PICTURE SPECIAL: Awards shared around at Rocks’ big night

It was a year in which plenty of Rocks players turned in displays that would have made them worthy winners of the supporters’ player of the season award.

But in the final reckoning, it was ever-present goalkeeper Grant Smith who got the vote.

Grant Smith receives the supporters' player of the season award from David Seabourne / Picture by Tim Hale

Grant Smith receives the supporters' player of the season award from David Seabourne / Picture by Tim Hale

Smith beat off competition from the likes of Jason Prior, Dan Beck and Sami El-Abd to land the biggest prize of all at the club’s presentation night, held last Friday at Seasons clubhouse and superbly put together by the supporters’ club. See Tim Hale’s pictures from the night in our gallery, above.

Prior did not go unheralded for a season in which his 45 goals helped fire the Rocks to success in the FA Trophy, FA Cup and Sussex Senior Cup as well as their second-place finish in the Ryman premier, which led to a play-off defeat to Dulwich.

The skipper picked up three separate awards – one for ending as leading scorer and others for chalking up 200 appearances and 150 goals in his Nyewood Lane career.

Alfie Rutherford won the Terry Seabourne Trophy, which goes to the best young and improving player.

Smith beat off competition from the likes of Jason Prior, Dan Beck and Sami El-Abd to land the biggest prize of all at the club’s presentation night.

Defender El-Abd, a rocks at the back from the first game til the last, won the Chairman’s Trophy awarded by supporters’ club chief Sarah Warwick, while Beck was named players’ player of the year.

Long-serving James Crane was presented with two awards – one for scoring the goal of the season, his stunning winner against Altrincham in the Trophy, and another for passing the milestone of 300 games in a Rocks shirt.

Others given ‘milestone’ awards were Beck, who has passed the 300-games mark, and Ollie Pearce and Harvey Whyte, both of who have now played 100 games for the club.

Also given annually is the Sportsman’s Trophy, which goes to a person whose work behind the scenes helps the club prosper.

This year that went to Dave Robinson, who works hard to raise money for the supporters’ club and the club itself and is a key organiser of everything from fans’ coach travel to away games to the sportsman’s dinner nights which have proved popular and a good money-spinner.

There were even special awards for the club’s ball-boys, one of whom is Harry Howell, son of manager Jamie.

The evening, attended by around 200 fans, saw Howell senior praise players and fans for a memorable season and say his only regret was that it ended without them winning a cup or gaining promotion.

His sentiments were echoed by coach Darin Killpartrick, and the management now hope to keep the squad together for another stab at glory next season.

STEVE BONE

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