An amateur West Yorkshire rugby club have beaten some of English sport’s biggest names to win a national award.
Old Otliensians RUFC’s coaches triumphed over England football coach Gareth Southgate and England netball coach Tracey Neville to win a gong at the 2018 UK Coaching Awards.
The three bosses won the Great Coaching Moment of the Year award after the side won the 2018 RFU Junior Vase.
The Otley-based team said the achievement “still hasn’t sunk in yet”.
Old Otliensians, coached by Kris Stafford, Stephen Quinn and Harrison Marshall, reached the RFU Junior Vase final at Twickenham in May and beat South Molton 32-21 in a thrilling encounter.
Six buses were hired to take supporters from the market town down to London, with 200 people later filling Otley’s Market Square during a celebratory open-top bus parade.
The trio claimed the award, decided by a public vote, at a ceremony held at the Honourable Artillery Company in London on Thursday night.
Stafford, the head coach, said the prize was “in recognition of the hard work that goes into grassroots sport and its coaching week in week out”.
“The opportunity to play at Twickenham where so many internationals have played was unbelievable,” he said.
“The players were told it was their chance to get their photo on the club’s wall and be a key part in its history – they played their best rugby of the season.”
He added: “We’re a small club, our players live in Otley, some were given offers to play at a higher level and offered money but they turned them down to continue playing with their mates.”