Holbeach United reward players at virtual presentation night
Established stars and emerging talent were among the award winners at Holbeach United’s virtual presentation night.
The Tigers took to Zoom to hand out their annual awards with the current lockdown restrictions preventing them from holding their usual end of term celebration at Carters Park.
The accolades for first team, reserves, development side and Under 18s were all awarded after another successful season for the United Counties League club.
The campaign also marked the end of Danny Hussey’s tenure as first team manager of his home-town club.
Hussey said: “We were trying to hold out until the current restrictions are lifted, but we don’t know when the time will be when everyone can get together again.
“We felt that we ought to do something to let the lads know because, before you know it, they will all be back training again and looking to the new season and we wouldn’t have had any sort of closure on this one.
“We’ve seen other clubs do it online so it was nice to do it and it was good that the lads now know who won the awards.”
Left-back Tom Smith won Hussey’s award as first team manager’s player of the year after a solid season which saw the Tigers among the leading lights in the Premier Division for the majority of the campaign.
Hussey added: “Tom did really well last season.
“At the start of it, he was unsure of himself if I’m honest. I didn’t think he thought he was part of my plans and wasn’t fully committed.
“We had a good chat with him and got him back involved and, because he had missed some of pre-season, he didn’t start the first few games.
“We then changed it around and put Tom back in and, from then onwards, his journey has been really smooth and he’s propelled himself throughout games.
“He’s always been a seven or eight-out-of-ten and hasn’t looked out of place against some good wide players in the league who he has done really well against.”
Summer signing Jon Fairweather scooped the players’ player of the year accolade and was joint winner of the supporters’ award with Adam Jackson.
Hussey continued: “Jonno was my main signing at the start of last season.
“My only mistake was that I played in him in central midfield in far too many games when I should have put him straight in at centre-half and got him bedded in there to sort the defence out earlier on.
“We conceded too many goals in the first few games and I had probably got my best centre-half playing in midfield.
“I thought the defence would have been nice and solid and it didn’t work out like that so we changed it around.
“We brought Nick Jackson in alongside Jonno at centre-half and, for me, they were the best pairing in the league.
“With Tom Smith playing well at left-back, Ricky Drury having a good season in goal and Luke Wilson being so solid at right-back, it was such a good move.
“I wish I had done it earlier because we would probably have won seven or eight more points which would have pushed us into first or second place.”
Jonny Lockie was also a double-award winner after taking the young player accolade and being top goalscorer following his 25-goal haul in all competitions. Liam Adams completed the first team trophy trail after being named chairman/sponsors player of the year.
Hussey said: “Jonny would have gone on and got 30 goals for us if the season had finished which would have been a great return.
“We played with three up front and I asked Jonny and Liam selfishly as a manager that, although I wanted them going forward and getting into good positions and scoring goals, when we didn’t have possession I wanted them back in midfield and defending to help the full-backs out.
“It’s a really hard position to play because Liam had to get up to speed with that because he had been asked to attack more at other clubs.
“Jonny took to it straight away with his energy, work-rate, pace and directness while once Liam adapted he played with a smile on his face and really started to enjoy his football.
“He got back to the Liam who was playing at Stamford two seasons ago when I was there with the amount of assists he created because he’s such a clever player.
“He gave us a nice mix which opened up a lot of games for us and he became accepted by the Holbeach crowd which is always a hard thing to do.”
The most decorated of award winners on presentation night was Jordan Elston – son of Tigers legend Dean.
Elston junior landed four awards after being named Under 18s player of the year, reserve team and joint winner of Under 18 supporters player of the year as well as reserve young player of the year.
Dad Dean – who is assisting new first team boss Phil Barnes for the coming campaign – was named managers’ player of the year for the Holbeach Sports side.
Managers Player of the Year: First team - Tom Smith; reserves - Tom Coote; Sports - Dean Elston; Under 18s - James Clark.
Players' player of the year: First team - Jonno Fairweather; reserves (joint) - Brad Waters and Alex Richardson; Sports - Harvey Wirkowski; Under 18s - Jordan Elston.
Chairman/sponsors player of the year: First team - Liam Adams; reserves - Josh Balding; Sports - Charlie Parkes; Under 18s - Harvey Wirkowski.
Supporters player of the year: First team (joint) - Adam Jackson, Jonno Fairweather; reserves - Jordan Elston; Sports - Jack Forster; Under 18s (joint) - Jordan Elston and Will Barnes.
Top goalscorers award: First team - Jonny Lockie; reserves - Tom Coote; Sports - Josh Ling; Under 18s - Jordan Elston.
Young player of the year award: First team - Jonny Lockie; reserves - Jordan Elston; Sports - James Clark.