Mariner’s Head Coach Hillan Worthy Winner of Soapy Watson Award
The day after the night before would be so different to what Soapy Watson would remember. Having received the award that bares Soapy’s name Paul ‘George’ Hillan will make the final team talk to his Mariner’s side before they kick off in front of packed and loud Kneller Hall. The fact that the event occurs at all is partly due to Soapy Watson’s vision and drive. He will look down on the final match of the twentieth Inter Service Veteran’s tournament well satisfied as to how the championship has developed and also appreciative of the calm, understated skills, the energy and the desire that Paul ‘George’ Hillan has brought to the role of Mariners Head Coach.
As part of the Mariner’s coaching team last year and Head Coach this season, Hillan has been responsible for an evolution in the Mariners team. Off the field he has brought through an array of new talent whilst on the pitch he has melded them in to an effective team capable of defending with intensity and attacking with both power and flair. The way the Mariners backline, this season, have delivered through an ever widening repertoire of moves is a testament to the former prop’s grasp and understanding of the Game.
When he received the award on Friday night from Maggie Alphonsi MBE, the World Cup winning England International, the final and most important game of the season had yet to be played. However the Soapy Watson award is not for success on the field. Its ten previous recipients all share a common quality. They have all given of themselves for the benefit of others through the enjoyment of rugby and of course Navy Rugby in particular. In this Paul Hillan is no different and irrespective of the final result against the Army Masters at Kneller Hall his peers and the wider supporters of Royal Navy Rugby have deservedly acknowledged his contribution.
Article by Geraint Ashton Jones
Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones