Pembrokeshire Vikings celebrate a wonderful season in style

Ben Couceiro - Motivator (Hedley Asset Management)

The Pembrokeshire Vikings’ Mixed Ability Rugby Club held their augural presentation  evening in the spacious, attractive lounge at Milford Haven Rugby Club and a huge crowd of players, families, friends and sponsors gathered together to celebrate a special first season of the mixed ability and touch rugby teams.
In the campaign they made lots of friends amongst the opposition from across South Wales, only lost twice  – and also celebrated an excellent victory at Parc y Scarlets on the WRU Scarlets’ West Finals’ Day!

The Gibbs’ family play a terrific part in the evening

Team manager and MC for the evening Steff Gibbs congratulated everyone on their playing or coaching roles and his wife Rachel played a major part in the huge success of the evening as she was responsible for everyone having a commemorative slate toaster with the club’s motif emblazoned on it, beautifully wrapped in the club’s colours and a chocolate mini-egg, with not only the distinct blue and yellow colours but a club mini-badge too!
Rachel also contributed further as she had organised other contributions towards a wonderful evening in a buffet by PPR Caterers that would have graced any sports’ dinner, DJ Lee Journeaux, entertaining singer Dan Ni and magician David Hitchcott, who showed just why he is a member of the renowned Magic Circle as he moved around the tables bamboozling everyone with his clever stuff!
The evening was also enhanced by the excellent photography of Mira Angielczyk, who captured the joyous atmosphere of the evening.
The award ceremony was conducted by Bill Carne, making his final appearance as a speaker before stepping down from old age, and he was also delighted to receive a special slate which was beautifully engraved, plus a club tie, and he rightly said that so many people in support of Simon Gardiner (head coach), Andrew Meddings (assistant coach) and other coaches like Emma Summons showed what the Vikings were all about as he also highlighted people in the audience he had taught or knew through sport.

Jack Colley - is Coaches Player (Simon Gardiner)

Special mementoes for all the award winners

Each of the playing award recipients received a special memento like an engraved tankard and there was also a special award to team mascot Luca Morillo of a tee-shirt in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the team, rain or shine, from New York Welsh, who are the main sponsors, with only 11 in existence and most of them having gone to international players or famous stars, so Luca is in very good company indeed
The most improved player award, sponsored by JT Autos, went to Paul Clayton for his try- scoring as a winger but also for terrific defence which resulted in his playing for the MARI’s team at the Principality Stadium.
Bleddyn Gibbs was the popular choice as ‘Team Player’ (sponsored by Haven Crane Hire), as he was one of the first to join the club and after starting in touch rugby is now champing at the bit to play full-contact as soon as he is 18 years of age. He is the team’s place-kicker and there are even rumours about that coach Simon Gardiner has promised to buy him a pint on his birthday!

Geno Cleal - Players Player (Castle Hot Tubs)

Geno is given the ‘Players’ Player’ award . . .

The players’ player choice (sponsored by Castle Hot Tubs) was Geno Cleal who is also a useful cricketer with Johnston and has taken up rugby this season to play a key role at outside half as he is great at spotting gaps and breaking defensive lines to bring other players into the game. He also has blistering pace and has been a leading example to his team-mates.
The Vikings Volunteer award, (sponsored by The Torch Theatre), was presented to Sian Gardiner for her amazing work in the background where any job that needs doing she happily undertakes, like managing the drop-in centre for The Vikings Ukraine Appeal. Her testimonial read that she was the unanimous winner of this special award because of all she does!


. . . And Ben is recognised for his ability to lift spirits

In the same way Ben Couceiro was a very popular choice as ‘Team Joker’ (Sponsored by Hedley Asset Management) because of his amazing ability to lift other players who are feeling below par, and ever-ready to provide a funny quip or joke at just the right time. As his tribute said, Ben is indeed a positive and happy go lucky person!
And finally, the Coach’s Player, presented by Simon Gardner, was given to Jack Colley for his fantastic season where he has become a firm fixture in the Vikings’ team as reward for his determination to keep improving, his versatility and ability to cover a range of positions.
Coach Simon said, “Jack is a pleasure to coach and it’s unreal to watch him play: he has an abundance of talent.” High praise indeed from a former top player.
Another undoubted highlight was a special video in which The Pembrokeshire Vikings were congratulated by famous former players like Sir Gareth Edwards and Jonathan ‘Jiffy’ Davies, whose tributes were richly deserved, and if they can maintain their momentum they will be back again next season celebrating another wonderful year like this one!

Paul Clayton - Most Improved (JT Autos)

Sian Gardiner - Vikings Volunteer (Torch Theatre)

Anna and Simon Gardiner