Invincible Wetherby put up for three national rugby awards

Wetherby RUFC celebrate winning Yorkshire Four. (1503144AM5)
Wetherby RUFC celebrate winning Yorkshire Four. (1503144AM5)

Wetherby’s rugby club may have to clear more space in their trophy cabinet after their all-conquering achievements were shortlisted for three national honours.

Wetherby’s players have an evening date lined up at Twickenham lined up for September’s national rugby awards after the club was nominated as the best amateur side in the country.

Star player Connor Sheriden has been singled out as one of the best in the country after his 39 tries this season put him in contention for the player of the year gong.

Head coach Mike McHugh-Hicks, who has been hailed for transforming the Reds’ fortunes over the last two years, could add to the prize pot after he was put on a shortlist of six for the coach of the year prize.

McHugh-Hicks said: “To be singled out as a club that has gone above and beyond, nationally, it’s the things that dreams are made of.

“To be up for three different awards, it’s fantastic.”

The Reds won all 22 of their matches as they blitzed to promotion in Yorkshire Four this season.

The unbeaten stretch also transferred to the cup competitions as the Grange Parkers saw of a number of teams from the league above to win the Yorkshire Silver Trophy, culminating in a tense final victory over Northallerton 18-13 in May.

A selection panel has chosen those achievements amongst the best in club rugby.

“It’s quite surreal really.” said McHugh-Hicks.

“We are in three categories and there’s a one in six chance in each.

“I think what we have achieved is remarkable.

“We are right up there with one of the biggest achievements in the country.

“We have done all the hard work, and now it’s time to celebrate it.

“Awards are about celebrating what you have done so we will be taking as many people down to Twickenham.”

Fly-half Sheriden has been at the heart of Wetherby’s impeccable run, with his personal points haul almost topping 500 – more than some teams in the bottom half of the table.

McHugh-Hicks said: “He has improved so much on last season. At the start of the year we talked about him improving his goal kicking and how he executes the game plan.

“It’s certainly not just been about Connor but he’s had an exceptional season. He’s one of the best players I have ever worked with.

“If you’re scoring 39 tries in one season, and 500 points, which is more than some teams at the bottom of the league, it shows you are some player.”

McHugh-Hicks has been nominated for the coach gong after guiding the first team to their two titles and also the U17 boys to a Yorkshire League championship and the National Bowl final.

He said: “I was shocked and proud.

“For me to be nominated, it’s not just me, it’s all the staff at Wetherby, the board and everyone else.”