Wimbledon Rugby Club ace ‘honoured’ by player of the year nomination despite loss

A Wimbledon rugby player may have missed out on a prestigious prize at the home of English rugby, but he is counting his blessings after reaching the final of the Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards.

Bryan Croke narrowly missed out on winning the Artel Scaffolding Men’s Player of the Year award at Twickenham on September 1, at an event attended by England internationals Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Alex Goode as well as members of the Olympic silver medal-winning rugby sevens side.

Having played for Wimbledon Rugby Club for three seasons, Croke is credited with helping the team shape their style of play and rarely misses a training session, as well as leading the club socially and coaching some of the side’s affiliate clubs.

And despite missing out on top spot, the 25-year-old insists he couldn’t have asked for better recognition of his hard work both on and off the pitch.

“It’s an honour to be nominated for this award, everyone gave me so much support and it’s nice to get some recognition,” said Croke.

“I was always going to be gutted if I didn’t win, but it’s nice to be at Twickenham and be a part of it all. It’s been a really good experience.

“I was massively proud to make the final, it’s nice for people back home in Ireland to see how well I am getting on in London.

“It has been an unreal night, and it’s really good of the professional players to come down and join in.”

Now in its second year, the Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards are designed to honour the achievements of all the thousands of rugby clubs up and down the country.

The awards provide recognition to clubs and players at every level of the game, as well as those who invest their time and energy into the sport in other ways.

And for Wasps and England international James Haskell, who won the Zebra Architects Professional Player of the Year prize, the awards are the perfect celebration of grassroots rugby.

“It’s amazing to have won, I never really win any award so it’s very humbling,” said Haskell, who was part of England’s RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam-winning team earlier this year.

“I had no idea I was going to get the opportunity, and see how much it means to everyone else who won awards.

“Rugby wouldn’t be what it is if we didn’t have the amazing grassroots elements to it.

“I grew up playing at Maidenhead Rugby Club since I was five years old, and if you go into any club round the country, they live and breathe what the national team do.

“Everyone is an aspiring professional rugby player and some of the older guys probably still think they should be, so I’m really flattered to be at these awards and I hope grassroots rugby keeps growing and growing.”

For more information about the National Rugby Awards, please visit the Website

Related Articles