While the red carpet would usually be rolled out for the entire squad and almost 1000 guests for a glittering black-tie ceremony on the hallowed Gardens turf, this year social-distancing guidelines saw the awards winners announced in a unique way via a conference call at the Franklin’s Gardens pop-up restaurant on Six Nations Super Saturday.
For the first time in a legendary 13-season career with Northampton Saints, Courtney Lawes scooped the Travis Perkins Supporters’ Player of the Season with an impressive 25% of the vote.
“This award really means a great deal to me, said the 87-cap England and British & Irish Lions international. “It’s one I haven’t won before – I’ve been pipped to the post a few times in the past by many great players – so it’s a fantastic feeling to finally pick one up.”
Second-row partner David Ribbans meanwhile claimed the Carlsberg Players’ Player of the Season prize.
The hard-hitting 25-year-old lock was voted as the winner by his teammates within Saints’ senior squad following a stellar season which saw him battle through two injury setbacks to make 17 appearances and score seven tries, earning himself a maiden England call-up in the process.
Ribbans said: “It was a frustrating start to the season for me obviously, getting an ankle injury and then a broken wrist.
“While the results did not go our way, I enjoyed my rugby in the second half of the season, and it is a great honour to be voted for this award by my teammates.”David Ribbans
“Getting the call into the England camp and training with the squad the last few weeks has been fantastic. It is obviously something I have been pushing for, so I was stoked to get involved.”
Meanwhile props Paul Hill and Emmanuel Iyogun were both also amongst the silverware, collecting the Michael Jones Jeweller Try of the Season and Church’s Breakthrough Player of the Season awards respectively.
Hill’s only try to date for the men in Black, Green and Gold was voted the best of the entire campaign, with the tighthead scything through the Leicester Tigers defence at Welford Road back in September.
And 19-year-old Iyogun was recognised for his standout performances in the face of a loosehead injury crisis at Franklin’s Gardens towards the end of the season, most notably during the Club’s European Champions Cup quarter-final clash against Exeter Chiefs.
Last but by no means least, centre Fraser Dingwall was named GRS Group Young Player of the Season, following a superb campaign which saw the former England U20 skipper score six tries in 24 appearances.
“This award is very special for me, just because of the number of really talented young players we do have within our squad,” Dingwall added.
“That really excites us; we know as a group we can continue to build and hopefully learn from the tough period at the back end of last season, develop and then kick on in the future.”
Several players also reached significant milestones during the 2019/20 season for making 50, 100 and 200 appearances for Northampton Saints, and will be awarded their Club caps in the coming weeks.
Northampton Saints 2019/20 End of Season Award winners
Carlsberg Players’ Player of the Season: David Ribbans
Travis Perkins Supporters’ Player of the Season: Courtney Lawes
GRS Group Young Player of the Season: Fraser Dingwall
Michael Jones Jeweller Try of the Season: Paul Hill
Church’s Breakthrough Player of the Season: Emmanuel Iyogun