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Neath RFC

On Friday May 10th the Neath RFC faithful made their way to the clubhouse to attend the annual Hall of Fame and team awards night. This is the night of the year that we honour past and present players and was a sell-out, as usual. This year was special as it was the 10th  year of the Supporters Club “Hall of Fame.”

Firstly, the Thomas family gave out bottles of wine to the coaching staff, support staff and volunteers as a thank you for all they do. Supporters club chair, Len Kowalski, opened the proceedings with a short speech thanking everyone who attended the night and to wish Tim Ryan, Ryan Evans and the squad good luck for the coming season. Tim then came up to say a few words and to say thanks for the support.

Len then handed the microphone over to Paul James, our compere for the night.

Paul’s first job was to introduce Jacob Blackmore and James Roberts who achieved 100 appearances this season. Jacob at the Swansea away game and James at the RGC home game. They were awarded their caps by Adrian Varney and James Hook respectively.

Next up were the team players awards. Elis Hopkins was first up, and was awarded Clubman of the Year by Robert Hughes.
Ryan Griffiths was next and he was awarded Players’ Player of the Year by Gareth King and finally Player of the Year was Ben Williams, who was given his award by Euros Evans.

It was then the turn of Paul to introduce supporters club members John Thomas, Vince Prout and Brian Hopkins. They were giving out the awards to the supporters club players of the year.
John and Vince gave out the awards of supporters club players of the year to Ryan Griffiths and Ben Williams. This was their 2nd award each of the night, and the supporters were in agreeance with the team, that Ryan and Ben were worthy winners of the awards.


Above: John Thomas presents Ryan Griffiths with Neath Rugby Supporters Club, Player of the Year award.

Above: Vince Prout presents Ben Williams with Neath Rugby Supporters Club, Player of the Year award.

It was then the turn for us to sadly say, farewell and thank you to three players who were leaving us: Kristian Jones, James Roberts and Sion Crocker. These were awarded framed action photographs kindly donated by the supporters club and presented by Brian Hopkins. Sion Crocker was then asked to return to the stage. He came up to cheers and loud applause to collect his special award from the Neath supporters club which Tim Ryan gave to him along with a commissioned “Clayzee Face” statue from the club. These were presented to him as a thank you for his loyalty and commitment to the club over the past 13 years. Sion has been a great servant to Neath RFC.


Above: Head Coach Tim Ryan, presenting Sion Crocker with an award to mark stirling service to Neath RFC over 225 appearances.

It was then time to break for the buffet, which I might add, was fantastic again this year.

Upon the restart of the night, Paul called up to the stage, club owner Matty Young, to make a presentation of a club tie to the night’s guest speaker, renowned former referee Derek Bevan.
Once that was over the Hall of Fame presentations began.


Pictured above (left to right): Euros Evans, Adrian Varney, James Hook, Robert Hughes and Gareth King.

This year the ceremony was touched by sadness as one recipient, Martin Jones, sadly passed away before he could be presented with his cap in front of his friends. We made a presentation of his cap to his friend Peter Jones before the Llandovery game.

Paul then introduced one of last year’s inductees, Euros Evans, to come up to the stage to be officially presented with his cap by Cai Arnold. Euros was out of the country on last year’s date of the Hall of Fame for his wedding so sadly couldn’t attend the night.

Next Paul introduced Robert Hughes to be awarded his cap from Cai. Then it was Adrian Varney who was awarded his cap by Jacob Blackmore.

The night was moving along nicely, with Paul interspersing the awards with his jokes and interaction with the audience. Paul then introduced James Hook to accept his cap from current club captain and assistant coach, Ryan Evans. Then it was the turn of Gareth King to be awarded his cap from Louis Rees. That finalised the cap presentations and it was onto our guest speaker for the night, Derek Bevan, who Paul introduced. Derek had us in stitches with his tales of games from all over the world that he had officiated and with stories of familiar players and officials who had gotten under his skin, shall we say. Once Derek had finished, that rounded off the night’s entertainment, and entertained we were. All were in agreement that this was another wonderful event. A packed house, great food and great entertainment. And best of all, a night to honour past and present players.

Neath Rugby Supporters Club