Braintree rugby club’s successful season is celebrated in style at awards night

Braintree club chairman Barrie Winwood, left, with captain John Smillie present 1st XV Player of the

Braintree club chairman Barrie Winwood, left, with captain John Smillie present 1st XV Player of the Year to Craig Willis. - Credit: Archant

Braintree Rugby Club held their Annual Awards and Dinner Dance and this year there was plenty to celebrate.

Braintree claimed the Essex 1 Premier League winning all 22 League games plus the President’s Shield in a thrilling final against Maldon running out 39-35 winners.

Going undefeated in the League is unprecedented in the club’s history and the double made it even better. In all, 38 players represented the 1st XV, playing some scintillating rugby and scoring 1,127 points, an average 43.5 points per game.

In recognition of the fact that it is not just the players who made this possible, the Senior Coaching team were awarded the Outstanding Achievement award.

Club Captain John Smillie was awarded the Clubman of the Year for his enthusiasm on and off the pitch, joining the Academy for fitness training, and his willingness to lend a hand in club activities.

The most promising Academy player award went to Henry Irving, who just recently played his first games of senior rugby, having come up through the junior section.

The 2nd XV had a successful year reaching two finals, the John Alder 2nd XV Trophy and the Merit League 2 Plate.

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In all 66 players played for the 2nd XV fulfilling all but one of their fixtures. Most appearances was Luke Markey with 24, Dan Olley scored the most points with 53, Joss Adams with the most tries with seven. The 2nd XV Player of the Year award went to Neil Richards.

The Most Improved Player throughout the Club went to Wes Apps, whose game improved to the extent that he became one of the first names on the 1st XV team sheet.

Top try scorer for the 1st XV was James Abbott with 23 tries and Craig Willis received the 1st XV Player of the Year after an amazing season. He made more appearances for the 1st XV than anyone else playing 24 times scoring a massive 329 points.

Following a year of successes throughout the club, Braintree will be looking to improve again next season, and welcome all new players of any ability and age, from age four up to Vets. For further details email

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