Wales Dragonhearts honoured at awards night

Wales Dragonhearts were honoured at the South Wales Scorpions’ second annual presentation night at The Gnoll on Saturday where a full house of 120 turned up to see awards given to three major sides in the area.

Joining the Scorpions were players from Wales Dragonhearts and Crusaders under 18s as another successful year of development in South Wales was celebrated.

The Scorpions may have failed to reach the play-offs but they played exciting Rugby League, scored 97 tries in Championship 1 and fielded nine first team regulars aged 21 or under

Wales Dragonhearts, arguably Wales’ most successful international side in any sport, were celebrating their eighth Home Nations title in ten years after again beating England, Scotland and Ireland.

The Dragonhearts have produced 28 professional Rugby League players during that time and the 2003 team is also memorable for being current Wales rugby union star Richard Hibbard’s first open age international recognition just before he joined the Ospreys.

Crusaders under 18s continued to bring talented youngsters through the ranks, some of whom played professional first team rugby for Crusaders or Scorpions in 2011, and recorded some notable wins including a memorable 46-20 defeat of Warrington Wolves in Caerphilly.

The youngsters were rewarded first with Rhys Watkins taking two awards, the Coach’s and Players’ Player of the Year, while Osian Phillips won the Most Improved Player of the Year.

The Wales Dragonhearts players had their caps presented to them and also gave out two awards. Dale Tucker from Newport Titans won Young Player of the Year and Richard Brooks from Bonymaen Broncos (pictured receiving his award from Janet Ryder) was Player of the Year.

For South Wales Scorpions, the Crusaders dual registered player Rhodri Lloyd, who only recently turned 18, was Young Player of the Year – his remarkable rise continuing after becoming Wales’ youngest ever full international player in 2010. Coach’s Player of the Year was won by Christiaan Roets while Steve Parry took the Supporters’ Player of the Year.

The final award of the night, Players’ Player of the Year, was a battle between four players in the voting system before Andrew Gay eventually came out on top.

Scorpions’ chairman Phil Davies said: “It was wonderful to celebrate another productive year of Rugby League in South Wales together at The Gnoll. We at the Scorpions built on existing foundations last year and had some memorable games scoring plenty of tries. The success of the Dragonhearts and the growth of the under 18s also shows how much good work is being done at all levels in South Wales to build Rugby League. We’re building well for the future. Well done to all of the winners and here’s to a successful 2012.”