JAMES Underhill has been picked by his teammates as the outstanding individual performer for Northwich Rugby Club last season.
The versatile back, who played at stand-off and as a centre, received his prize during Blacks’ annual presentation dinner on Saturday night at the Oaklands Hotel.
Director of rugby Martin Poste rewarded the adaptability of another player, Kyle Lindsay, by naming the forward as his player of the year.
The Scot, a new recruit for the Moss Farm outfit’s successful return to North One West, made a successful switch to hooker since the start of 2017.
Kyle Lindsay, left, receives his coach's player of the year award from Northwich Rugby Club's director of rugby Martin Poste. Picture: Nigel Forrest
Meanwhile young wing Bud Skinkis, a former colt that established himself in the first team last term, was nominated as the side’s most improved individual.
“Our backs division would grace any league, anywhere, in the country – for me, they’re that good,” Poste told a packed room at the Gorstage venue.
“This is one club, and from my personal point of view it’s been a huge privilege to coach these players.”
Northwich finished third in the table, four points adrift of a promotion play-off place.
They also beat Birkenhead Park, one of Poste’s former clubs, in the Cheshire RFU Vase final.
Two senior players, Chris James and Rick Smith, received an award for their service to the club after announcing their retirement.
From left, Rick Smith and Chris James are presented with awards from Sam Naylor in recognition of service to the senior section at Northwich Rugby Club during their playing careers. Picture: Nigel Forrest
A third, Dave Farley, has been persuaded to postpone his decision to stop playing.
The prizes for Blacks’ seconds, promoted from the North West Intermediate League’s Division Two South as champions, went to Brad Bates (most improved), Craig Fortune (coaches’ player) and Stephen Connor (players’ player).
Mike Penny’s men also finished as runners-up in the Brooke Edgley Specialist Technical Services Trophy final following a 28-9 reverse against Kendal’s seconds earlier this month.
Northwich Rugby Club's second team members show off a shield to mark a title-winning campaign in the North West Intermediate League's Division Two South. Picture: Nigel Forrest
Volunteer Mark Preece was recognised for his work off the field with the Club person of the year award, while teenager Billy Cole took home the John Finch Memorial Award after making an impressive transition to senior rugby with the third team.
Northwich Rugby Club
Saturday, May 13
List of prize-winners
Most improved Bud Skinkis
Coach’s player Kyle Lindsay
Players’ player James Underhill
Most improved Brad Bates
Coaches’ player Craig Fortune
Players’ player Stephen Connor
Most improved Andy Lawler
Coach’s player Steven Taylor
Players’ player Mike Clarke
Best newcomer Jack Clarence
Most improved Matthew Quinn
Coaches’ player Ieuan Lewis
Players’ player Oli Sorensen
Club person of the year Mark Preece
John Finch Memorial Award Billy Cole