Saturday night 14th July saw the first Youth rugby awards at Sardis Road for almost ten years as the reformed Pontypridd RFC Youth enjoyed the first of many future presentations; Call-a-Cab Taxis proudly sponsored the evening.
Speaker for the night was the ever entertaining Martyn Lewis, secretary of the Pontypridd Mini and Junior Rugby Section, whilst senior youth coaches Sean Oliver and Wayne Gristock joined him on stage, along with Pontypridd Premiership player Lee Evans, who presented the players with their trophies.
The newly formed team started in the Blues BI league, effectively the 9th division and having lost only one league match all season, they were justly rewarded with a promotion of 7 divisions to the Blues BB league, or 2nd division ready for nest season.
The presentations began with a very proud dad and former Ponty stalwart Dai Legge, presenting a Special Recognition Award for Representing Wales Under 16’s to his own son Garrick Legge. In April, Garrick was selected to represent Wales in matches against England, Italy and France, everybody at Pontypridd RFC is proud of his gutsy performances and feel he is more than deserving of the accolade he has achieved. The players were all awarded with specially engraved tankards to mark their involvement in the rebirth of youth rugby at Sardis Road.
The first special award of the evening was the presentation of the Up and Coming Player Award to fullback Rhys Simms by clubhouse manager Mark Davies. The award was donated and the precipitant chosen by the bar staff at Sardis Road who have all enthusiastically followed the youth team this season. The award is for the player the staff members feel have the skills, attitude and ability to succeed at the higher level.
Lee Evans presented the next award to open-side flanker Dafydd Gristock, who again had an outstanding season and deservingly won the Most Consistent Player Award. Gristock is a quick, nimble and aggressive player who is always first to any breakdown, many a scrum-half has reached down to grab the ball, only to frustratingly get a handful of Dafydd’s flowing blonde locks.
The result of the player’s poll was then read out and Lee Evans presented the Players Player of the Year Award to Rhys Simms. As fullbacks go, there are few in the game that can match the blistering pace of Simms. Not only is he an outstanding outfield player, but he’s also been blessed with the golden boot. His goal kicking has been phenomenal this season, with penalties and conversions going over with infinite ease, no matter where on the field he kicks them from!
Next up was the Player of the Year Award as voted by the coaching staff, again it was Lee Evans who presented the trophy and the Pontypridd RFC Youth Player of the Year went to inspirational centre Dan Deardon. This young player has impressed so much during the season that he even earned a call up to senior squad training and has trained with the Pontypridd Premiership team every week since February, having both impressed the senior coaches and players with his dynamic pace, proving to have immense strength for such a young player.
Special Coaches Awards were presented to two players who were both in the running for all three above awards. The first went to outside half and captain Lewis Smith who led by example, showing great skill and determination throughout the season.
The second award went to versatile Cardiff Blues Academy player Sam Studley, who was a late joiner of the squad, but has proved a pivotal player in several of the bigger matches and deservedly earned a call up to train with the senior squad alongside Deardon and others.
Two Ponty youth players were awarded their Boys Club of Wales Caps on the night; these were Lewis Smith and Dan Deardon. Eight Ponty Youth players were invited for trials and most got through to the final trial, a huge accolade for the depth of talent in the team.
The final award of the night was the presentation of memorative tankards for the youth coaches of Wayne Gristock and Sean Oliver, without whom there would have been no resurgence of youth rugby at Sardis.
Player of the Year: Dan Deardon
Players Player of the Year: Rhys Simms
Most Consistent Player: Dafydd Gristock
Special Recognition Award for Representing Wales Under 16’s: Garrick Legge
Boys Club of Wales Caps Awarded to: Dan Deardon & Lewis Smith
The Clubhouse Up and Coming Player Award as voted by the staff: Rhys Simms
Achievement Awards presented to:
Lewis Smith (200+ points)
Sam Studley (Cardiff Blues Academy & Captain of Crawshays Welsh RFC)
Total votes 517
Yr Uwch-Gynghrair, Cwpan SWALEC, Cwpan Prydain ac Iwerddon - beth yw gobeithion Ponty o gipio "coron driphlyg" unigryw? The Premiership, SWALEC Cup and British & Irish Cup - what are Ponty's chances of claiming a unique "triple crown"?