Great Scott: Azza’s prizegiving double
Melville northern league skipper Aaron Scott did the double at the club’s annual prizegiving at The Atrium, collecting Players’ Player and Player of the Year.
And on a night where double-doubles were very much in celebratory order, Melville premier women’s skipper Hannah Buesnel won women’s Players’ Player and Player of the Year.
For Scott, it was a record-equalling fourth time he has won Player of the Year (his first came 11 years earlier) and a record eighth time he has won Players’ Player.
They called him “The Godfather” of the club.
However Scott disavowed any knowledge of his personal benchmarks, and in a short speech made a point of downplaying his achievements in a year when he was also honoured as AFF’s northern league division one player of the year.
“You don’t play to win individual awards,” he told a 180-strong crowd, in channelling his inner Sergio Ramos. “If you did, you would play tennis.”
In a later speech Melville U23 team coach Merv Williams digressed to single Scott out for praise.
“In a year when there has been a real buzz around the club, Aaron Scott has been the ultimate role model for everyone in the club,” he said.
“You don’t just get great playing ability, but leadership, class, and humility from Aaron. He is exactly the type of person we want to see come out of this club.”
Scott was also awarded Melville NOBs (New Old Boys) player of the year after making one appearance, though that was more a reflection on Justin Harden failing to meet strict team criteria of being ineligible to receive an award if they were not present on the night.
New club chairman Wytse Bouma was honoured as club person of the year. Bouma rated himself as “five out of 10” in having taking over the top job for 2018, but others saw him as having made a significant impact.
Teenagers Jordan Lamb and Logan Wisnewski shared the first team Young Player award. Lamb had a wonderful debut season, netting 14 goals, the most by a Melville teenager since Steve Holloway in 2003.
Wisnewski was only a bit-player in the first half of Melville’s season, but emerged as an an absolute pillar of the team in the final nine matches, as the Unicorns were otherwise beset by injury, suspension and unavailability, and he consistently turned in huge performances.
Northern league coaches Michael Mayne and Sam Wilkinson shared coach of the year, while Wilkinson was also awarded a Special Achievement trophy for his role as assistant coach to the successful New Zealand U-17 team.
Over the course of the evening Mayne and Wilkinson repeatedly referred to their coaching work as “a passion project”.
But first everyone to endure the most curious introduction ever for title-winning Melville coaches, as Mayne and Wilkinson were invited onto the stage as “Jake the Muss and Tom Hanks from Philadelphia”.
Wilkinson said Melville’s record-breaking season, where they won the league by 16 points with a goal tally of 71 was foremost an achievement of the players.
“Many of this group came through the disappointment of last season… they had opportunities to go elsewhere but stuck with the project,” Wilkinson said.
“To that we added quality and experience with some new signings who also chose to be part of the project.
“Our success put a target on the back of this team. We were the scalp that everybody wanted, but invariably we found the answer.
“It was a year of domination.”
Wilkinson thanked a large support team, the administrative wing, and the whole club – with the exception of Nobs player-coach Gavin Douglas (who had shown ongoing reluctance to select Wilkinson for Friday night matches during the season).
“You were no help at all, Gav – you did nothing,” Wilkinson said.
Meanwhile Mayne used his speech to announce Wilkinson has just got engaged to his sister-in-law.
Sokchantrea Ven won an obvious choice for Melville’s Federation league team Player of the Year, while Harry Coulson got Players’ Player.
Thomas “Likeable” Mouncher was player of the year for Melville Reserves, with Joel McMullan Players’ Player.
Melville women’s development team coach Lance Vervoort was named Personality of the Year, while he also enjoyed great success at the helm of his team, which won the Waikato B Division.
“Women’s football can be quite fluid,” he said, in noting Melville had lost 18 players from female ranks from 2017.
To win a trophy was testament to the commitment of all three Melville women’s teams.
“Mine was an enjoyable team to coach.”
Women’s Development won the club’s Goal Difference Trophy, with 68 goals from 14 games, and just five conceded.
