LEIGH Centurions celebrating four awards on Tuesday at the prestigious Kingstone Press Championships awards dinner at the Midland Hotel, Manchester.
Martyn Ridyard scooped the major award of the evening when he was chosen as Kingstone Press Championship Player of the Year. Ridyard has already scored over 300 points for the Centurions this season and during the year became only the fifth player in Leigh’s history to score 1,000 career points for the club.
Halfback partner Ryan Brierley was Kingstone Press Young Player of the Year for the second year running after another highly successful season. Brierley is Leigh’s top try-scorer with 42 tries (the third highest seasonal tally in Leigh’s history) but also tops the assists table for tries created and has been ever-present.
Centurions Chairman Mike Norris was also honoured to collect two awards as Leigh Centurions were also awarded the Kingstone Press Championship Club of the Year and the Kingstone Press Championships Foundation of the Year after a successful year both on and off the pitch. The latter award was previously known as the Community Club of the Year and RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer explained to the audience that the award was specifically one to the club, recognising the successful Heritage Project, the work of Jason Donohue in successfully forming Leigh Centurions Players Association and other successful community initiatives.
The only disappointment was that Rowley missed out on the Championship Coach of the Year despite Leigh lifting the League Leaders Shield, reaching the grand final and seeing his side defeated in only two games- one to eventual winners Leeds Rhinos in the quarter-final of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup in a season where the club broke many of its records achieving its most successful season in its history. That award went to Doncaster’s Paul Cooke.
Leigh Centurions head of rugby Derek Beaumont said: “I’d like to congratulate Martyn and Ryan on their deserved awards.
“They really enjoyed the evening and are a credit to themselves and our club.
“Whilst congratulating Paul Cooke on his award I also sympathise with Paul on missing out despite having overseen such an excellent season. Paul knows how highly regarded he is by the club, the players and most importantly the fans where he is a real winner. It is a mark of the standing of the club at the current time that we were awarded Club of the Year.
“Finally, it was a fitting end to the amazing year of the Heritage Project and I know that Mike Latham was honoured to accept the award along with Mike Norris. This was especially pleasing to see Mike’s immense amount of work rewarded in such a way. I would also like to thank Hannah and Heather of Leigh Community Trust along with Jason from the Players Association, without whose hard work and determination the event would never have been achieved.
“The award was also deserved recognition for the work of Stuart Littler of the Centurions Foundation in the community with specific mention made of the success of the tag rugby which he has delivered in an excellent manner, spreading the word of the game and the club to our children; and also to Steve Openshaw and Andy Mazey in particular for all the work they did in organising the Reserves team games on the road around the community clubs which was enjoyed by all.
“Our job is now to continue to build on this success to take the club to even greater heights. We will be looking to make an annual event of the Heritage Day such was its impact on the club.”