Beccles reflect on season with Quinnell

BECCLES Rugby Club held their gentlemen's dinner at the King's Head in Beccles recently.Former Wales and Lions number eight Scott Quinell was there to perform the after-dinner speech and to present the awards.

BECCLES Rugby Club held their gentlemen's dinner at the King's Head in Beccles recently.

Former Wales and Lions number eight Scott Quinell was there to perform the after-dinner speech and to present the awards.

Scott Quinell entertained the players with stories of his days playing professional rugby. He signed autographs and had pictures taken with the players before presenting the seasons awards at the end of the night.

The first award was for the second team player of the year. Captain Owen Hadridge reflected on the success the team has had this year, finishing second in the Norfolk Merit 2 League.

The second-team player of the year was Ben Veasy-Lark who has performed well for the team as well as breaking into the first team squad.

The young player of the year was Gavin Hewitt who has also broken in to the first team squad this year. This included two man-of-the-match performances from the substitute's bench.

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The most improved player of the year was John Hoffman who has also come in to the first team and made to position of wing his own.

The clubman of the year award went to Keith Johnstone for his work as club secretary, press officer and website manager.

The award for top try scorer went to the club's Australian import Dillon Rowney who finished the season with 13 tries.

The final award of the evening, the players' player of the year, went to another of the club's imported players - New Zealander Sam Williamson who has performed excellently in the centre for the club this year, scoring seven tries and creating countless others.

Beccles started the season well and kicked off the campaign with two home wins and an away draw. They then lost for the only time at home to eventual league winners Colchester.

Beccles continued to win at home in until December but struggled to find that first away win. They were unlucky not to win in their first ever league trip to Ipswich where they were narrowly beaten 8-3.

Beccles had been without a coach throughout the start of the season but when Ian Rees took over the position the Beccles performance went up a gear.

They beat Wymondham at home before winning two weeks running at Crusaders once in the league and once in the cup.

The next six weeks saw some of the best results in the clubs history. They started with their first ever win against Ipswich (14-10) followed by a win against Upminster. They then travelled to Colchester and became the only side to win there all season with a 22-18 win.

The following weekend Beccles had to play twice. They hammered West Norfolk 46-8 in the league on the Saturday before upsetting North Walsham, a side playing three leagues higher than Beccles, in the Norfolk Cup (17-10) on the Sunday.

This put Beccles in to the Norfolk Cup final for the first time for over 20 years. They faced the in-form Diss team. Beccles came back from two early tries to be leading at half-time.

However, Diss were able to show their class and pull clear in the second half.

Beccles had been in the promotion race till quite late in the season but their away from was letting them down. After a dramatic late comeback at home to Basildon, where Beccles score 31 points in the last 15 minutes Beccles had to travel to South Woodham Ferrers and win to secure third spot. They went down to Essex and put in an excellent performance to inflict South Woodham's only home defeat by 27-11.

Third spot was the best ever finish by a Beccles side. Next season they will be looking to take it one step further and win promotion to London Division Three.

If the players continue to put in the hard work and they continue to receive the excellent touchline support they have had all of this season that could become a reality.

The club's annual meeting is on May 29 at the Sports and Social Club so could all members make an effort to attend.