Chairman Paul Farrell addressed the event.
Welcome everyone to the 2016 presentation evening.
After the last few seasons unprecedented success story it is fair to say it’s a bit of a disappointing season that we have had that we look back on tonight.
There are several reasons for our relative decline but suffice to say that the root of our problems are too few dedicated players. As we know this is an issue facing many clubs in most sports but what we do about it at West Bank is all I’m interested in and I’m very heartened by the enthusiasm of a lot of you for the task we have ahead.
I said that we have been in a relative decline and that’s because although we didn’t win the competition we did finish in joint 4th place in the top division and of course we have just won the Widnes cup.
There were some highlights. We welcomed back a couple of ex professionals during the season that boosted our cause. Ryan Millington from Gateshead and errr Ryan Millington from South Wales comes to mind.
Seriously though we have some of the best players in their position in the league never mind Widnes and if we keep most of our squad together and hopefully add to it we all know that, with the dedication required, we can regain our top spot.
During the season and after much heartache over non-attendance at training and let downs on a Saturday our coach Ricky finally called it a day. Having started as coach at the turn of the millennium It’s worth reflecting at this point on just what Ricky has achieved:
2 NWML Premier division titles, 2 NWML league leaders shields, the NWML premier cup, 2 Widnes cups, 2 NWcounties divisional championships, 1 NW counties shield and BARLA Lancashire Cup finalists. All of those achievements have come in the last 8 years or so mostly on the back of Ricky’s involvement in various junior teams providing the back bone of our current side.
Ste Curphey stepped up into the coaches role and stabilised the season; failing by the width of a controversial rule change from making the play offs.
Anyway as disappointed as we are there are many, many clubs looking back on far worse seasons that we have just had. So we have every reason to celebrate our player’s performances this evening.
Firstly though I’d like to thank everyone that has helped out this season with special thanks to Ricky and Ste Curphey for leading us through the year. We have stalwart helpers on the touchline and I’d like to thank Gareth New, Gavin New, Wayne Forbes, Tony Bates, Dave Beswick, Garry Pichilingi, Billy McDonald, Frank Curphey and Julie Hughes… without you all we just wouldn’t be able to function as well as we do.
It would be remiss of me not to mention Paul Curphey. After many years Paul has decided to hang up his boots. Paul started as an eight year old playing for Widnes Tigers before moving to the Bears when we formed our first junior teams in 1990 at Under 10s. Over the years he has also played RU for Halton and Chester before returning to us in 2004. Paul’s commitment, playing with injury, and his skill and sheer impact on the field is an object lesson in what any team requires from its players. Thankyou Paul.
Onto the awards.
Due to the time constraints of ordering the trophies in time for tonight's event we weren’t able to include the Widnes Cup in the stats for the awards.
The top try scorer. With a different scorer here or there this award could have gone to any of half a dozen players with Ste Curphey, Eddie McAdam, Ryan Millington and Lee Holland all within a score or two. However with 9 trys the top try scorer was Keiron Butterworth.
Fourteen different player received votes this year. In third place with 21 votes is a player who plays every minute with a fierce determination … surely a contender for Scottish amateur player of the year…. Eddie McAdam.
With 23 points is a player who thoroughly deserves every honour that comes his way. With 23 points… Ryan Bates
Finally with 25 points is a player with immense skill and potentially one of the best players we’ve ever produced… Jack Murphy.
Player of the year.
Only two player actually won more than one man of the match award.
So runner up with three man of the match awards and, considering how many matches he missed, that is an amazing feat…. Ryan Millington.
The Player of the year is therefore not going to be a surprise to anyone is a player who must inspire his own teammates as much as he must put the fear of God into his opponents is, for the third year running, with six man of the match awards…. Ryan Bates.
Thankyou all for your attendance. Hope you are all looking forward to next season.