Awards were made to recognise achievements in all three senior teams, with players from the Nailers first team, Under 21s and Academy squads enjoying their moment in the spotlight.
Club chairman Alan Benfield welcomed guests to the event and paid tribute to the work that Charlie Palmer and his management team had undertaken to turn the club around since their appointments in October.
He also expressed his delight at the successful integration of the Under 21s and Academy teams into the senior club structure, and congratulated them on their debut seasons.
Club director, Dave Laughlin hosted the award presentations and the Academy team was first to be recognised after their opening season exploits that saw them achieve second place in the Northern Premier League Academy League.
Although narrowly missing out on the league championship to Derbyshire rivals, Mickleover Sports on the final day of the season, the Nailers youngsters had the consolation of having two players selected for the NPL Academy ‘Team of the Season’.
Defender Sam Weston, son of the Nailers former manager Craig, was selected alongside midfielder Josh Craddock, both of whom had outstanding seasons for the club.
In addition, another three players - Josh Bullock, Dan Watson and Ethan Camm - have also been selected to represent the League in showcase representative matches against Oldham Athletic and Accrington Stanley later in the month.
The ultimate Academy League accolade, the NPL Academy Player of the Season, was won by Sam Weston who fought off the challenge of over 200 other students from the ten Academy teams in the league structure. The trophy was presented to Sam by Academy manager, Tom Donlon.
Rounding off the academy awards was the selection of the Manager’s Player of the Year, which was deservedly won by Josh Craddock, another player who has a tremendous future ahead of him.
Turning to the Under 21 team, it was acknowledged that their first season in the HKL North Midlands Youth Development League had been particularly tough.
With an average age of only 19, the team competed against teams and players that have been in the league for several seasons, but they produced a number of memorable team performances in their debut season.
The outstanding player, midfielder Mason Barker, was presented with the Player of the Year award by Under 21 team manager, Wynne Garnett.
Now, it was the turn of the first team players to take the plaudits, with the awards being presented by Nailers manager, Charlie Palmer.
The Young Player of the Year award was won by Laurence Constable, who made the transition from Under 21 football to the first team look ridiculously easy, when the reality is much more difficult.
Laurence integrated seamlessly into the first team squad and, under the guidance of manager Charlie Palmer, his overall game developed rapidly and he can now look forward to a regular place in the Nailers first team squad next season.
The ‘Goal of the Season’ award was won by Rob Stevenson, whose superb individual goal at Coalville Town in January warmed the hearts of Nailers supporters on a bitterly cold afternoon.
Picking up the ball on the half way line, Stevenson forced his way past three challenges and fired in a an unstoppable shot from 25 yards into the top corner of the net – a worthy winner of the award.
Despite only joining the club in November, Alex Steadman led the goal scoring charts with 24 goals, overhauling the goal exploits of former club striker, Evan Garnett, whose scoring record had earned him a deserved move to National League side, Kidderminster Harriers in January.
After making his 500th non-league appearance in the Derbyshire Senior Cup Final against Alfreton Town earlier in the week, Eric Graves was the manager’s choice as Player of the Year.
The award was greeted raucously by the Nailers supporters as Eric stepped up to receive the award from Charlie Palmer, testimony to the admiration that everyone in the game has for the Nailers skipper.
The Belper Town players themselves voted for their choice as Player of the Year but this was a close affair with the voting tied for two players who have been with the Nailers for the duration of the season.
Midfield playmaker, Johno Williams was the first to receive his award and in the absence of the other joint winner, Phil Watt who was unable to attend the event, goalkeeper Danny Haystead collected the award on his behalf.
Both players fully deserved their awards, not only for staying loyal to the club through the early season upheaval, but for their consistent performances under the stewardship of Charlie Palmer’s management team
Perhaps the loudest cheers of the night was for the presentation of the Belper News sponsored Supporters’ Player of the Year award which was voted upon by Belper News readers and supporters.
The choice of Eric Graves as the winner of the award was no surprise as he had been previously presented with the trophy at the Nailers last home game of the season.
But the award was greeted enthusiastically for this popular figure, who had also been selected by opposition managers in the NPL Division One South ’Team of the Year’ at a League awards ceremony a few weeks ago.
The night also included a Q & A session with Charlie Palmer along with players Eric Graves and Johno Williams, a raffle that generated £127, and a BTFC quiz which was won with maximum points by club press officer Sam Allsop and father Glyn.
All in all, a great night for everyone connected with the club.
Photos follow (Credit: Tim Harrison)
Eric Graves (Supporters' Player of the Year)
Updated 14:40 - 30 Apr 2016 by David Laughlin
Dan Haystead (collecting for Phil Watt) and John Williams (Joint Players' Player of the Year)
Eric Graves (Manager's Player of the Year)
Alex Steadman (Leading Goalscorer)
Rob Stevenson (Goal of the Season)
Laurence Constable (Young Player of the Year)
Mason Barker (Under 21 Player of the Year)
Josh Craddock (Academy Manager's Player of the Year)
Sam Weston (NPL Academy Player of the Year)
Q & A with Charlie Palmer, Johno Williams and Eric Graves)