RUGBY: England star Corry guest at Old Laurentians dinner and awards

Double award winnr Troy Owen with guest speaker Martin Corry
Double award winnr Troy Owen with guest speaker Martin Corry

Troy Owen is Player of the Year after another outstanding season

On a perfect May evening last Friday with Fenley Field looking at its best, over 125 Old Laurentian RFC members celebrated the season just ended at their annual dinner and awards night.

Luke Townsend was top points scorer and Under 23 Player of the Year

Luke Townsend was top points scorer and Under 23 Player of the Year

Guest of honour and main speaker was Martin Corry, the former Leicester, England and British Lions player.

The catering for the event, up to its usual high standard, was in the hands of Rob Bean and team and MC David Middleton kept affairs moving briskly through the evening, writes Bill Wallis.

The 1st XV’s season, after promising so much half way through, ended in the anti-climax of fifth place in Midlands 2 East, a reflection of the previous year’s campaign after coming down from Midlands 1.

But the fare laid on for supporters was invariably entertaining, with 106 tries scored for an average of more than four per game.

Responsible for 18 of those tries and winning both the leading points scorer and Under 23 Player of the Year awards was Luke Townsend, an outstanding achievement in his first season of 1st team rugby. Perhaps the most rousing reception of the night was reserved for Ray Smith when he collected the award for Veteran of the Year, making 16 appearances at prop for the 1st XV at a stage in his rugby playing career when he would otherwise have been perfectly content with 2nd or 3rd team rugby.

The fact that the 3rd XV played 20 games in the season, a figure that would have been greater but for opposition cry offs, was down in large part to the fine efforts and hard work of Barry Hipwell, who deservedly collected the coveted Clubman of the Year award.

The players in the 3rd XV elected Steve Reese as their Player of the Year; and Sam Miles was selected by his peers as 2nd XV Player of the Year.

John Barratt was selected as the club’s Most Improved Player, due reward for an outstanding season for the prop forward.

Invariably in the seasonal honours parade is Andrew Orbinson, who was voted in as Player of the Year by his fellow 1st XV players; and Mike Walsh won recognition for his efforts as the Newcomer of the Year.

The most prestigious award that the club has to offer is Player of the Year and after another outstanding season for the centre three-quarter this honour went to Troy Owen; and he won the vote of the club’s supporters as their top player, a notable double for this most consistent of performers.