Year End Award Winners Announced

Saturday, April 30th - The Richmond Rugby Football Club announced its major award winners for the 2015-16 season at the annual awards banquet at the Richmond Curling Club. After a hard fought year in which both divisions won four of their first six games, then failed to register another victory until March - the members of the RRFC took some time to reflect on the season and toast those who made a difference for the club on and off the field.

First up MC Jack Hamilton took some time to thank the major sponsors on the year: Russell Beer, Valery Black Draperies, Trinity Plumbing/Heating/Gas and KTMD Consulting as well as match-ball sponsors Kavu Kitchen, Caffe Barney, Milltown Pub and Hans Radiators, and our service providers Bayside Health and Wellness, Hemlock Printing, Durasign, Lionheart Sports, Broadway Locksmith & Tastebuds Cupcakes.

The club also took the time to award a ten-year member mug to Brian Williams, who did not receive his mug at the Community Day Celebrations in which Dave Bancroft & Matt Carmen (20 Years),  and Joe Dimayuga, Brandon Sims, Eric Woods, Alex Brown & Paul Gaudreault (10 Years) were similarily honored.

For the first time in its history, the RRFC used an on-line voting system to record who the players and supporters thought deserved the major awards. Being selected by your peers made it that much more important for the recipients and showed the inclusive new direction the club took in the 2015-16 season. First award on the docket was Rookie of the Year which was won by Tyler Sangha (Vancouver College '11). Tyler played a variety of positions in the backs this year, showing great promise at 9 and 15 especially, and on many weekends he played 160 minutes of rugby. He scored several tries and was a continuous bright spot in the backs on whatever division he was thrust into. Although Tyler was not at the banquet, his award was accepted by the runner-up, promising hooker Brian Plenert (McRoberts '14) who showed toughness and tenacity in the sets and loose play throughout the season.

Second award of the night was the Most Improved Player which was awarded to Alex Bourne (McRoberts '06) who became a mainstay at second-row on the 1XV after injuries to several first division players pushed him into service. Despite an adjustment period to the pace and strength of the first division game-play, Alex fit right ine, and was the natural progression of his talents from his role as a utility 3XV forward to pushing for a starting spot on the club's top side week in and week out.

The Most Sportsmanlike Player award was given to captain Mike Marquardt (McRoberts '07) who played in every game this season - leading the team to memorable wins over league finalists Surrey Beavers and former CDI Premiership team the Vancouver Meralomas. Mike never complained when things got tough and was always a steadying and professional influence with his teammates, opponents and the match officials. His attitude and demeanour did not go unnoticed by his peers who selected him nearly unanimously.

As the club did not have a 3XV this season, the Heroes Heart Award (awarded since 2009 to the player who best embodied the spirit of the club's revitalized 3rds program) was given to the player who best embodied the 3XV spirit off-the-field. Again, in a landslide vote, the helmet was given to Thomas Thiessen (McRoberts '13) who's photogenic body, winning personality and never-say-die afterhours philosophy made him the natural choice for the award.

Winning the 2XV MVP award was flanker-turned prop-turned centre-turned replacement wing Lance Davison (Rhodesia School For Wayward Boys '95) who lead by example week in, and week out, with hard charging runs, great tackling and an ability to steal ball at breakdowns time and time again. Lance was also a tireless worker on the executive spearheading numerous junior projects including the succesful mini-clinic on Community Day in April.

Awarded the 1XV MVP award was prop Jon Findlay (McMath '04) who returned from a knee injury sustained two seasons ago to anchor the first div pack on a weekly basis.  His hard running and soft hands aside, the high light of the Bear's 2015-16 season was likely his rumbling twenty metre dash scoring what would have been the go-ahead try against the Meralomas at Connaught in November. Alas, the score was missed by the day's referee who was likely so startled that a man of that size could move with such grace and panache that he had a momentary lapse in judgement and called the ball held-up. Jon and his wife Jenn also welcomed their first child into the world this Spring - so congratulations on both accounts!

Next was the Coaches Award, pioneered by 2014-15 coach Kevin Nielsen and kept alive by current coach Ben Hickey, given out to the player who may not have been the MVP, MIP or MSL but who's contribution on the field and at training warranted some hardware. Based on those criteria, Anton Metalnikov (McRoberts '13) was 2016's winner. Anton's forced move into the front row, along with his tireless work in the rucks and at the set-pieces, made him a fan favourite at games during the season - but his attendance at practice (even when injured) helping out with drills, teaching technique to new players and keeping a positive outlook throughout the long season pushed him above other candidates. Coach Hickey also singled out training mainstay (and super pest) Matias MacDonald for his nearly perfect attendance record at training despite being injured for nearly the entire season.

The final award of the night was the RRFC's Club Man of the Year given to the person who had the biggest effect on the club off-the-field and behind the scenes in 2015-16. The award was given to Graham Haigh (McRoberts '02) but not mentioning the other positive off-field work done by Geoff Girling (Coaching, Sponsorship), Ryan Steele (Kit, Fridge Management) and Lucas Paczek (Clubhouse Maintenance) along with the rest of the executive committee (Matt Carmen, Heidi Woods, Jack Hamilton, Cam Knowles) and support staff (Jon White, Dave Bancroft, Brian McGrath, Brandon Sims, Doug Embury and James Tracey) would be a disservice to the hours and hours of time spent by the club's membership this year on large projects and team management.

Thanks again to our pub sponsors and after-match hosts The River Club and Legion 291, as well as the Richmond Curling Club for hosting the year-end banquet. While the results didn't come as expected this season, the off-field work, and increased number of senior players in March and April bode well for the 2016-17 season. There is lots of work to be done this summer - but the club expects to be back in the thick of things in September, fighting for playoff spots come next June! Until then...onwards, upwards! The RRFC!

Senior Mens Rugby

Days: Tuesday & Thursday (Rain Or Shine)

Time: 7:00 PM

Location: King George Park (Field 2) at 12360 Cambie Rd, Richmond

Contact: Kevin Nielsen (Head Coach - 604.240.6877)

Junior Boys Rugby

Days: Wednesday & Friday

Time: 5:30 PM

Location: South Arm Park (Field 3) at 8880 Williams Rd, Richmond

Contact: Al Smith (Head Coach - 604.928.4037)