ROCKS REVIEW: Heartache forgotten as fans hail their heroes

editorial image

THEIR season might have ended in heartbreak, but you wouldn’t have known it at the Rocks’ end-of-season awards night.

They missed the title by one goal and lost their chance of promotion in the play-offs, but the mood was one of celebration as players, fans and management looked back on a season which was filled with goals and victories.

The big winner of the night was central defender Tim Bond, even if it didn’t look like it would be. He was called up to receive the player of the month trophy for April and May ... only to be told the winner was in fact one-man goal machine Jason Prior.

But that only delayed Bond’s moment in the spotlight, for he was later revealed as the supporters’ club player of the year and players’ player of the year.

Bond’s double triumph marked a season in which he hardly missed a game and hardly put a foot wrong in the heart of defence.

There was a nice touch when the Terry Seabourne Memorial Trophy for most improved player went to the whole squad – a fitting reward for a team who had turned years of relegation battles into a title push.

Midfielder James Fraser won the goal of the season award for his late equaliser against Hampton & Richmond in the FA Trophy which he curled into the top corner after beating a defender on the edge of the box. Prior also picked up the trophy for being leading scorer – he scored 44 in all.

Skipper Michael Birmingham picked up the Chairman’s Cup from supporters’ club supremo Sarah Warwick for his leadership and inspiration.

The Sportsman’s Trophy is given to someone who plays a vital part in the running of the club and this year it went to Brian Quinnell, who heads the team of groundsman who keep the Nyewood Lane pitch in immaculate condition.

There were two special awards handed out – one for management duo Darin Killpartrick and Jamie Howell, the other for Luke Nightingale after he scored his 100th goal for the club.

Also honoured were Maureen and Garry Grant as they step down after years as supporters’ club secretary and Rocks megastore manager respectively.