Summers’ star shines the brightest at rugby awards

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Young skipper Tom Summers scooped the First Team Player of the Year award at Sudbury Rugby Club’s gala dinner on Saturday night.

The 20-year-old fly-half was recognised for stepping up to captain the side during a difficult season for Suds, where they just survived relegation to the Greene King IPA Eastern Counties League.

The presentation evening was held at the Whittome Field club just days before the London League Three North East side were back on the pitch for their first official pre-season training session on Tuesday.

Summers also walked off with Graham Richards’ Coaches’ Player of the Year award from the night which saw more than 100 people pack out the clubhouse.

He said: “I put him in as captain as a youngster at a difficult time in the club’s history and he took the pressure off others and grew with it, learning a lot as a rugby player and an individual as a consequence.”

Joe Birmingham was awarded Most Committed Player, with the 21-year-old primary hooker having not missed a training session and played a number of positions when required, even playing on through injury when numbers were short.

Ross Wardrop, also 21, won the Players’ Player of the Year.

Richards said of the tight-head prop: “He stuck to it and never shirked over the season when the scrum was under pressure.”

Bart Minter’s mental and physical toughness saw him awarded the Man of Steel gong, while there was a special presentation made to second-team player Preston Currie after announcing his retirement after 48 years of rugby, 25 of them with Sudbury.

Hedingham School flanker Will Levitt won the Second Team Player of the Year award and Richards believes it won’t be long before he is challenging for a first-team place.

“He is a youngster who has shown a lot of enthusiasm and was the top try scorer with the second team as well and was very deserving of the award,” he said.

Sudbury’s players will be involved in two fitness sessions a week (Monday and Wednesdays) and two rugby sessions (Tuesdays and Thursdays) as they build towards the 2013/14 season which starts with a home game with Wymondham (3pm) on September 14, where there will be a pre-match lunch.

Richards will be using his qualifications as a kettlebell (Mondays) and boxercise (Wednesdays) instructor for the fitness sessions, with members of the public able to pay £2.50 a session to join in from 7pm.

He will also be leading a family fitness session (boys and girls must be over 11 years old) on Mondays from 6pm.

A memorial match in memory of former Sudbury player Josh Rix, who died last year from a seizure, will take place against Hadleigh at Whittome Field on August 23.

The fixture will then rotate between being hosted at Hadleigh and Sudbury on an annual basis.

Following their appearance in the club’s Touch Rugby Tournament as Suffolk Sabres, Sudbury are looking for a coach for a girls team to play on Sundays.

Anyone interested in speaking about it, or anyone who wants more information on the fitness sessions at the club, is asked to call Graham Richards on: 07808 299179.