Paterson scoops major prize Buller Player of the year
Alex Paterson has been named Buller Player of the year at their awards evening held on Saturday after a terrific season for both White Star and the Francis Mining Buller team.
The awards were held at the completion of the after match function on Saturday as opposed to the usual formal event as per previous years. Buller Rugby’s Andrew Duncan explained that whilst the evening was not the like the usual prizegiving, it was still an important event to recognize those who had achieved and played their part in what can be described a successful season.
Buller Rugby Union Chairman Hugh McMillan payed a special thanks to the clubs and volunteers, including the referees, for their time and involvement this season. He also thanked the BRU staff for being proactive and getting rugby played during a difficult time through the Covid pandemic.
The awards started with club awards where Buller captain and Westport finals captain Kahu Parata was named as the W A Craddock Trophy winner for Senior Club Player of the Year. Parata had a tremendous season for Westport which saw his club go through the Westreef Services club season unbeaten scooping all major senior trophies including the Senior Shield.
Parata’s club coach Craig Adams was able to retain the Wayne Neville Memorial Trophy for Coach of the Year. Adams thanked his players and committee who work tirelessly for the club. Their hard work off the field has set the club up well to perform well on the field. Adams also thanked the Buller Rugby Union for their support to club rugby and his fellow senior coaches who had a great working relationship to get games played.
The John Smith Memorial trophy for Most Promising Back of the year went to Old Boys speedster Hendrix Babbington who scored a club leading 10 tries in 7 games. His club form saw him selected in the Buller Heartland side where he earnt his debut first class cap for Buller.
Jack Reedy was named as the W Mumm Memorial winner for Most promising Forward of the year. Reedy was recognized as a player who performed exceptionally well across three different grades this season. He was a leader for the 1st XV, JAB club team and also performed well for the White Star senior side.
The Junior Trophy for Volunteer of the Year was awarded to an excited young man Solly Boyer. He was recognized for his hours of voluntary work at both JAB and senior level. Always assisting the BRU staff with field set-ups and any other jobs on offer.
The Heartland awards were followed by 13 Buller players receiving the first Buller tie for making their 1st class debut in 2020.
The Wayne Neville Memorial Trophy for most dedicated was awarded to Ben Pratt whilst a new trophy, the Bradleys Coachlines Cup for Personality of the year was awarded to Thor Manawatu. Both guys were influential to what the players described as an enjoyable team culture the group had created after such a short time together.
The Brian Stack Memorial trophy for Contribution to Heartland rugby was awarded to Jesse Pitman-Joass. A true team player who always put the needs of other first, Pitman-Joass was the perfect fit for a young group making their way in Heartland rugby.
The Players’ Player of the Year was again awarded to Gabba De Kock. In all three games, De Kock led from the front and put his body on the line. He performed exceptionally well on Saturday and was a well-deserved recipient after winning the same accolade last year.
The final award was the Speights Trophy awarded to Paterson. The young fullback already had displayed his attacking prowess for Buller however his defence through the three-game series was eye catching, saving tries and putting his body on the line at every opportunity.
The club and representative season have now concluded for 2020. Duncan signaled his sincere thanks to the sponsors of Buller rugby. He also added “the season can be defined as successful; we got through a JAB campaign and Senior season; the Heartland results were a material when we put this programme together. We were keen to get players some experience at this level and we have certainly achieved that.” The challenge for this young group was to now identify the rigors of Heartland rugby. To go and be leaders at club level and be ready for a 2021 national campaign next year.