The first awards for the LLOYDS TSB WELSH NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE were presented this afternoon at the Millennium Stadium with a Player and Coach of the Month for both September and October. The winners were: -
Player of the Month - September 2003.
JEREMY LLOYD (BLACKWOOD)
Jeremy returned from duty with Tredegar last season to begin his second spell at the club, having started out with nearby Pontllanfraith, where he gained a Wales Districts club. This season he has not only kicked his usual quota of goals, but at fly half been the link between a young pack and also a young set of backs. He plays quietly and unobtrusively, even fooling a referee this season by jinking into him and knocking the official over!
Coach of the Month - September 2003.
MARK THOMAS (BLACKWOOD)
Mark played almost all his senior rugby with Blackwood, skippering them at No 8 in their centenary season and being a prolific try scorer - especially from short-range!
After beginning as forwards coach when he retired as a player, he is now the Director of coaching at the club and along with Neil Barber (backs) and Jason Powell (forwards), the trio set about repairing the cracks from departing players in the summer. They did so well that they went through September unbeaten. Whether it be as a self-employed worker or as a self-made rugby man, Mark is a well-respected man of Gwent.
Player of the Month - October 2003.
DEAN THOMAS (TONDU)
A whole squad disappeared from Tondu in the summer and it seemed there would be no way that the Waterwheelers could continue. Dean had always been versatile, but usually had played as a winger. He found himself as the only back left with any experience and was also thrust into being the goalkicker for his side. Every match has been lost in the first two months, but he scored five of Tondu's ten tries and all the place kicks. Without him there probably would be no Tondu this season.
Coach of the Month - October 2003.
DENNIS JOHN (LLANHARAN)
From a bearded milkman who came as a scrum half saviour at Penarth, Dennis played for and then coached Pontypridd. He guided them to success after success with his son Paul playing in his old position for club and country.
He was a caretaker coach for Wales in two tests and eventually moved to Bridgend, retiring from his other job as a paramedic and joining Llanharan last season.
With no big cheque book he has bolstered his side after players moved upwards and has turned ordinary men into an unbeaten, free-tryscoring outfit. Secretly, Dennis is enjoying it more than ever.