Royal Navy Rugby Union Awards

After a successful season, the RN Senior XV squad held its annual end of season players' dinner in Windsor. During the evening the Chairman of the RNRU, Cdre Rob Thompson RN, presented the ‘Player of the Year' award and also the ‘Newcomer of the Year' award.

Four players were nominated for the RNRU Player of the Year Award, the ‘Cossack Sword Trophy'.  Former selector Capt Leigh Merrick RN presented this trophy, an original Cossack sword, to the Union for ‘ground gained and held'.  The award is highly valued as only players within the Senior XV squad are eligible to vote, so it is a clear acknowledgement of the winner's contribution to the team throughout the season, decided by his peers.  The 4 nominees this year were: Cpl Greg Barden (RM Poole), POAET Marsh Cormack (RNAS Culdrose), POAET Dave Pascoe (RNAS Culdrose) and ET(ME) Dale Sleeman (HMS Cumberland).  Following a number of stand out performances, not least of which was in Toulon against la Marine Nationale, and in both Inter Services matches, the winner for 2010 was Marsh Cormack.  Marsh becomes the first player within the RNRU to win this award for a second time.

Marsh Cormack receives the Cossack Sword from RNRU Chairman, Cdr Rob Thompson

Previous winners of the Cossack Sword are: Cpl Calum MacRae; LPT Andrew 'Les' Dennis; POAET Dave Pascoe; Mne Rob Lloyd; Cpl Greg Barden; AET Marsh Cormack; PO Nick Bartlett; Mne Jim Williams; Cpl Andy Perry; CSgt Bob Armstrong.

Marsh in action against the Army

A new award for this season was the ‘Proud Heritage, Exciting Future' award for the best player who had broken into the RNRU squad during the season.  Again there were 4 nominations and it was down to the players to vote for the winner.  The nominations were Mne Mike Egglestone (45 Cdo RM), Capt Stu McLaren RM (RMR Bristol), Mne Mark Owen (42 Cdo RM) and ET(ME) Dale Sleeman (HMS Cumberland).  The first winner of this award was Dale Sleeman for his sustained level of performance from the Commonwealth Cup back in October through to the Army v Navy at Twickenham in May.

Dale Sleeman puts in another crunching tackle 

At the Army v Navy weekend, 2 more awards were presented: the RN Women's Player of the Inter Services, the ‘Roger Sherratt Trophy' and the RNRU award for 'Support to Navy Rugby', the ‘Soapy Watson Memorial Trophy.'

The Roger Sherratt Trophy was inaugurated last season in memory of Roger, a supporter and first ever sponsor of RN Women's Rugby from its inception. The winner is chosen for her outstanding contribution to the team during the Inter Services competition, which is ultimately also recognition of her consistent performance throughout the season. This year's winner was AB CIS Sarah Simms (HMS Ark Royal), who was presented with her award by the trophy's sponsor, Mrs Dee Sherratt, and the outgoing RN Women's Chairman, Lt Cdr Paula Rowe.

Sarah Simms packs down against the Army 


The Soapy Watson Memorial Trophy is presented in memory of former RN Veteran and Senior XV Team Manager WO Soapy Watson, who was also a mainstay of Command and Establishment level rugby. This year's winner was Mr Dave Wakefield (HMS Collingwood) in recognition of his huge contribution as Kit Manager for the Senior XV, which has also encompassed the oversight of all kit-related matters for the 5 RN Representative sides. It is a just reward for all his hard work in what can often be a rather thankless task.

Dave Wakefield receives the Soapy Watson Award from RNRU President, RAdm Neil Morisetti