Royal Navy Sport Awards 2013 – A good day for Royal Navy Rugby Union

The afternoon of Friday 29 November saw an outstanding result for Navy Rugby as three personnel won awards at the annual RN sports award ceremony, held in the wardroom at HMS Nelson.

For the first time ever the RNRU had 3 nominations; CPOET(AE) Dave Pascoe for Sportsman of the Year, AB(S) Tom Davies for Young Sportsman of the Year and WO2 Taff Wilcock for Official of the Year.  Unfortunately, due to Disaster Relief operations in the Philippines, onboard HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, AB Davies was unable to attend personally and WO2 Taff Wilcock was otherwise engaged as the RN U23 Team Manager at RAF Halton for the final U23 Inter Services.  Luckily, the RNRU were able to support with CPO Dave Pascoe in attendance along with the Chairman of Navy Rugby, Capt Chris Alcock RN.

Sportsman of the Year – Winner
CPO Pascoe is currently serving in 771 NAS, the frontline SAR unit based at RNAS Culdrose.  He first played for the RNRU Senior XV in 1999 as a young AEM and through hard work, dedication and personal sacrifice he has dovetailed a successful career with outstanding sporting achievements. Always ‘sailor first, rugby player second’, he has been a role model throughout his career for his peers. A combination of volunteering for operational deployments out of turn, conducting extra duties and sacrificing family time have all resulted in a highly professional technician and SNCO who has had an unprecedented representative rugby career.

He is the current captain of the Royal Navy Rugby Union Senior XV and his nomination comes on the back of his outstanding service to RN rugby over a 14 year period to date. He has represented the Royal Navy Rugby Union since 1999, playing in every season since. He is the second most capped player of all time (expected to become the most capped player of all time in 2014) and is the longest serving captain of the RNRU Senior XV is history (RNRU founded 1906) – a record of commitment, endurance, strength and self sacrifice that is unlikely to be surpassed.  For his outstanding display of professionalism, inspirational leadership and selflessness, Pascoe was awarded the RN Sportsman of the Year, becoming the first RNRU Snr XV player to win the award (Mne Greg Barden was runner-up in the Sportsman of the Year category in 2009).

Young Sportsman of the Year – Runner up
AB Tom Davies is currently serving onboard HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and has had an outstanding year with both the RN U23 squad, where he was Captain in the last IS competition and the senior squad, receiving his first cap in 2013.  Wholeheartedly committing himself to Navy Rugby he has gone from strength to strength, and having established his credentials as a player of some ability, his performance as captain this season has been most impressive. Taking the reins of a young squad lacking the direction and guidance commonly provided by a cohort of senior experienced players, he quickly set about moulding the squad into a team with a unified sense of purpose, commitment and high regard for the ethos of Navy rugby. Displaying strong leadership of the team, he has taken charge of the team both on and off the pitch to great effect, an impressive performance for one so junior.  Davies' development over the last few seasons has been a pleasure to witness, and it is in recognition of this outstanding performance, both on and off the pitch, that he has been awarded Runner Up, Young Sportsman of the Year award.  This is the first time that a member of the RNRU has been runner up for this prestigious award.

Official of the Year – Runner Up
WO2 Taff Wilcock is currently serving at MoD Abbeywood in SM support. His contribution to Navy rugby has been meteoric over the last year as RN U23 Team Manager(TM), CS U23 TM, Navy Sharks TM and also selection as the Senior XV TM for 2013/14 season.  He has brought an infectious enthusiasm to the squad and quickly established himself in the role having a thoroughly positive impact on the U23 setup. Through close and effective cooperation with the remainder of the U23 TSG, he was instrumental in drawing together an embryonic group of players and quickly forged them into a strong, spirited, and effective unit. Wilcock has been a revelation this season and has made an outstanding contribution to Navy rugby in a very short period of time. A most successful addition to the RNU23 and indeed to Navy Rugby, his selection as CSU23 team manager is a wholly appropriate reward for his outstanding efforts and performance to date. The Royal Navy Rugby Union are delighted that Taff has been recognised by the Royal Navy and awarded Runner Up, Sports Official of the Year.  The RNRU have had previous successes in this category: in 2009, Technical Analyst, Ash Coates was runner up, whilst RNRU Life Member, Geraint Ashton Jones, was a dual recipient of the award in 2004 (Refereeing) and 2011 (Coaching).

At the event, Capt Alcock commented “this afternoon was an impressive ceremony full of brilliant young Naval sports talent.  It is wonderful to see the RNRU win one award outright and to receive two runner-up awards; well done to all recipients”.


Images by Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones
Exceptions are as follows;
Image of VAdm P A Jones and Taff Wilcock © Crown Copyright
Image of RN Senior XV Captain Dave Pascoe with proud Mum.