Hornets mark successful season with club dinner and presentation night

Hornets v Sidmouth. Matt Cornish scoring for Hornets.

Hornets v Sidmouth. Matt Cornish scoring for Hornets. - Credit: Archant

Hornets celebrated a very successful season with a weekend of celebrations at The Nest.

HORNETS Rugby Club marked a very successful season for the club with a weekend of celebrations at The Nest.

Close to 200 club members attended the club dinner and presentation night and the marquee was put to great use on Sunday when the festivities continued with the NestFest.

Both events were major successes, NestFest, an informal music festival event was attended by a large crowd who enjoyed a day of music and celebration involving four local bands.

The event was headlined by the Sugar Coated Love Monkeys, ably supported by Three Points of Contact, Moderation Duo and Interlude. All four acts put on great shows and the club would like to thank them all for making the event such a success.

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The 52nd annual club dinner saw a more formal celebration of the great rugby that has been played across the club during a season which saw the first team promoted to National League 3 for the first time in the club’s history.

The evening kicked off with an opening speech from Danny Wilson, the newly-appointed forwards coach at Bristol Rugby. Danny is a former player and coach at Hornets, who has built a successful coaching career via Scarlets and the Welsh National squad, before his recent appointment at Bristol.

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Danny complimented the club on its success over recent seasons and said how impressed he was with the current leadership at the club and the coaching system that has been put in place by the first team coaches, Alec Chase and Jack Gadd.

He went on to toast the club and said his new role would give him the opportunity to continue and build upon his long association with Hornets, something he was looking forward to and something that should benefit Hornets going forward.

Following dinner, which was superbly orchestrated by John Brennan and his team, each team provided a summary of their season and made presentations to members of their team.

First up was Dave Jones for the third team. He reported on an enjoyable and successful season and awarded the player of the year to Paul Sheppard and players’ player to Sam Parker.

Mark Sheridan provided a summary of the second team season which had seen a young, but inexperienced squad just miss out on promotion for the second season in a row.

With a significant number of the Colts team making senior debuts during the season, the second team is well placed to continue their progress up the leagues in the coming seasons.

The player of the year and players’ player was awarded to Mark Whatley, a decision clearly popular throughout the club.

Next were the Colts. Andy Francis and Jon Richardson reported on another massively successful season for the team that again saw them dominate all local opposition, win the Somerset Cup at a canter and narrowly miss out on their previous year’s success at national level.

This year sees an end of an era for Andy and Jon who have steered the current side to become one of the leading age group sides in the country over recent seasons. This success and the team that has been built should prove to be a massive contributing factor in the ongoing success of the senior squads in the years to come.

The coaches paid tribute to many of the players who have starred for them over the recent years and to popular acclaim, skipper Alex Colborne was awarded both player of the year and players’ player of the year, who is setting off for a new adventure at the University in Canada.

First team captain Sean Kent summarised the most successful season in the team’s history. Having being promoted last year into South West One, Hornets had and lost three of their first five games.

However, once they found their bearings, a combination of strong forward play and the most exciting backline in the league, saw them slip up only once more throughout the season and they ended up winning the league convincingly.

Kent gave special mention to Alec Chase, Courtney Harris and Sean Disney, who appeared in every league match and to the coaches, Chase and Gadd, who had been instrumental in the preparation and success of the team throughout the season.

Kent also recognised Jermaine Jones, who with 231 points was the team’s leading points’ scorer and Matt Cornish, the leading try scored with 26.

He went on to award both the first team player of the year and players’ player to Matt Cornish.

With the awards drawing to a close, it was left to chairman Paul Davidson, who has led the club impressively through this successful period, to present the coaches’ award for commitment to Dan Elliott and then the main presentation of the night of clubman of the year to Sean Kent for his leadership of the side.

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