The Scottish Club Rugby awards were held on Friday night with Bernie Mitchell named the winner of the Spirit of Rugby award. 

Mitchell has been associated with Hillhead Jordanhill for half a century having first joined them in 1974 and has been a player, match secretary, club secretary, director of rugby, vice president, sevens convenor, minis convenor and president on two occasions during his time.

While he originally joined Hillhead RFC, he was there for the amalgamation with Jordanhill in 1988 and continues to play a big role in the club. He is now the honorary president and he’s been recognised at the Murrayfield event with the Spirit of Rugby award.

It brought an end to an evening where 14 awards were handed out and he admits that it takes a lot of resilience to get the job done in the club game. 

Mitchell said he never set out with the intention of winning awards like this - but he does intend on bringing his time in the game to an end next year.

Scotland Rugby News: Bernie Mitchell receives his award

He said: “It’s recognition. All of us require recognition. I haven’t courted it in any way, it’s just happened. I haven’t set out with a view of winning the spirit of rugby award. That was never an aim or an objective, it’s just happened.

“I could have spoken a lot more there about the spirit of rugby. In my opinion it’s founded on resilience. I could tell you in seasons Hillhead Jordanhill played 66 games and won seven, so how do you deal with that and how do you keep the club going?

"It’s resilience and meeting those problems in an amateur sport because of the cyclical nature of the players and everything in life, that’s what it is. It’s resilience.

“It’s given me things like this which weren’t intentioned. It’s given me friendship, fun and camaraderie, the feeling of inclusion and meeting people. All the essentials of what you want in your life, the good things."

The award ceremony started with the National Young Person award which saw Murrin Thomson pick that up for her impressive work on and off the pitch as a player and coach, as well as leading the way in community efforts. 

Scotland Rugby News:

The youth volunteer of the season award went to Dalkeith's Steven Halliday, while Ross Ledger of Braes High School in Falkirk won the schools volunteer award and Stewarts Melville College's Jason Conlin got the adult volunteer one.

Johnny Sims picked up the prize for community match official of the season before the national league men’s and women’s player awards were given.

Aberdeen Grammar’s Craig Shepard earned the men’s while Merryn Gunderson picked up the women’s award.

Gunderson plays for Corstorphine Cougars and then was impressive for Edinburgh in the Celtic Challenge, before earning a Scotland call-up for the 2024 Women’s Six Nations.

Kilmarnock's Robbie Colman picked up the regional men’s league player award while 39-year-old Falkirk star Emma McKinnon got the women’s version and Rob McDowell was the national league match official of the season.

Dunfermline’s Finlee Horton then won the men’s try of the season while Jen Treacy of Bishopton RFC picked up the women’s try of the season award. 

Dalkeith RFC were handed the award for community club of the year, much to the delight of an emotional president Jamie Simpson.

He said: "I wasn't expecting it. We were pleased to win East Region Club of the Year and were delighted to be part of it. I do think the club deserves it, we've put so much work in over 10 years to get here.

"A lot of things came together. The growth of our girls rugby, we only had a handful of youth players last season and now we have U14s and U16s.

"Our women's team went from four players to 33 players and reached a national final, our colts reached two finals this season, our seniors won the league and everything just came together and it's just been a fantastic season and what a way to finish it."