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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Top accolade for young Hornet

WATH Brow Hornets’ astonishing run of success has continued with teenage stand-off Karl Dixon named National Conference League Premier Division player of the year.

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Player of the Year: Wath Brow’s Karl Dixon in action.

And the award, picked up on Saturday night, was judged to be fully-merited by the half-back’s coach Ian Rooney, who has seen him develop over the past season in to one of the key players in the amateur sport’s leading team.

“It’s fantastic for the lad, and the club, and a fully-deserved accolade,” said Rooney. “He has worked extremely hard on his game, and for a lad who has just turned 19, it is a tremendous achievement.

“He always had talent and we knew that, and he has come on leaps and bounds and thrived with the responsibility of playing in the halves. His footwork is fantastic, he has great speed and solid defence.”

Dixon was due to skipper the English Lions Under-18s in their clash with the Australian Institute of Sport in Leeds on Wednesday night. He was joined in the Lions’ squad by Brow team-mates Scott Pink, Ian Curnow and Charlie Tomlinson.

Dixon beat full-back Shaun Quinn of Thatto Heath and Leigh Miners’ scrum-half Scott O’Brien to lift the NCL honour.

The teenager, eyed by several professional clubs, was the Brow’s top try-scorer this year, crossing 14 times in 23 matches, and picking up eight man of the match awards for the champions.

Rooney reckons Dixon must step up his game again next term, as rival teams will be more aware of his ability following last season’s success.

“He will be in for more attention and has to accommodate that in to his game accordingly,” the coach said. “I’m sure he will.

“He needs the support of his team-mates and he’s the first to say that. He has a mature head on young shoulders. The hard work will only start again and he knows that.”

Wath Brow also carried off the league’s Fair Play award after suffering just two sin-binnings all season, courtesy of Dixon and forward Richard Huby.

“We obviously pride ourselves on our discipline. Good teams are not ill-disciplined,” continued Rooney, who wants to put rugby on the back-burner for a short spell after last month steering the club to their first top-flight Grand Final win.

“We won it and enjoyed it. But let’s park it, rest and not think about rugby for a while, then come back and try our best again.

“It will be even harder next time. We probably sailed under the radar for a lot of the season due to our age and changes in personnel. But now teams will be saying, the champions are in town.”

A youthful Wath Brow will be joined in the top-flight next year by promoted Egremont, the Division One champions, while Cumberland League champs Kells are switching to the national level in 2013.

“I’d like to wish Kells good luck in their new NCL venture and well done to Egremont for their achievement this year,” Rooney said.

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