Gareth Steenson admitted he was ‘lost for words’ after he was crowned Exeter Chiefs’ Player of the Year at their annual awards night.
In front of almost 600 people at the club’s Sandy Park Stadium, the Irish fly-half landed the highly sought after prize from his peers, beating off stiff competition from team-mates Don Armand and Will Chudley.
Steenson has enjoyed another stellar season in Exeter colours, not only topping the point-scoring charts in the Aviva Premiership, but also overtaking the long-standing record of Tony Yapp as the Devon club’s leading points-scorer.
He has also been part of an Exeter squad, who have not only qualified for the first time in the Premiership play-offs, but also advanced to the last eight of the European Champions Cup.
Handed the award by Richard Barr of Centrax and club president Bob Staddon, Steenson said: "To be honest this has taken me aback a little bit, I genuinely wasn’t expecting this at all. I’m very honoured to have picked up the award, particularly given the achievements of the squad this season.
"Right now I’m a little lost for words, but credit to all the lads on the season far, so let’s make it a great one!"
Whilst Steenson picked up the night’s main award, there was also success for the following players:
Jonny Hill – SW Comms Young Player of the Year
Olly Woodburn – Otter Brewery Try of the Season
Brett Sturgess – MJ Baker Clubman of the Year
Chrysander Botha – Nuffield Health Community Player of the Year
The Frobishers Top Try-Scorer Award could not be formally presented as there is still a game in the scheduled season to go, but leading scorer Thomas Waldrom, along with Olly Woodburn and James Short remain in the hunt for that prize.
As well as the awards themselves, club chief executive Tony Rowe OBE and head coach Rob Baxter addressed the audience with their own reviews of the season, while Mark Stevens conducted a special Q&A with Steenson, Jack Nowell, Geoff Parling and club captain Jack Yeandle.
An auction of signed first team playing shirts, together with other signed memorabilia and the raffle, helped to raise over £12,000 for the club’s official charity, the Exeter Foundation.
The night’s festivities, which also included a three-course meal created by Sandy Park head chef Denis Turner, was wrapped up with music from Session One.