The Craic www.londonirish.org
The Craic Player of the Season 2011/12
By Griff
May 25 2012

End of the season tasks include totting-up the man-of-the-match winners for the past season and working-out who has won our Player of the Season award. Usually the fact that we sample at the time-of-match means that the selection can be slightly different to retrospective awards that are chosen with the full benefit of hindsight. Not this season, though, the winner will be no surprise to anyone...

As ever the formula is simple. After each game we shout-up for nominations for man-of-the-match and generate from those a poll which everyone gets a vote on. When the next vote comes-up that closes the previous poll and the MotM is chosen. At the end of the season we count-up the number of awards per-player and the bloke with the most is Player-of-the-Season.

The only nomination that is pre-selected in None of the Above which allows people to opt-out. Invariably this isn't that they missed-out with their nomination it's more often a vote that the team didn't perform. Happily we only had one match where NotA won (although, for some reason it came second in the final game against Glaws, which is just plain weird if you ask me).

The players who received one award is a reasonably long-list, indicating perhaps that the team needed their game raising in many positions, or that throughout the season all the players blew hot and cold. Leading the way, with his last appearance for the club is Big Bob Casey accompanied by Brian Blaney, Declan Danaher, Bryn Evans, Chris Hala'ufia, Adrian Jarvis, Topsy Ojo and Sailosi Tagicakibau.

With a brace of awards are Matt Garvey and Jonathon Joseph - possibly a surprise they didn't get more given their performances over the season.

Three players with three awards in joint third, two leavers and a new star. We'll obviously miss Delon Armitage and Dan Bowden - both have made large contributions to our go-forward at times as well as putting in the big-hits when needed. Jamie Gibson has been a revelation this year, building on his performances last year to prove an excellent asset to the team.

In second place, with four awards, is Max "the beef" Lahif. The ill-coiffured, abs-of-steel, rampaging prop has really stepped-up from his academy days being a nuisance in the loose and holding-up his side of what was widely accepted as a poor scrum. The scrum was difficult to pin on any single player with all the tight-five having good goes at times, hopefully Glenn Delaney will get-to-work and put our talented pack, probably with Max at the fore, into a more destructve alignment.

The winner is, as I've already said, no surprise at all. He received 6 awards. When the game isn't going your way it's excellent to have a guy who can stick the ball through the sticks from any penalty in the opponent's half (or even forward of our 10 metre line) and the fact that this young man claimed the Aviva Premiership's golden boot is testament to that ability. Not only a kicker, though. Keeping Delon Armitage out of our 15 shirt is no mean feat. With displays as the season went on that the young padawan had been paying close attention to the master, his line-breaking, running game has really come on. Along with all of that he's always been solid in defence (you can't play full-back with out it). The Craic Player of the Season 2011/12 is... Tom Homer.

Tom Homer, London Irish