OTLEY Rugby club held its annual awards evening on Friday 6 May, and it proved to be a fitting end to what has been a very successful season.

During the evening four player awards were presented – Young Player of the Year went to Eddie Crossland, the fly half who played his debut season for the club this year. Player’s Player of the Year was awarded to Luke Cole, the hooker who has notched up over 50 league appearances for the club this season and scored 14 tries, putting him in the top 15 try scorers in the league.

The Player of the Year went to outside centre, Elliot Morgan who has spent the vast majority of the season playing out of position on the wing.

Despite this he has had an excellent campaign, scoring 19 tries, making him the second top try scorer in the league. The final award, Supporters Player of the Year went to fly half, Callum Irvine, who also made his debut for the club and played out of position for some of the season. Congratulations went to all four players.

There was one further award – the Club Person of the Year and this was presented to Club President Michael Procter for his work on the proposed relocation of the club and his leadership of the ‘Wednesday Gang,’ the band of club stalwarts that meet every Wednesday to maintain the facilities.

Zebra’s Chairman, Andrew Johnson played tribute to all the different age grades who have achieved successes throughout the season, including both the U14’s and U16’s who won their respective Yorkshire Cups. Given the illustrious audience of approx. 80 people, the captain of the winning U14’s team who stood up to give an account of their season and praise his teammates, did a very impressive job. Paul Mackie, club chairman even commented he was a ‘future first team captain in the making.’

A highlight of the evening was an emotional tribute from Mackie to the club’s retiring Director of Rugby Peter Clegg. During his speech Mackie referenced the long history Clegg has shared with the club and the fantastic legacy he leaves behind him, including finishing as League Champions this year, which means a return to National 2 North next season.

Originally joining the club in 1998 as Head Coach and taking them to one of the top 26 clubs in the country, playing the likes of Exeter, Saracens, and Harlequins. Under Clegg the club spent 8 seasons in total at level 2, holding their own despite having significantly fewer financial resources. He left Otley in 2009, only to return in 2015 as Director of Rugby, a move Clegg himself described as ‘coming home again’. Following Mackie’s tribute, the whole room, which included both past and present players, members, supporters, and zebra’s, rose in a well-deserved standing ovation to show their appreciation for everything that Clegg has done for the club.

The last task Clegg was asked to perform as Director of Rugby was to present this season’s North Premier League Cup to his victorious team, who ensured they finished top of the league by beating York on the last day of the season. It was a fitting way to end both the evening and his tenure at Otley.