Merv Williams said his Federation team had a very enjoyable season, despite a roller-coaster ride in which they beat Papamoa, but lost to Te Awamutu.
Williams drew praise from his assistant, Wytse Bouma.
“Merv was a tactical genius,” Bouma said. “It would be nice if the players listened to him.’
Women’s Golden Boot was won by Bailey Guildford (19 goals) and men’s Golden Boot by Kieran Frewen, who also took out Nobs Player of the Year.
In collecting the Coach of the Year award Mayne apologised for eight of the first team personnel having to leave the function early to assist with weekend coaching duties at the McArtney Cup youth tournament in Taupo.
Of coaching, he said: “It is never an easy job, and the players often don’t appreciate the time you put in.
“But for us this is a passion project. We didn’t do too much different from last year.”
Of their co-coaching relationship, he said it was built on a good understanding of each other, and a solid football philosophy.
Club sponsor and former chairman Kris Allen was honoured with a “Service to Melville” award.
The lower grade awards were sprinkled by the usual array of bizarre and apocryphal anecdotes.
The auditorium heard how one player was planning to lose his virginity at Waihi Beach this summer, while another was accused of sleeping with his sister.
And a team mate accused Nob head Gavin Douglas of making more passes at other people’s wives than he managed on the pitch.
Nobs spokesmen Rory Noorland and Douglas were welcomed to the dais as being “a before-and-after advert for steroid use”.
Nobs finished runners-up in both the league and the Waikato Cup. Josh Billman – a veteran of over 200 northern league games, somehow managed to win Most Improved Player.
Stu Timings – introduced as “the man who has quads for calves” noted it was the 20th year of the existence of his Old Boys team. Rob Orchard won goal of the season, while Gavin “Jed Clampett” Webber was player of the year.
In his president’s welcome Bouma said Mayne and Wilkinson deserved all the plaudits they got for their coaching.
He said the Gower No 1 pitch was the envy of all who visited and the club was exploring a $120,000 upgrade of floodlights.
“We are on the cusp of something special at Melville.
Melville’s AGM is on Sunday November 18, at 2pm.
Youth Player of the Year Logan Wisnewski / Jordan Lamb
Players Player Aaron Scott
Player of the Year Aaron Scott
Youth Player of the Year Jessica Sizer
Squad Member Natasha Murrihy-Paulussen
Players Player Hannah Buesnel
Player of the Year Hannah Buesnel
Youth Player of the Year Jamie Searle
Players Player Joel McMullan
Player of the Year Thomas Mouncher
Youth Player of the Year Sean Rogers
Squad Member Raukawa Raynel
Players Player Harry Coulson
Player of the Year Sok Ven
Women’s Reserves Development
Most Improved Natalie Milicich
Squad Member Louise Hinds-Haye
Players Player Carrie Cathro
Player of the Year Carrie Cathro
Women’s B Division Winners 2018
Most Improved Josh Billman
Squad Member Rhys Legate
Players Player Kieran Frewen
Player of the Year Justin Harden
Most Improved Kalib Jeram
Squad Member Cree O’donoghue
Players Player Ryan Watson
Player of the Year Taylor Clement
Most Improved Luke Finnerty
Squad Member Riley Curry
Players Player Davis Vhavha
Player of the year Tin Chhoung
Most Improved Taylor Bauerfeind
Squad Member Kieran McHale
Goal of the Year Rob Orchard
Players Player Gavin Webber
Most Improved Bima Wyatt
Squad Member Sean Zeier
Players Player Liam Tubman
Player of the Year Jesse Thomas
Most Improved Nardia Wallis
Squad Member Tash Huxtable
Players Player Nardia Wallis
Player of the Year Sue McAllister
Women’s Golden Boot Bailey Guilford
Men’s Golden Boot
Goal Difference Women’s Reserves Development
Special Achievement: Sam Wilkinson
Coach of the Year Sam Wilkinson, Michael Mayne
Service to Melville: Kris Allen
Club Personality: Lance Vervoort
Club Person: Wytse Bouma