Hills Annual Player Awards Dinner

The Prizewinners and All the Chat

This eagerly awaited event at the end of the 2016/2017 season was characterised  by the usual mixture of the sublime  and the ridiculous, the details of which will unfold rapidly for those anxious enough to feast on all the gossip.   After all  as someone very famous once said .. “ we all hate to spread gossip but what else can we really do with it… “

It is important at the outset to note that the ladies present, some twenty number, had determined to make an impression such was their combined excellence in dress, (very occasional) décolletage and (initially) demeanour.   The men by comparison presented  as mostly dour and uninspiring in their dress sense with, however, some notable exceptions. Martin Malone wore his kilt but there were no  substantiated reports at the time of going to print  if there was anything worn under the kilt; Calum Forrester ,a guest of Dean Kelbrick’s, clearly thought he was attending a dinner in some upmarket gaff being attired in his “DJ” with bow tie, while Messers Scott (snr) and Legendre were resplendent in their “Hills” waistcoats. This was then one of those occasions when the Ladies came out on top of the men!!

The meal was up to the usual high Café Source Too standard, but a surprise awaited the ladies’ when the dessert, a wonderful caramel (?) cheesecake, was served them by one of the “Chippendales” (aka Ryan Williamson). This appearance provided a fertile ground for all the usual wisecracks about apparatus and equipment. The bold Williamson did, however, suffer some damage to his ego, if not his manhood, by being advised by the Ladies spokesperson, Kirsty McConnell, an alleged connoisseur of matters to do with “tackle”, that he was very much “size inappropriate”. To keep spirits up during the first comfort break prior to the speeches, Abi Evans reinforced her image as an outstanding  athlete by doing “chin ups”  and swinging from one of the roof beams. Those familiar with the works of the eminent zoologist, Desmond Morris, will recognise these behavioural traits.

Then it was onto the speeches. Stuart Irvine who, admittedly on the flimsy evidence of only one speech, is recommended not to rush to  give up his day job spoke for the men. He did provide one good line for the discerning among the diners with his remark about James  Reekie always running “hard lines“. “Waldorf and Statler” really enjoyed that one, thinking aloud it was indeed “hardlines” that they had attended, but Stuart was applauded for his efforts; never easy to be a prophet in your own country. Georgie Keys, “A lady in red” for the evening, was all Transatlantic sorority and engaging with the girls in the team. It was generally agreed that the decision not to have bread rolls at the meal  had contributed to an improved feeling of health and safety for the speakers and their general wellbeing. There was regrettably, however, the occasional missile, either a napkin doused in lager or a slice of lemon, but the collateral damage was limited.

The awards proved as popular as ever, with the presenters having their differing styles of delivery. Loïs Legendre with his usual Gallic flair and Stuart “The Speaker” Irvine presided over the awards for the 2A and the 2nd XV’s.  European football has its “golden Boot“ award for their top player, and Loïs’s answer to that fashion statement is a rugby boot presented as a phallic symbol, “mounted” on an impressively polished plinth. Matt Rea (most improved player) and Ben Chaddock (player of the year) captured the 2A’s prizes; and Matt Murray (most improved player) and David Webster (player of the year) garnered the votes  for the 2nd XV. Chairman Andy Scott (Snr) who performed well under duress all night, distributed the 1st XV awards to Jamie Maddox (most improved player), Owen Gemmell (player of the year) and Rory Harte, (Players’ player  of the year). The latter, known affectionately as “Golden balls“ to some present, seemed rather off colour and became more overwhelmed by the occasion as the evening wore on. Perhaps he became dizzy as a result of the greatness imposed upon his callow shoulders? Bringing up the rear of the “Oscars” was Ladies coach Dean Kelbrick who dazzled the audience with a welter of statistics about the Ladies performance over the season: games won; points scored; tries scored;  record numbers of girls/ladies with representative honours, it flowed. The awards for the Ladies went to Aimee Watson (Most improved), Hannah Smith (Players’ player) and Hannah Telling (Player of the year). Winding up, Dean thanked  Graeme Blackhall for his help and then delivered the best line of the night, perhaps a Freudian slip, when he asked Mairi McDonald to thank Fergus Matheson (absent for the evening) for his help.  No-one present  doubted  that would not take place.  Finally the demure and sober Louise MacMillan, captain of the ladies 1st XV, made presentations to Messers Kelbrick and Blackhall on their retirals as coaches to the ladies.

It was unfortunate that the formal part of the evening then concluded rather too swiftly without any vote of thanks to the Dinner Convener, Douglas Grove, who had worked tirelessly to deliver the evening and the “Hills” President, Andrew Scott (snr) for his seamless performance  in continuity announcing. But by then the youth had evacuated to boogy on the dance floor and Rory Harte  was ready for the knackers’ yard.

PS: The usual process of contacting A and E departments on the morning after the night before to check on diners’ welfare was severely hampered by lack of communications due to the malware problems afflicting the NHS. A chance visit however to HQ this morning revealed at least two pairs  of high heels had been left in the function room. Ladies being swept off their feet!!

Bernie “The Bunnett’ Mitchell