By Ian Golden, Date: 18/9/12
North Wales Crusaders coach Clive Griffiths is in contention to win one of Rugby Leagueâ€™s top individual awards.
Griffiths has been nominated for the Co-operative Championship 1 Coach of the Year after leading the club, in its first ever year of existence, to within four points of a play-off place.
The Crusaders won seven out of their 18 games, including three doubles, and just two more victories would have put in them in the end of season competition.
His peers have recognised this and have voted for him, so he is up against Tony Miller, coach of top of the table Doncaster, and Joe Mbu, coach of London Skolars who finished just one place above the Crusaders, to take the trophy.
The winners will be announced at the Co-operative Championshipsâ€™ annual dinner which will be held in Leeds on Tuesday September 25.
â€œIâ€™ll take third,â€ Griffiths said. â€œItâ€™s a real shock to be nominated and I didnâ€™t expect it. Iâ€™m absolutely delighted to be in the frame. Obviously itâ€™s reflected on how well the club have done this year and not just on a playing point of view. Itâ€™s a reflection on the birth of North Wales Crusaders and thatâ€™s been recognised.
â€œIt just shows the good work that everyone has done, not just from myself, John Fieldhouse and the players. A lot of good work has gone on in Rugby League throughout North Wales this year but I am delighted to be mentioned and nominated in this way.â€
North Wales Crusadersâ€™ chief executive Jamie Thomas said: â€œIâ€™m absolutely delighted for Clive for him to get recognised in this way. Itâ€™s an unbelievable achievement heâ€™s made this year by putting a team together from absolute scratch to one which was able to compete with the best sides in the division. Seven wins out of 18 for a side that didnâ€™t have a player six weeks before the start of the competition just shows what a stunning job heâ€™s done and I hope he getâ€™s the full recognition of winning the award next Tuesday.â€
In Championship One, the Player of the Year award will be contested by Liam Harrison of Barrow Raiders, Graeme Mattison of Workington Town and Doncasterâ€™s Paul Cooke while the Young Player of the Year award will be chosen between Workington duo Dave Peterson and Elliott Miller along with Barrowâ€™s Ryan Shaw.
In the Co-operative Championship, defending champions Featherstone Rovers are in with a chance of taking home a clean sweep of awards, with representatives in all three categories.
Andy Kain and Liam Finn have been shortlisted in the Player of the Year category alongside Halifax captain Sean Penkywicz and Bob Beswick of Leigh Centurions while Featherstoneâ€™s Greg Worthington joins Leighâ€™s Ryan Brierley and Alex Walmsley of Batley Bulldogs in the running for the Young Player of the Year award.
Featherstone coach Daryl Powell is in contention for the Championship Coach of the Year award for a second consecutive year but will face stiff competition from John Kear of Batley, Halifaxâ€™s Karl Harrison and Leigh Centurions coach Paul Rowley.
The shortlists in full are as follows:
Co-operative Championship Player of the Year:
Andy Kain (Featherstone) Liam Finn (Featherstone) Sean Penkywicz (Halifax) Bob Beswick (Leigh)
Co-operative Championship Young Player of the Year:
Alex Walmsley (Batley) Greg Worthington (Featherstone) Ryan Brierley (Leigh)
Co-operative Championship Coach of the Year:
John Kear (Batley) Daryl Powell (Featherstone) Karl Harrison (Halifax) Paul Rowley (Leigh)
Co-operative Championship One Player of the Year:
Liam Harrison (Barrow) Paul Cooke (Doncaster) Graeme Mattison (Workington)
Co-operative Championship One Young Player of the Year:
Ryan Shaw (Barrow) Dave Peterson (Workington) Elliot Miller (Workington)
Co-operative Championship One Coach of the Year:
Clive Griffiths (North Wales Crusaders) Tony Miller (Doncaster) Joe Mbu (London Skolars)
Tickets to the Co-operative Championships Finals Day on Sunday September 30 at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington cost from just Â£16 adult, Â£8 concessions and can be purchased by calling the RFL Ticket office on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk