A packed clubhouse saw past and present players come together with fans to celebrate some of the club’s greatest players and to recognise the achievements of the current squad.
The first formality of the evening was the presentation of a cheque to Jake Buckley from Tonna RFC. As you will know, Jake suffered a serious neck injury playing for Tonna against Rhigos back in March. The money raised to help Jake in his recovery was donated by fans at the recent Neath v Aberavon game. A big thank you to Paula for organising the collection.
The evening then moved on to the presentations to the current Neath squad. Patrick Horgan opened the awards with a very entertaining story about Lions hunting Wildebeests (and Giraffes). Whilst the story had everyone in fits of laughter, there was a very serious side to it – the importance of sticking together during troubled times.
On to the awards, and best newcomer as awarded to scrum-half (and part-time outside half) Rhodri Cole. Clubman of the year was prop Nicky Downs, players player of the year went to Jordan Collier whilst the coveted player of the year award to the outstanding Alex Humphrey. Alex would later go on to also pick up the supporters player of the year award to cap a fantastic first season for him at the Gnoll. Coach, Partick Horgan was then presented with a signed jersey in recognition of his hard work by Rhys Davies and Steve Evans.
The Hall of Fame section of the evening began with Shane Williams being presented with his 2014 cap. Shane was of course unable to attend last year due to him playing (“in the second row”) in Japan, so was presented with his cap this year by James Thomas. The 2015 Hall of Fame presentations then started with Lee Beach presenting Noel Mellin with a cap on behalf of his ex-teammate Rees Stephens.
Ron Waldron then received his cap from current prop Nicky Downs. Ron then entertained the crowd with his memories of playing for and coaching Neath.
Next was Diane Davies, who received the cap on behalf of her late husband Martyn Davies. Two great captains, Kevin Phillips and then Gareth Llewellyn received their caps from Siôn Crocker and Jordan Collier respectively.
Shane, Gareth and Kevin then took to the floor to answer questions from the audience before the night drew to a close.
Neath Rugby Supporters Club is very grateful to everyone who attended particularly the inductees and the current playing squad. We are also grateful to Mike Price for comparing the evening with his unrivaled knowledge of Neath RFC history and Rhys and Sarah from R&SD Risk Management for their sponsorship.
Once again, thank you to everyone for your support of the event and we look forward to seeing you all again during the 2015/16 season.