The Spartans officially ended their 2012 season with their annual presentation evening to celebrate the efforts made by both players and coaches during one of the teams more difficult seasons.
The evening, held in Chelmsford, was a great success, with a buffet from Spartan Cesar Carranco’s The Mexican Kitchen in Wickford, raffle, and entertainment into the night. Players, coaches, family and fans joined together to congratulate those who had made a significant contribution to the Spartans in 2012, both on and off the field.
A raffle, with prizes donated by companies incluing American Football UK, Football America, and UK American Sports Store, resulted in many people attending the event leaving with more than they bargained for, and the Spartans woukd like to thank all those who donated prizes for their generosity.
With retiring General Manager Tony Palmer overseeing the proceedings, the evening began with some more personal “thank you’s” to certain individuals. To thank them for their continued support during his 27 years, Tony palmer presnted gifts to Spartans coaches Marc Saunders and Kieron Goymer, and on behalf of the Spartans defensive backs from the 2011 season, a framed photograph and shirt was presented to their coach, Wes Bourke.
The first awards to be presented were the Linemen Of The Year, in association with the Spartans sponsor, Ed’s Easy Diner. It hasn’t been the best of years for the Spartans offense, but the line has performed admirably, and Gavin Price deservedly took home the Offensive Lineman Of The Year. Defensively, the Spartans have performed well, and dominant lineman Lawrence Reid was awarded Defensive Lineman Of The Year.
Rookie Of The Year awards, in association with the Essex Enquirer, were next to be awarded. Despite missing the tail end of the season with a broken leg, rookie running back Liam Mills was a huge part of the Spartans offense in 2012, and he was rightly awarded Offensive Rookie Of The Year. After some impressive performances from his defensive line position, James Jackson collected Defensive Rookie Of The Year.
Despite the Spartans strugles during 2012, many players caught the eye of their coaches with their dedication and hard work, and showed improvemnts from their previous years. Each season, one player is awarded the Most Improved Player trophy, in recognition of the steps they have taken over the past 12 months. This year, that trophy was taken home by running back Ryan Towey. Clubman Of The Year was awarded to Steve Watson for all his off-field work.
Then, it was time for “The Big Four” to be awarded – the MVP awards, all of which are voted for by the Spartans players.
First up was the Special Teams Awards, and after some dominant and eye-caching perfomances, the players voted defensive back Will Steel their Special Teams MVP.
Defensive MVP went to defensive back Nick Mayer, who’s interceptions kept the Spartans alive in many games this season, and who’s touchdowns were crucial with points at a premium through the year.
Offensive MVP was taken home by tight end Paul Cossu, who’s strong performances throughout the season included snagging two of the teams aerial scores, and some punishing blocking.
Cossu’s performaces were so eye-catching, that his teammates also voted him the overal Spartans MVP for the 2012 campaign.
Awards also went to the Spartans excellent coaching staff of Head Coach Marc Saunders, Offensive co-ordinator Sean Benton, Offensive line coach Kieron Goymer, Receivers coach Simeon Clarke, Special teams and defensive backs coach Chris Hunt, and youth team coach Steve Mitchell, along with statistician Lisa Millar.
Long-time Spartan Martin Moran then presented Sue Palmer with a bouquet of flowers as a thank-you from the team for all her hard work behind the scenes, including the task of ensuring the Spartans shirts were washed after every game.
Moran also presented Tony Palmer with an engraved watch on behalf of the team, to thank him for all his hard work and dedication over the past 27 years. Although Tony is retiring, we know he will always be a part of the Spartans, and we hope to see him continue to be involved with the organisation is some capacity.
As part of his final duties with the team, Tony then lead the team in a round of congratulations and best wishes as two Spartans, Martin Moran and Jamie Wood, announced their retirements.
As the curtain closed on the 2012 campaign, thoughts turn to the 2013 season, and preparations now step up as the team look for glory in the National league. The first step is the player trials, held on November 11th and 18th.