Leigh Centurions Captain Micky Higham was tonight (Monday September 12) crowned Kingstone Press Championship Player of the Year for 2016.
Higham, who pipped Featherstone Rovers Misi Taulapapa and Batley Bulldogs Dominic Brambani to the coveted award, has led the Centurions in their successful League Leader’s campaign and their charge through the Qualifiers Super 8s to gain promotion to the First Utility Super League in 2017.
The 35-year-old received his award at the Kingstone Press Championship and League 1 Awards at The Queen’s Hotel, Leeds, where many of the other stars of the 2016 season were honoured.
Batley Bulldogs coach John Kear was voted the Kingstone Press Coach of the Year award after his side secured a 2016 Qualifiers position. Voted for by his fellow coaches, Kear beat off stiff competition from Neil Jukes of Leigh and London’s Andrew Henderson, a fitting end to his five years as Head Coach at the club.
London Broncos hooker James Cunningham was named Kingstone Press Championship Young Player of the Year ahead of Josh Guzdek of Dewsbury Rams and 2015 Young Player of the Year and Featherstone prop Jordan Baldwinson.
Kingstone Press League 1 Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards were scooped by Toulouse Olympique’s Johnathon Ford and Sylvain Houles respectively, a reward for the club’s achievement in finishing top of the table and remaining unbeaten throughout the season and the League 1 Super 8s.
Danny Yates of Rochdale Hornets was named Kingstone Press League 1 Young Player of the Year, fending off strong competition from Toulouse’s Clement Boyer and Vincent Rennie of Newcastle Thunder.
The Kingstone Press Championship and League 1 Clubs of the Year awards were awarded to Leigh Centurions and Toulouse Olympique XIII, respectively.
The Project of the Year award recognises clubs who have shown an outstanding commitment to meeting the objectives of raising the visibility and profile of the competition and increasing attendance at one or more games through a special project. London Broncos and Doncaster RLFC were the winners of the Project of the Year award for the Championship and League 1.
London Broncos were chosen to receive the award for their continued work with Hathaway Primary school, including a ‘Be at school on time with the Broncos’ campaign, mentoring sessions with students and delivering the school’s 2016 sports day.
Doncaster RLFC were selected for the League 1 Project of the Year award for their junior take over day during their game against Oxford. Children were selected to shadow members of club and match day staff to experience game day from a different perspective.
Bradford Bulls was named Foundation of the Year in recognition of the continued commitment to developing Rugby League in the Bradford area in 2016, following their mantra ‘Creating opportunities and nurturing potential’.
Dave Naylor was named as 2016 Community Champion sponsored by Supporters Direct. This season Dave has voluntarily taken over the running of Oldham RLFC’s official website and social media accounts and produced video highlights and audio content for supporters to enjoy.
The player of the year, coach of the year and young player of the year award winners are selected by a poll of every coach in the Kingstone Press Championship and League 1. The Club of the Year and Project of the Year awards are determined by the RFL Board, whilst the Foundation of the Year is selected by Rugby League Cares.
The 2016 Kingstone Press Championship and League 1 award winners in full are as follows:
Championship Player of the Year: Micky Higham (Leigh Centurions)
Championship Young Player of the Year: James Cunningham (London Broncos)
Championship Coach of the Year: John Kear (Batley Bulldogs)
League 1 Player of the Year: Johnathon Ford (Toulouse Olympique XIII)
League 1 Young Player of the Year: Danny Yates (Rochdale Hornets)
League 1 Coach of the Year: Sylvain Houles (Toulouse Olympique XIII)
Championship Club of the Year: Leigh Centurions
League 1 Club of the Year: Toulouse Olympique XIII
Championship Project of the Year: London Broncos
League 1 Project of the Year: Doncaster RLFC
Foundation of the Year: Bradford Bulls
Supporters Direct Community Champion: Dave Naylor