End of Season Awards Night
By Mark Stevens
Sam Simmonds’ brilliant on-field performances this season were duly rewarded at the Exeter Chiefs End of Season Dinner as he was crowned the club's Player of the Year.
At a packed out Sandy Park, the England international beat off the challenge of fellow forwards Luke Cowan-Dickie and Jonny Hill to land the prestigious award.
In what has been a remarkable 12 months for the 23-year-old, not only has he become a Premiership champion for the first time, but his dazzling on-field displays have taken him to international status, where he has won seven caps since the Autumn.
It was his dramatic, last-gasp try that booked Exeter's place in last May's Premiership final, whilst this season he has continued to flourish in club colours, helping himself to 15 tries in all competitions.
On a night to remember for the Torquay-born forward, he also collected the club's Young Player of the Year accolade, beating off younger brother Joe and fellow forward Sam Skinner,
It caps a fine week for Simmonds, who has also been shortlisted for the RPA's Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, as well as the Land Rover Discovery of the Season at the upcoming Premiership Rugby awards.
Other award winners on the night were Charlie Wright, who picked up the Community Player of the Year, Will Chudley picked up the Try of the Season award for his score in the away game at Northampton Saints, and the long-serving Carl Rimmer, who was awarded the Team Man of the Year.
As well as the awards, Chief Executive Tony Rowe OBE and Director of Rugby Rob Baxter both addressed the audience of over 600 people; Kai Horstmann and Thomas Waldrom conducted a Q&A with international stars Simmonds, Don Armand, Nic White and Harry Williams, whilst the crowd were later entertained by the band New Heroes.
The evening, as always, was helping to raise funds for the club’s official charity, the Exeter Foundation, which in the end benefited to the tune of over £28,000 thanks to the hugely successful Live Auction, Silent Auction and Raffle.
A top evening was capped off by a mouth-watering three-course dinner served up by Sandy Park head chef Sam Bilsom.
CENTRAX PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Sam Simmonds
SW COMMS YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Sam Simmonds
MJ BAKER CLUB MAN OF THE YEAR - Carl Rimmer
OTTER BREWERY TRY OF THE SEASON - Will Chudley
NUFFIELD HEALTH COMMUNITY PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Charlie Wright
PACKEXE TOP TRY SCORER - Contenders for this award are Don Armand, Jonny Hil, Sam Simmonds and Olly Woodburn