Wales Rugby League recently celebrated the achievements of staff and volunteers at half-time during the Wales under 18 international at The Gnoll in Neath.
From a short list of nominees, awards were handed out to the Coach of the Year, Children’s Coach of the Year, Unsung Hero, Volunteer of the Year and Volunteer Coordinator. A WRL judging panel sifted through nominations that came in from across the organisation.
The award for Coach of the Year went to Craig Fox a former WRL Community Coach who was nominated for his success as Head Coach of Wales Dragonhearts for won the 2011 Conference Four Nations title and a Grand Slam, and he also coached Bridgend Blue Bulls to the WRL Conference Premier title with an undefeated season.
The award for Children’s Coach of the Year went to Rob Davies, the WRL Community Coach who was nominated for hard work and commitment to establish the Torfaen Tigers Junior Section and winning the UK Champion Schools Year 8 title with St Josephs RC School.
The award for Unsung Hero went to Wayne Ponting who was nominated for his commitment to WRL, where he would volunteer his time at such short notice. He was Wales under 16s team manager, regional performance coach and any other role that was needed throughout the year.
The award for Volunteer of the Year went to Mike Clift who was nominated for his tireless work with the Panthers RLFC based in Pontyclun, who had a very successful junior season at all age groups.
Andy Birchall, the Stadium announcer at the game, was then surprised to be presented with the award of Volunteer Coordinator of the Year for his organisational skills at South Wales Scorpions and Wales Rugby League events in 2011.
Mark Jones, Wales Rugby League Development Manager, said: “Wales Rugby League are delighted to have held the Staff and Volunteer Awards at a showcase game in such an excellent venue. The awards recognise the dedication and commitment of our staff and volunteers to delivering high quality services. It’s great for the individuals who received an award and for the whole organisation to recognise the hard work they put in every day”.