This past Sunday, the Clayton Bootleggers celebrated the end of the year with a Christmas party that brought together the players and their families for one final bash to end the club’s first full year in existence. Almost 60 people gathered at Deep River Brewing to laugh, drink, and eat a whole bunch of food while at the same time sharing in the camaraderie of the growing Clayton Rugby family.
As part of the festivities, the Bootleggers named their Award winners for the 2014 season.
Rookie of the Year – Anthony Bevelacqua
Bevelacqua joined the Bootleggers in the Spring of 2014 without any prior playing experience. The eldest player on the team took some time to find his rugby legs, but his desire was never in question. Bevelacqua was one of two Bootleggers to appear in all nine 15s matches the club played this year. He also made appearances, playing in five games, at two 7s tournaments for the club over the summer. Starting out his playing career as a wing, Bevelacqua quickly moved to Hooker where his throwing became one of the strong points for the club as the season went on. Bevelacqua is also a coach the Clayton Copperheads Youth Rugby program.
Most Valuable Back – Manosh Premachandra
Premachandra joined the club this season with, perhaps, the most playing experience of any player in the squad. Having grown up playing rugby in Sri Lanka, Premachandra quickly became the “go-to” option in the backs for the initially forward-heavy Bootleggers side. Premachandra showed his skill, elusiveness, and surprising pace as he scored two tries in 2014 and set up many more for his teammates. He was also one of two players to appear in all nine 15s matches for the club in 2014. He also played in six games, at two 7s tournaments, for the Bootleggers in 2014. Initially slotted in at outside center, Premachandra saw time at scrumhalf and fullback before finally settling in as the club’s inside center. Once settled, the club’s backline finally began to develop and produced excellent numbers in the clubs final few matches of 2014. Premachandra is also a coach with the Clayton Copperheads Youth Rugby program.
Most Valuable Forward – Rich Munro
Another one of the elder statesmen on the team, Munro came to the Bootleggers in the Spring with a playing career that has spanned three decades with numerous honors along the way. Munro brought his experience and leadership to the club and proved valuable well beyond his contributions on the pitch. An experienced back row player, Munro slotted in at Flanker, No. 8 and in the 2nd Row this year for the Bootleggers. Sure handed and hard-working at the breakdown, Munro served as player coach for a portion of the Fall season and Captained the side four times, with two victories, in the Fall. All told, Munro played in eight 15s matches this year and also made appearances in five 7s matches this season. As with the other Award Winners, Munro is also a coach with the Clayton Copperheads Youth Rugby program.
Congratulations go out to not only our Award Winners, but all of the players, sponsors, supporters, and families that made this season a success. Thanks goes out to all of you!
The future is very bright. Clayton is a rugby town.