Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division Player of the Year Elliott Durrell believes that winning the NPL’s accolade is another big step towards fulfilling his dream of playing professional football.
Hednesford's Durrell revealed afterwards that he'd been 'ecstatic' to step on stage to collect his award from Doncaster Rovers manager Brian Flynn at last Sunday's 2013 Players of the Year Awards in Barnsley, pictured, after coming back from serious knee injury that effectively wiped out the season before last.
Still only 23, the striker thanked his teammates for their part in helping him through his time out and eventual return to fitness. He said: "I’m ecstatic. This is a massive achievement for me after the season I endured with a bad injury. It's brilliant, really quite an achievement and all because I've got a great bunch of lads who have got me through it.
"I'm just going to keep working hard now after winning this award and coming back from the season of my injury. I think every player who plays at football at any level always strives to play at the best level possible and that is what I am going to continue trying to do, to keep working hard and scoring goals and hopefully I’ll get my chance in the full-time game."
The former AFC Telford forward who joined the Pitmen back in 2008 was one of 39 players who collected their trophies from Flynn, the other winners coming from divisional teams of the year, players of the year and young players of the year.
Curzon Ashton's Kristian Dennis and Halesowen's Ben Haseley took home the First Division North and First Division South Player of the Year honours while in the only non-players award of the night, Matlock Town Chief Executive Keith Brown was presented with a Merit Award for his services to the Evo-Stik NPL and the Football Association.
Kidsgrove Athletic's Jack Sherratt, fresh from winning Samsung's 'Win a Pro Contract' competition last weekend and signing for Leyton Orient, was named as the First Division South Young Player of the Year while the First Division North award went to Skelmersdale United's Gary Burnett. AFC Fylde's Sean Cooke took the Premier Division's accolade.
Hosted by John Jones and Evo-Stik NPL Chairman Mark Harris, the awards are now in their second year after last season's inaugural event also took place at the four star Brooklands Holiday Inn Barnsley. The brainchild of former Manchester City keeper and NPL stalwart Alan Ogley, the awards are unique in the top levels of Non-Football with the focus on recognising the league's star players and the winners chosen by managers and coaches. Guests enjoyed a three course dinner and entertainment from one of the North's top comedians, Lea Roberts, the former Rugby League professional.
Media students from Barnsley College played a key role planning and running the event for the second year running, organising everything from the sound and lighting to filming the awards for internet highlights which will available to view from Monday on the homepage.
Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division Team of the Year
GK Ben Hinchliffe (AFC Fylde)
RB Kyle Jacobs (FCUM)
LB Mathew Wood (Witton Albion)
CH Adam Jones (FCUM)
CH Marc Roberts (Buxton)
M Elliott Durrell (Hednesford)
M Sean Cooke (Fylde)
M Michael Barnes (Fylde)
F Ryan Kendall (NFU)
F Anthony Wilson (NFU)
F Gavin Allott (Frickley Athletic)
Evo-Stik NPL First Division North Team of the Year
GK Samuel Ashton (Skelmersdale Utd)
RB Lewis Field (Skelmersdale Utd)
LB Louis Corrigan (Skelmersdale Utd)
CH Tom Hardwick (Skelmersdale Utd)
CH Nia Bayunu (Trafford)
M Carlos Meakin (New Mills)
M Samuel Walker (Curzon Ashton)
M Gary Stopforth (Ramsbottom United)
F Kristian Dennis (Curzon Ashton)
F Michael Oates (Trafford)
F Lee Gaskell (Ramsbottom United)
Evo-Stik NPL First Division South Team of the Year
GK Sean Bowles (Coalville Town)
RB Daniel Smith (Leek Town)
LB Cameron Stuart (Coalville Town)
CH Philip Gulliver (King’s Lynn Town)
CH Michael Nottingham (Gresley)
M Stephen Spriggs (King’s Lynn Town)
M Andrew Hall (Stamford)
M Daniel Shelley (Leek Town)
F Ben Haseley (Halesowen)
F Ricky Miller (Stamford)
F Ryan Robbins (Coalville Town)
Image courtesy of Graham Lindley