Much-missed Gala coach is praised

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COLIN RAFFERTY’S outstanding contribution to local youth football was officially recognised at Gala Fairydean Youths’ end-of-season presentation night last Friday evening.

For the youth coach, who died in a motorcycle accident alongside his teenage son Keir last September, became the latest recipient of the Services to the Football Community in Galashiels award.

His wife Brenda attended the ceremony to receive the trophy on Colin’s behalf and spoke of his pride at seeing young players developing into adults.

Fairydean youth co-ordinator Fred Blackie added: “Colin gave countless hours of his time to ensure the kids were prepared not only to progress with their football careers but also to deal with life in general.

“His sudden death stunned everyone at the club and it took the players and coaches a long time to bounce back.

“He made a lasting impression on all the young players and his memory will live on thanks to this award.”

After the incredible achievement of 2009/10 when all the age level teams won their league titles, it was always going to be a hard season irrespective of the off-field events.

The under 13s coached by Mike Riddell and Fred and Sheila Blackie had a difficult start with only 12 signed players which meant difficulties in fulfilling fixtures.

But a recruitment campaign within Galashiels Academy brought a good response and the team finished the season on a high note, beating Hawick 2-1 in the final game.

Coaches’ player of the year went to Tom Burgess with Michael Louth picking up the players’ player trophy.

The under-14s, coached by Graham Brown and Robert Fairburn, experienced what can only be described as a rollercoaster season.

But with a healthy points return of 25 from 15 games they finished in a respectable league position as well as booking a place in the SBJFA Cup final to be played this Sunday.

Fraser Brown was voted players’ player, with David Cockburn winning the coaches’ player of the year.

The under-15s, coached by Eric, Angela and Jodie Jamieson alongside Paulo Dacosta, continued to show steady progress during the season and were rewarded with runners-up spot in the league table.

Danny Bolton was voted the players’ player and Ewan Nelson collected the coaches’ award.

The under-17s, coached by Kenny Donaldson and Leo Deluca had a very young squad this season and took time to settle. But as they progressed they produced some stunning performances.

Jay Lawson was the coaches’ player of the year and Danny Defiore won the players’ award.