
MASSAM AND TAIRA SCOOP TOP GONGS
Rochdale Hornets held their annual awards presentation event last night (September 22)
ROCHDALE Hornets players, staff and supporters gathered at The Flying Horse Hotel last night (September 22) for the club’s annual awards presentation.
The night, hosted by Hornets director and player welfare manager, Dave Ramsbottom saw awards for the Rochdale Hornets Wheelchair Rugby League team (RHWRL) and the Hornets first team handed out starting with the try of the season award.
Voting took place both online in the week and on the night as well as Joe Taira romped home with his barnstorming effort against Bradford Bulls in June.
As Danny Yates gathered the goal line drop out, Taira hit the pass like a steam train and busted the Bulls’ line before stepping the fullback and dotting down under the sticks.
Nothing could separate the recipients for the second award of the night.
The RHWRL coach’s player of the year was awarded to Hassan Kauser and Hammad Ali. Both were commended by coach Niel Wood for their commitment, desire and ability to get the job done when it mattered.
The RHWRL player’s player of the year award was handed to someone who well and truly put their body on the line for rugby league, so much so that he was treated for a heart attack at the side of the pitch!
The recipient, Caen Matthews has been part of the wheelchair team since its formation over a year ago and was praised for his attitude and commitment to the Rochdale Hornets Wheelchair Rugby League team.
The next award of the night was the These Lads Can Run For 80 Minutes moment of the season. The award, presented by Jim Stringer, recognizes that special moment throughout the season that epitomizes the season and what the club is about.
The winner again was a joint effort between try scorer and photographer. In round one of the season when Hornets trounced Dewsbury, Ben Moores finished off a sublime team try and celebrated down the lens of club photographer’s camera, Jackie Meredith.
The image would go on to plaster the front page of that week’s League Express with the headline “top of the league, and having a laugh!”.
Trevor Haigh was next up to present the Timekeeper’s Award and he elected a man with a special ability to get under both the opposition... and the referee’s skin. He is someone who every time he pulls on the shirt puts his body, heart and soul on the line.
The 2017 Timekeeper’s Award goes to Gary Middlehurst.
Next up, presented by Rochdale Hornets supporter liaison, Wendy Hamer was the Supporter’s Player of the Year, voted for by the fans. It was incredibly tight between first and second place but Matty Hadden did just enough to edge Jono Smith to scoop the award.
Moving on was the only award that we know the winner of before the night, the Top Try Scorer Award is just that. The man who crossed the line 18 times for Hornets this year was Rob Massam. The tank on the flank made the move to Rochdale from North Wales Crusaders in the off season and carried on his tremendous try scoring form.
That left us with arguable to two most important awards of the night, Coach’s Player of the Year and Player’s Player of the Year.
Alan Kilshaw had conferred with his coaching staff to select this award and said to the room that without him in the squad he feels we would have lost some of the tight games we won. He is reliable to go out and execute his own game plan and do the job his is instructed to do.
Collecting his second award of the night, the Suva Express, Joe Taira!
The final award of the night, the player’s player award is recognised as the most prestigious throughout the sporting world regardless of sport or code it is the one all player’s want to win.
Elected by his peers, Rob Massam collected this award for his attitude and dedication on and off the field, his steady and reliable hand in attack and defence and his freakish ability to find the whitewash.
For a gallery of images from the event click here