Club rugby celebrated at annual awards – why all the secrecy?

Players, coaches, match officials and volunteers have been recognised for their contribution to the game during the 2018-19 season

Iain Wilson was named Tennent's Premiership Player of the Season. Image: ©Fotosport/David Gibson

THE 2019 edition of the Scottish Rugby Club Awards took place last night [Friday] under the blanket of an unexplained black-out for all non in-house media outlets.

The SRU media schedule, which is issued to relevant press every Friday, made no mention of the event; and the press release to highlight the achievements of club players, coaches, match officials and volunteers from the domestic game in Scotland wasn’t issued until 00.33am on Saturday morning – ruling out any possibility of this event making it into the mainstream press. This is despite the SRU’s own media channels announcing that: “The awards provide an opportunity to recognise the commitment and talents of those involved across the grassroots game.”

It is The Offside Line’s view that this is a desperate shame for all the hard working people in club rugby who were recognised at this event, and who deserve their stories to be shared as widely as possible.

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Fortunately, the good people of The Offside Line don’t have anything better to do on a Friday night, so here are the winners (according to the SRU’s own website and Twitter feed) –

Regional Leagues Players of the Sesason

Liam Ward (Rosyth Sharks RFC) was named Caledonia Region Player of the Season.

“We won the league this year – last year we lost on points difference so this year to win the league, to see the boys, the club, the fans, the boys that have retired and never won the league and then we finally did it, it’s just unbelievable,” he said.

Jason Watt (Livingston RFC) was named the East Region Player of the Season.

“It means everything because I’ve played for Livingston for 12-14 years now, it’s a massive award for me,” he said.

Max Crumlish (Cambuslang RFC) was named West Region Player of the Season.

“I wouldn’t be in this award if it wasn’t for my team. For me, for playing lock, it’s about giving everything for my team,” he said.

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Women’s National 1, National 2 and North League Players of the Season

Shona Jessiman (Glasgow University Women) was named Women’s National League Division 1 Player of the Season.

“We have quite a high turnover because we are a uni team, so it wasn’t a great start to the season for us, but then we started to gel and start winning and getting to the Plate final at Murrayfield, we were playing a team in the league above us and getting remotely close to beating them felt like a win,” she said.

Maedbh Smyth (Aberdeenshire RFC) is the Women’s National League Division 2 Player of the Season.

“I think it’s been a tough year for Aberdeenshire but we’re working with teams around Aberdeen and Aberdeen city to make a better team and a more sustainable future. It’s my first season properly back from injury – I broke my ankle a year ago – but this year I’ve had a good team around me helping me back to fitness,” she said.

 Katie Roe (Shetland RFC) is the Women’s North League Player of the Season 2018/19.

“It’s been a great season for us up north, we won the league this season and beat some good teams along the way. I’ve been the captain for the last few seasons and I’ve really enjoyed that but it’s about the whole team, so thank you to them,” he said.

Men’s National 1, National 2 and National 3 Players of the Season

Sean Nixon (Selkirk RFC) is National 1 Player of the Season.

No quotes available.

Connor Faulds (Falkirk RFC) is the National 2 Player of the Season.

“There have been plenty of up and downs this season to be honest, but I’ve enjoyed it and playing with the boys at Falkirk I’ve loved it,” he said.

William McCornick (Newton Stewart RFC) is National 3 Player of the Season.

No quotes available.

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Men’s Premiership Player of the Season

Iain Wilson (Heriot’s Rugby) was named Tennent’s Premiership Player of the Season.

No quotes available

Women’s Premier League Player of the Season

Chloe Johnstone (Stewartry RFC) is Women’s Premier League Player of the Season.

“There was definitely highs and lows throughout the season but we definitely managed to finish on a high winning the Plate final at BT Murrayfield. It was so unexpected to win this award and being here tonight has been great,” she said.

Referee of the Season

Ruairidh Campbell was named Referee of the Season.

No quotes available

Club Volunteer of the Season

Jeremy Wares (Perthshire RFC) was named the Club Volunteer of the Season.

“It’s great to win the award but I feel it’s really for the club, Perthshire as a club we’ve done so much this year and I’ve put a lot in. If you want your children to play sport you’ve got to put a little bit back. I’ve had a lot from the club and put it back in. I do a lot, but I love what I do,” he said.

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Spirit of Rugby Awards

David Stibbles MBE (Harris Academy FP RFC) and John Wright (Edinburgh Accies/BATs Rugby) were joint winners of the Spirit of Rugby Award.

No quotes available

SP Energy Networks Club Coaching System of the Year Award

Boroughmuir won the SP Energy Networks Club Coaching System of the Year Award RFC.

“It is really important for us because so much emphasis has been put into how we’re developing coaches with the club from top to bottom, it’s what we’re trying to achieve so we’re absolutely delighted,” said Ali Hay, Boroughmuir Chairman.

“As Academy Director, we’re just in our second year so have a long way to go, but the last two years have been fantastic and a massive effort from all our coaches,” said Scott Anderson, Boroughmuir Academy Director.

Try of the Season

Robin Eatough (Highland RFC) scored the Try of the Season.

No quote available

Women’s Club of the Season

Garioch RFC won the Women’s Club of the Season

“I wasn’t expecting it tonight, we’ve won this award before, but it’s been a season when we haven’t actually won anything but we have grown as a club, doubled our numbers, engaged the community and built our youth section and to the girls I think that means a lot more than winning a trophy, we’ve nailed it,” said Garioch club captain Jess Silcocks.

Club of the Season

Biggar won  Club of the Season.

“It’s mind-blowing, seriously mind-blowing to win this award. I was sitting listening to the intro and I knew what our club had done this year and I was proud of what our club has done. When our name was announced, I honestly didn’t believe it and I still don’t quite believe it,” said club Biggar club president John Bogle.

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About David Barnes 3906 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. The secrecy apart, I find it hard to believe there were not more winners from the North part of Caledonia. This in a season when the area had some stand out performances, including Aberdeen Grammar winning the National League Cup, Highland getting to the final, Aberdeenshire landing a league and bowl double. There were also some fine individuals on show, not least the entire Grammar back row. At least the Aberdeen Press and Journal gave all these achievements regular mentions.

  2. You missed out this award – The SP Energy Networks Club Coaching System of the Year award for 2018/19 went to Boroughmuir RFC. This award recognises the clubs who have worked hard to develop their coaching set-up at all levels to ensure that players are supported as they improve and, importantly, have fun playing rugby. Boroughmuir demonstrated their quality and commitment to coaching at every level and stood out in their approach to ensuring that they can provide high-quality coaching well into the future.

  3. Beggars belief, what a shame. Lack of publicity is by and large the root cause of failure in this social media driven world. Live pictures and quotes on the SRU website should have been a given. Shame on the SRU, and they want volunteers to keep rugby afloat at club level? Hang in there ladies and lads, clubland supporters appreciate you 🙂

  4. If ever there was proof that the SRU isn’t fit for purpose this is it.

    Rotten to the core.

  5. What is happening at Murrayfield when so many employed who are not fit for the post they are in? Who is I/c of interviewing and making so many bad decisions? Investigation required as this cannot continue as it does nothing to promote Scottish rugby.

  6. Barnesie: You know, and I know, any department is only as good as its weakest link. And the weakest link in the SRU Media department is the alleged boss – Chief Elf Buddy Horler.

    The fact he couldnae run a bath tells you all you need to know about that department’s (un)fitness for purpose.

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