Ashford held their annual Presentation Evening on Friday evening at a superbly equipped Kempton Park.
Understandably, with promotion having been achieved, everyone was in high spirits and following the food everyone was ready for the speeches and presentations. Up first was Vice-Chairman Nick Bailey who spoke about the Under-18 side, who, in the very tough Ryman Youth League, had not enjoyed a massively successful season in terms of results but several of the players had gained experience, including being part of the 1st Team squad, especially Harry Herdman, who was expected to come into the 1st team reckoning on a regular basis next season. Indeed the “Manager’s Player of the Year” award duly went to Harry, whilst the “Players’ Player of the Year” went to Kasey Williams, whose consistency was duly rewarded.
Up next was Will Boye, highly successful Ladies Manager. In their first season with the Club, the ladies had regularly notched up more than ten goals and had won their division of the Greater London Women’s League by the beginning of January. They had also reached the Final of their County Cup, losing only on penalties in a rare defeat and had been a credit to the club.
Although she is far too modest to describe herself as such, the star of the side is undoubtedly Ashley Cheatley, whose goal scoring exploits had led to selection for the County side. She was recognised by her team mates, winning the “Players’ Player of the Year” award and also selected by Will as the winner of the “Most Skilful Player”. The Manager’s “Player of the Seaon” went to Vicky James, another well deserved award. She also won the “Best Trainer” award and the accolade of scoring the best goal of the season. There were various other awards for Amber Luzar, Tia Prior, Charlotte McGregor, Irisha Smith, Frida Larsson.
Up stepped 1st Team manager Ben Murray who was his usual entertaining self. He spoke about the season and how proud he was of the players in achieving promotion and felt that we were in good shape for the challenge of Step 4 football next season, despite the fact that we would be up against some big clubs in the next campaign. Club Captain Rusell Canderton, who will achieve his 600th appearance for the club next season also spoke and gave an excellent speech.
The quality within the squad was possibly emphasised by the fact that three different players took the main awards. The “Supporters’ Player of the Season” was presented by Chad Beadle to Samad Kazi, who had still reached double figures in the goal scoring stakes, despite spending half the season playing in central defence, whilst the choice for the “Players’ Player of the Year” went to Scott Weight, whose experience had been invaluable throughout the season. The Manager’s “Player of the Year” though went to the popular Jack Beadle who had barely missed a match and had made a vital contribution with 22 goals from midfield.
The goal scoring abilities of both Mark Bitmead (42 over the season) and Dan Fleming (27) were duly recognised, whilst Tyler Tobin had made 59 appearances out of 60, with Alex Fisher just behind him on 58.
Finally we came to the “Jack Constable Clubman of the Year” award, which has now been going strong since 1983. This is awarded annually to the person considered by the committee, who cast their votes in 1-2-3 order, to have most enhanced the club over the season. It is often won by a member of the Committee but can also go to a member of the Management or the Playing Staff or even a supporter.
As usual the voting was close, with no less than 12 people receiving votes which rather demonstrates just how much work is put in by various people in the club, but the overall winner this year was Dan Butler, whose untiring and varied efforts were duly recognised. Just behind him were our dynamic Vive-Chairman Nick Bailey, followed by Chad Beadle and Chris Canderton, with honourable mentions for Liam Balmer, Emma Bailey, Sue Cox, Mark Green, Ben Murray and others who all received votes. Chairman Dave Baker stepped up to present the award.
The Chairman was also on hand to present five of our hard working ladies with bouquets to recognise their efforts, namely Sue Cox, Kate McNally, Louise Munns, Debbie Beadle and Emma Bailey. Without these ladies, it would be hard for the Club to function, so our grateful thanks go to all of them.
The evening went on with dancing to the Jake Taylor disco. Our thanks go to Kempton Park and their hard working staff and also to Nick Bailey and Ben Murray who had organised matters to the last detail.
Don’t forget that the club is open every day except Mondays and with the refurbishment almost complete, it is now a venue to be proud of but we need people to use it, so please come down whenever you can. The next major function is on Bank Holiday, Monday 30 May, which will be a barbecue and which we hope will be well supported. There will be more about that on the web site in due course, as will a detailed list of our pre-season friendlies, most of which are now confirmed. We are still looking for a Step 2/3/4 side to come to us on Saturday 30 July, but if one doesn’t materialise soon, we have had offers from two or three very good Step 5 clubs and a decision will be made this coming week.