Cooke savours awards double
Doncaster stand-off Paul Cooke capped off a magnificent debut season with the South Yorkshire club by collecting a memorable double of Championship One Player of the Year and Northern Star awards at the Co-operative Championships Awards Dinner.
Cooke, who led Doncaster to the League Leaders’ Shield, beat off stiff competition from Liam Harrison and Graeme Mattinson to capture the outstanding individual award while his dedication and contributions to the local community earned the former Hull FC and Hull KR player the Northern Star Award.
There was further success for Doncaster on the evening as coach Tony Miller was awarded the Championship One Coach of the Year honour while they completed an impressive haul of four awards after they were also named as Championship One Club of the Year.
Fellow Championship One club Workington Town ended the evening with two awards, having earned the Community Programme of the Year award for their efforts in the local community in 2012 before Elliott Miller was presented with the Championship One Young Player of the Year award.
Featherstone Rovers stand-off Liam Finn was presented with the prestigious Championship Player of the Year award, the second time in three years the half-back has earned the honour, while Featherstone were also named Championship Club of the Year.
Batley Bulldogs forward Alex Walmsley was awarded the Championship Young Player of the Year award, crowning a magnificent season which has seen the youngster earn a contract with St Helens for 2013.
The Championship Coach of the Year award winner was Leigh Centurions coach Paul Rowley, who beat off competition from Daryl Powell, John Kear and Karl Harrison to earn the award in his first season in charge.
There were honours as well for the competition’s top match officials with George Stokes, who has refereed in 13 Championship games and seven Super League fixtures so far this season, earning the Referee of the Year award.
Touch-judge Paul Grundill was also awarded the Neil Whittaker Award for outstanding contributions to officiating, with the Egremont local having devoted the best part of two decades to the game.
2012 Co-operative Championships Award Winners
Championship Player of the Year: Liam Finn (Featherstone Rovers)
Championship Young Player of the Year: Alex Walmsley (Batley Bulldogs)
Championship Coach of the Year: Paul Rowley (Leigh Centurions)
Championship One Player of the Year: Paul Cooke (Doncaster)
Championship One Young Player of the Year: Elliott Miller (Workington Town)
Championship One Coach of the Year: Tony Miller (Doncaster)
Northern Star winner: Paul Cooke (Doncaster)
Neil Whittaker Award: Paul Grundill
Referee of the Year: George Stokes
Club of the Year: Featherstone Rovers (Championship) and Doncaster (Championship One)
Community Programme of the Year: Workington Town