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In his opening address to a large gathering, Past President John Churchman paid tribute to the late President, Adrian Normanton (Niz), who died in February and to the tremendous amount of work Niz had put into the Club and the YRFU over more than three decades. John also referred to the other sad loss of former Committee member and Colts Organiser, Peter Lodge, who passed away in January.

John went on to congratulate all players on one of the Club’s most successful seasons in recent times. The 1st XV had gained promotion to Yorkshire League 3 after losing only two matches so far this season with three games still to play. The second team had also lost only two games and scored almost 1,000 points with the 3rd XV having had its most successful season for over ten years.

In concluding, John welcomed guests Keith Dyas, Past President of Yorkshire RFU, Paul Whatmuff, President of Otley RFC, Mike Ramsden and John Fisher of the YRFU Referees Society, Joe Robinson, Captain of PHGS 1st XV and Derek Smith, the Club referee.

The Reg Marshall Trophy for the player who had contributed most both on and off the field was presented to 3rd XV skipper Alan Garnett.

Coach Gary Walker praised the players of all three teams for their successful seasons and said it was pleasing to see that members of all sides were willing to step in and play for other teams, often at short notice. Gary also thanked the numerous stalwart volunteers who worked hard to ensure the smooth running of the Club week in week out. Before presenting the players’ trophies, Gary stressed that the task next season in the higher league would be considerable, but he had confidence that the players would rise to the challenge.

Gary presented the following trophies: Players of the Year: 1st XV – Peter Bonner, 2nd XV – Darren Cooley, 3rd XV - Andy Wood. Newcomer of the Year – Simon Hill, Young Player of the Year – Ross Myers, Most Improved Player of the Year – Lee O’Donnell and Student Player of the Year – James Duggan.

Past Yorkshire President Keith Dyas, as organiser of the Yorkshire competitions, expressed his determination to keep all competitions going, despite the fixture congestion which seemed to be more and more of a problem these days. He congratulated ‘Ensians on a successful season and ended by proposing a toast to the Yorkshire Rugby Union and to Old Otliensians.

Comedian Max Pressure then entertained the gathering with lively stories and good humour and John Churchman rounded off the evening by thanking everyone for making it such a successful occasion.

Footnote: John Churchman is organising a “former players” event on Sat., 12th April at noon and the Club will be running its “Pub Sevens” on 26th April – contact John Harrison, Tel. 01943 465450