Gala awards dinner recognises Ulster hockey success

Chloe Brown of Ards HC, Women's Player of the Year and Phillip Brown of Banbridge HC, Men's Player of the Year with Angela Platt, Chief Executive Officer UHU, Billy Stewart, President of the Ulster Hockey Union and Ann Rosa, incoming President of the UHU
Chloe Brown of Ards HC, Women's Player of the Year and Phillip Brown of Banbridge HC, Men's Player of the Year with Angela Platt, Chief Executive Officer UHU, Billy Stewart, President of the Ulster Hockey Union and Ann Rosa, incoming President of the UHU

The annual Ulster Hockey awards were handed out at a glittering awards ceremony at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast on Friday night.

The two main individual award winners were Philip Brown and Chloe Brown.

Banbridge defender Philip Brown was awarded the Men’s Player of the Year accolade for his key role at the heart of the Banbridge defence throughout the season helping them finish second in the Men’s Premier League Keightly Cup behind Lisnagarvey, reach the Quarter-Finals of the Irish Senior Cup and the Final of the Irish Hockey League unfortunately missing out to Monkstown on both occasions.

His efforts within the club are not just confined to the pitch as he is a willing volunteer within the clubhouse. His level of performances this season was recognised within the club with him being awarded the Supporters Player of the Year and the 1st XI Player of the Year as selected by the 1st XI Management Team. Brown was also rewarded with selection in Craig Fulton’s Irish Senior squad for tests against England and the Champions Challenge I in Kuatan, Malaysia.

Meanwhile Chloe Brown was honoured with The Walker-McCrory Cup (Women’s Player of the Year) in recognition of a fantastic season with Ards Ladies. She helped lead her side to the Denman Ulster Shield title, finishing second in the Ulster Premier League behind Pegasus and also won the Irish Indoor Championships and European Indoor Club Championship III title in Budapest, where Chloe was named Player of the Tournament scoring 22 goals in the process.

Personality of the Year was Robbie Taylor. An ex-Irish International with over 100 caps as a player and into his second year in coaching Newry Hockey Club, Taylor has enjoyed an impressive season at the helm of the border club guiding the club to an elusive treble gaining promotion to the Ulster Premier League for the 2014/15 Season in the process. With the Ireland Saturday Night Cup, Linden Cup and Irish Hockey Trophy sitting in the trophy cabinet, Robbie can be extremely pleased with the performances put in by his players over the season.

The Hall Cup (Personality of the Year for Women) was presented to Lurgan College coach, Julie Hinds who guided her school to the cup double this season winning the Belfast Telegraph Senior Schools Cup beating Rainey Endowed in a tight final and the All Ireland Kate Russell title for the second year in a row. With a young squad, Julie’s coaching and nurturing of her players ensured that Lurgan exceeded their expectations this season to complete the double.

The Top Goalscorer award went to Timothy Cockram who scored 58 goals across all competitions playing a vital role in Lisnagarvey’s title winning campaign helping to seal their 36th Keightly Cup title. Having been absent for a period due to other commitments, Cockram returned to the Irish Senior Squad for a 4 Nations tournament in Spain due to his goal scoring repertoire and impressed in the game against Russia scoring a hat-trick in 13 minutes. An impressive stat for this prolific forward – Cockram set a new goalscoring record in the Men’s Premier League scoring EIGHT against Mossley back in March.

He finished ahead of Banbridge and Cookstown forwards, Stephen Dowds and Greg Allen who scored 46 and 25 goals respectively. The Duke Cup for Top Goalscorer in the Women’s was presented to Pegasus forward, Vanessa Surgeoner who notched up 30 goals to help her club win the Ulster Premier League title for the sixth time in seven years. Due to her form and performances over the 2013-14 Season, Vanessa earned her first cap for the Irish Senior Squad in Spain back in January 2014.

This year’s Winifred Templeton Award was awarded to Mary Martin from Portadown Hockey Club. Mary has been involved in her club for over 60 years, playing from 1952 until 1965 and becoming President of Portadown Hockey Club from 1984 until 1999. For well over 30 years, Mary has been an active Committee member being responsible for encouraging other volunteers to help with fundraising and arrangement when the club played in Ulster, Irish and European competitions.

For her services to Portadown she was awarded with the Mayor’s Award for Community Service in November 2013 and still continues to help with the club she has been with for many years.

The Fair Play Award was deservedly handed to Mossley Men’s Hockey Club who demonstrated fair play and the best disciplinary record throughout the 2013-2014 Season. The George Blower Trophy for Excellence in Schoolboys Hockey was awarded to Wallace High School for winning the McCullough Cup and the Sintons at the Bridge Burney Cup this season.

Ulster Hockey umpires were also congratulated with four awards presented to recognise the most improved in both men’s and women’s umpiring and also outstanding contributions to umpiring in Ulster.

The evening came to a close with Mossley Men’s and Women’s Hockey Clubs being awarded the coveted “Club of the Year” accolade. Part of the success was down to the superb hosting of the U16/U18 Boys Interpros and the U21 4 Nations event in February 2014 which included Ireland, Scotland, England and the U21 World Champions, Germany.

Alongside their fantastic hosting ability, Mossley Men and Women enjoyed success on the pitch this season with the men winning the Anderson Plate competition while the women secured the double by winning Senior 4 and the Junior Plate. Credit must also be given to the work carried out with their youth sections with the boys and girls enjoying plenty of success in underage leagues and cup competitions.

A massive thank you must go to MC for the evening, Denise Watson who done a fantastic job over the course of the evening and to the Ramada Hotel for their organisation and smooth running of the evening. Also a huge thank you to the Ulster Hockey sponsors and to the media who have played an extremely important part in the development of Ulster Hockey over the past season.

Credit must be given to all clubs, schools, players and volunteers who help make the sport the enjoyable, fast paced sport it has become. We look forward to an exciting 2014-15 campaign with the prospect of further glory and success for Ulster Hockey and our affiliated clubs and schools.