NAT Pepperell and Owen Irish were double award winners at Taunton Town’s presentation evening held in the clubhouse.
Club captain Irish was the inaugural recipient of the Ernie Price Memorial Cup, an award donated by Joyce Price in memory of her late husband Ernie who played for the club in the 1950s and 60s before becoming manager and later going on to become one its first directors.
Ernie’s son John and grandson Jamie have also worn the Town colours.
The new trophy will be given each year to a player for factors such as their reliability, their willingness to go the extra mile and their club spirit and passion.
Unfortunately the rescheduling of the presentation from a fortnight earlier meant a sizeable number of players were unable to attend the evening, the holidaying Irish included, so the cup was accepted on his behalf from Joyce by assistant manager Mo Hopkins. It was somewhat fitting that the first winner was Irish who was also recognised after reaching a milestone 150 appearances for the club during the past season along with Rodney Marsh.
Irish made his Town debut on November 29, 2008 at home to AFC Hayes and despite a bad leg break in 2010 has gone on to make 156 appearances (153 full, three sub) and score 14 goals. His 150th game was the Somerset Premier Cup semi-final win at Bath City.
Marsh meanwhile first pulled on a Peacocks shirt on November 21, 2009 at home to Abingdon United but this debut did not officially count in the record books as the game was abandoned at half time due to a waterlogged pitch.
His recognised debut came a week later away at VT FC (now Sholing) and he has since made 159 appearances for the club (143 full, 16 sub) and scored 59 goals with his 150th match being reached when he came on as a sub at Merthyr Town in October.
Both players have been given a commemorative award and club tie to mark their achievement.
Pepperell also picked up two prizes on the night. Apart from winning the Top Goalscorer award, he also scooped the Goal of the Season accolade for his excellent all-important effort against Frome Town to win the Somerset Premier Cup.
Voting for the Supporters’ Player of the Year to win the Frank Summers Trophy was again a close run thing but it was centre half Ben Mammola who emerged victorious by a narrow margin, with Jamie Short runner-up, and goalkeeper Joe Perry and Irish tying for third place.
Players’ Player of the Year went to Rob Norrish who beat off stiff competition from Steve Kingdon and Mammola to win the Norman Gregory Cup. The Chairman’s Award was presented by Kevin Sturmey to manager Leigh Robinson to acknowledge his hard work and consequent success during the past year while another new award, the Champagne Performer, went to Chris Young who accumulated the most Man of the Match and Player of the Month accolades over the season.
The Tom Harris Trophy for Clubman of the Year went to two people for the first time. Neil and Jackie Cottey were recognised for their involvement with the club over a number of years, especially with keeping the Supporters Club running in the face of dwindling numbers.
The Under 18s’ Player of the Year trophy went to Sam Steel while the Players’ Player prize was awarded to Lewis Waldy in his first season with the club.
After a hog roast and buffet prepared by Brett Pinn, youth team manager Trevor Jenkins, first team boss Leigh Robinson and chairman Kevin Sturmey reviewed their respective seasons which was followed by the awards ceremony.
Physio Shawnika Sergeant was also presented with a bouquet of flowers to mark her departure after four years at the club.
Full list of winners. First Team – April Player of the Month: Jamie Short; Top Goalscorer: Nat Pepperell; Goal of the Season: Nat Pepperell; Champagne Performer: Chris Young; Players’ Player of the Year: Rob Norrish; Supporters’ Player of the Year: Ben Mammola; Ernie Price Memorial Cup: Owen Irish; 150 Appearances Award: Owen Irish and Rodney Marsh; Youth Team – Top Goalscorer: Zac Ryder; Players’ Player of the Year: Lewis Waldy; Player of the Year: Sam Steel; Club Awards – Clubpersons (Clubman) of the Year: Neil and Jackie Cottey; Chairman’s Award: Leigh Robinson.