North East Rugby League Awards Celebrate Another Fantastic Year

The 2018 North East Rugby League Awards took place on Friday 7th September at Kingston Park stadium, the home of Newcastle Thunder. Success stories this season have both numerous and spread across the region. From the forming of the new club of Alnwick Bears to the north, to the progress of Catterick Crusaders in reaching the Super 4 for the first time in the south, and plenty in-between.

A sold out room saw every club represented and enjoyed an enthusiastic welcome from special guest, Marc Lovering. Director of Participation and Development for the RFL, Lovering was full of praise for the continuing growth of the North East, stating that more and more of the UK are looking to the region as a model of how to grow the game. He also highlighted the success of Wallsend Eagles who played in the Challenge Cup, of Astley High Y10 girls who reached the national finals, of Northumbria University who won the BUCS championship again, Nathan Clemmitt of Cramlington Rockets who played for England Youth, and the introduction of Edinburgh Eagles into the North East Cup.

Yarm Wolves picked up the first award of the night, with Gary Palmer winning Primary Rugby League Volunteer of the Year. It was to be the fledgling club’s night in fact, winning a total of three awards in only their second season with U16s coach, Phil Shaw and player, Aiden Simpson adding to their league and cup double.

The current RFL Club of the Year, Cramlington Rockets added two trophies to its cabinet, in U12s Player of the Year, Lochlann Thomson and Volunteer of the Year, Sarah Stephenson, reflecting the team’s excellent cup win.

Gateshead Storm also picked up two awards. Ryan Crossley added the U14 Player of the Year prize to his league and cup winners medals before Michelle and Geoff Hurst together won spirit of the community for their efforts around the club on match days and beyond.

Jamie Hooper was awarded match official of the year having joined the region this season. The progress of Catterick Crusaders’s first team and their top 4 finish saw Jason Grant pick up Men’s Coach of the Year. Adam Hay of Wallsend Eagles was selected as Young Player of the Year, impressing enough on Wallsend’s run to the league and cup double to be selected for Scotland U19s at the European Championship. Ben Dalton took the night’s top player award, recognising his efforts for Jarrow Vikings who came within two points of victory at the Grand Final.

The final award of the evening went to Phil Selby as the North East Hall of Fame Inductee, presented with immense gratitude by Newcastle Thunder Chairman, Mick Hogan. Having being involved in North East Rugby League for over 25 years, Selby delivered a moving acceptance speech that encouraged in particular the young people present to find out the history of the game, how hard it has had to fight through its history and what makes it the “greatest game there is”. Hogan then brought the night to a close with a look to the future. Both for Newcastle Thunder, who he assured everyone were “going for it” next season and had some exciting signings to announce, and for the region overall. He confirmed that Newcastle is bidding for the 2021 World Cup, both the men’s and the wheelchair tournaments, and that Newcastle had applied for Magic Weekend to return for a fifth time. With the successful hosts of both to be revealed in time for 2019 pre-season, there’s already a lot to look forward to for next year in the North East.

North East Rugby League Award Night Nominations in full Denotes winner *

U12’s Player of the Year  Elijah Delaidriti – Catterick Crusaders Osea Navuso – Catterick Crusaders Lochlann Thomson* – Cramlington Rockets Louie Godfrey – Gateshead Storm Riley Maitland – Gateshead Storm Nathan Proctor – Whitley Bay Barbarians

U14’s Player of the Year Ryan Crossley* – Gateshead Storm Ben Armstrong – Whitley Bay Barbarians Jeremy Civil – Catterick Crusaders Jordan Webster – Cramlington Rockets Josh McDermott – Gateshead Storm Finley Wilkinson – Cramlington Rockets

U16’s Player of the Year Rupert Civil – Catterick Crusaders Olly Bale – Catterick Crusaders Aiden Simpson* – Yarm Wolves Henry Bowler – Yarm Wolves Tyler Hepple – Gateshead Storm Kieran Robins – Cramlington Rockets

Primary Rules Volunteer of the Year Mark McCallan Gateshead Storm Gary Palmer* – Yarm Wolves Tracy Bowie – Alnwick Bears Ian McKechnie – Catterick Crusaders Aaron Mitchell – Cramlington Rockets

Spirit of the Community Award Dave Bell – Jarrow Vikings Michelle n Geoff Hurst* – Gateshead Storm Jason Grant – Catterick Crusaders Rob Philips – Alnwick Bears Alix Bowler – Yarm Wolves

Volunteer of the Year  Peter Lynn – Yarm Wolves Rob Jones – Gateshead Storm Rob Phillips – Alnwick Bears Sarah Stephenson* – Cramlington Rockets Jayne Whitby – Catterick Crusaders

Match Official of the Year Rhett Johnson Richard Robinson Scott Stanley Jamie Hooper* Jordan Robinson

Junior Coach of the Year  Phil Stephenson – Cramlington Rockets U12’s Phil Shaw* – Yarm Wolves U16’s Nigel Froggatt – Gateshead Storm U14’s Steve O’Reilly – Catterick Crusaders U16’s Rob Jones – Gateshead Storm U12’s

Men’s Coach of the Year George Taylor – Jarrow Vikings Jason Grant* – Catterick Crusaders Karl Stephenson – Durham Demons Barry McGuffog – Edinburgh Eagles Alan Stevenson – Wallsend Eagles Jake Egglestone – Durham Tigers

Young Player of the Year Adam Hay* – Wallsend Eagles James Cook – Durham Demons Ryan Hull – Cramlington Rockets Jack Ingles – Gateshead Storm Callum Piert – Catterick Crusaders Lucas Reid – Edinburgh Eagles

Player of the Year  Jimmy Baldwin – Wallsend Eagles Luke Elliot – Durham Demons Lewis Clarke – Edinburgh Eagles Daniel Bonham – Catterick Crusaders Lewis Boyle – Durham Tigers Ben Dalton* – Jarrow Vikings