On Saturday night, people from across Ospreylia gathered at The Village Hotel in Swansea to celebrate rugby, and the people that make it happen, at the Ospreys Region Community Awards Night.
More than 150 people from the Ospreylian rugby community turned out on Saturday evening to celebrate rugby and reward the sometimes unseen efforts of people within clubs and schools across Ospreylia. Following nominations from the public, the shortlisted candidates were at The Village Hotel in Swansea to find out whom the judging panel had chosen in the eight categories.
Tom Slone, Ospreys in the Community Foundation Manager, commented on the evening:
“It’s been another amazing night at The OSPARS. Every year the aim is to go bigger and better and it’s fair to say that we’ve done that again this year, thanks to the team’s hard work and the support we’ve had from The Village Hotel Swansea, Swansea University SEA and Harlequin Print.
“We are lucky in our region to have so many people in schools and clubs who so generously give up their time to volunteer and work so hard to ensure that training and games go ahead so we can all enjoy rugby. So it’s wonderful that we have the opportunity to say thank you and reward those individuals.
“It’s also a great occasion to congratulate those teams who have had great success throughout the year and recognise those extra special people in Ospreylia. People like Geraint Edwards who has gone the extra mile for his club for some many years and young Riley, who has definitely stolen the show tonight, who is an absolute inspiration to us all to not let anything get in the way.”
2018/19 Award Nominees and Winners
Mini and Junior Volunteer of the Year
Andy Warren – Dunvant RFC
Darren Underhill – Kenfig Hill RFC
Richard Millar – Bryncoch RFC
Richard has worked tirelessly for over a decade for both his club and district and has put in so much hard work in to the game, from arranging the matrix for District D to being club secretary. He is someone who has “put more into the game than he will ever take out”.
Youth Volunteer of the Year
Julian Page – Cwmavon RFC
George Russ – Neath Athletic RFC
Paul Thomas – Morriston RFC
In two seasons, Paul has turned the team around from 6 players at training and losing every game to having a squad of 35 training every week and reaching 4 cup finals this season and winning a league title, a popular and deserving winner.
Referee of the Year
Catrin Stoneman – Ystradgynlais RFC
Steffan Davies – Vardre RFC
Steffan Anderson Thomas – Gowerton RFC
Steffan supports rugby through the region by making himself available constantly to referee everyone from minis to seniors, and that’s in addition to his work commitments and coaching volunteering. An excellent role model for young referees.
Young Leader of the Year
Jack Dicataldo – Bonymaen RFC
Charlotte Graham-Wollard – West Swansea Hawks
Jordan Davies – Aberavon Green Stars RFC
Over the last season OitC former trainee Jordan has completed his 100 hours volunteering, helped at numerous events and completed his Level 1 referee and coaching badges. Jordan is also keen to help out with some of our mixed ability rugby offerings that will be launching soon. Jordan is a dedicated young man and wholly deserving of this award.
Women and Girls Volunteer of the Year
Tracey Balmer – Ogwr Hawks
Richard Thomas – Talbot Reds
Colin Jones – Bonymaen RFC
Colin has taken a group of inexperienced female players from Division 3 to the Premiership in just 3 years. Completely devoted to rugby, Colin more than deserves to be named our Women and Girls Volunteer of the Year for 2018/19.
Most Inspirational Person of the Year Award
Mike Kelly – Cefn Cribwr RFC
Darren Carew – Welsh Rugby Union
Riley Davies – Maesteg Celtic RFC
A well deserved standing ovation and several tears in eyes as our youngest award winner, Riley, collected his statue on Saturday night. Riley suffers from an incredibly rare life limiting condition which requires him to be on oxygen 24 hours a day. Inspirationally that has not stopped him for a minute, especially in relation to his rugby dreams. The brave young man plays alongside his Maesteg Celtic RFC teammates with his oxygen bottle on his back and is planning on putting his latest award “on the shelf with all his others”. Congratulations Riley.
Team of the Year
Ystalyfera RFC 1st XV
Bonymaen RFC 2nd XV
With a squad of almost 40 local young men training and playing every week, Morriston have done themselves proud this season, taking home many accolades such as Ospreys West League Winners and the Brisco Cup as well as an unbeaten U17s programme.
Derek “Deco” Davies Lifetime Achievement Award
Geraint Edwards – Dunvant RFC
The Derek “Deco” Davies Lifetime achievement award is given to a very special individual who has dedicated decades of their lives to their club and to rugby and Saturday’s winner Geraint Edwards has done that more than most. Having started playing at Dunvant RFC in 1953 he played a year for the Youth team before becoming part of the senior squad where he played for the club for an impressive 16 years!
Qualifying as a coach in 1967 Geraint went on to coach both the youth and senior side before also becoming the fixture secretary in 1971, a position he went on to hold for 23 years. In 1987 Geraint also became Chairman of Dunvant RFC.
An impressive rugby CV by anybody’s standards but Geraint wasn’t done yet. In 1993 he joined the WRU board to ensure that local clubs had a strong voice at a national level. After being appointed to the Disciplinary Committee as part of his role with the WRU in 1996 Geraint became Chairman. A role that saw him also sit in the European Rugby sub group and become an international citing commissioner.
A fantastic servant to his club and to Welsh rugby in general, Geraint is a truly deserving winner of the Lifetime Achievement award.