Yates takes top honour – and then signs a new contract

Pictured left to right are Micky Harcourt, Adam Yates, Joe Leesley and Lewis McMahon with the awards they collected at the Matlock Town presentation evening.
Pictured left to right are Micky Harcourt, Adam Yates, Joe Leesley and Lewis McMahon with the awards they collected at the Matlock Town presentation evening.

Adam Yates was named fans’ Player of the Year at Matlock Town’s presentation evening on Friday – before it was promptly revealed he had signed a new contract with the Gladiators.

The 23-year-old, regarded as one of the most consistent defenders in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division, proved to be a comfortable winner having excelled all season, whether it be alongside captain James Lukic at the heart of the defence, at right-back, or by slotting into central midfield.

He has improved season after season since signing for Matlock from Shirebrook Town in March 2009 following an impressive display against the Gladiators in a Derbyshire Senior Cup semi-final a couple of weeks earlier.

Town boss Mark Atkins reckons the supporters made the correct choice.

He said: “He fully deserves it, he’s been outstanding all season in whatever position he’s been asked to play.

“He’s had a bad hip for three or four months now but he’s battled on, always giving no less than 100 per cent, and you wouldn’t have known the pain he was in. He’s a great player to have in the squad.”

Atkins was naturally delighted Yates had penned a new deal at the Reynolds Stadium.

“The contract’s been agreed and Adam has signed it which is great news for everyone connected with the club,” he added.

“You always want to keep your best players and Adam undoubtedly fits into that category.”

A modest Yates says the award came as a surprise.

“I’m shocked, surprised and really don’t know what to say,” he said.

“Obviously it means a lot to be recognised this way by the fans. I’d like to take this opportunity not only to thank them for this award but for their tremendous support shown to me and the team since I’ve been here.”

Yates added there was never any real question that he would sign a new deal with the Gladiators.

“I’d no hesitation in deciding to stay here, things were being sorted out well before the end of the season and it’s the right deal for me,” he said.

On a night when the reserve team and Under-19 awards were also given out in front of a packed audience in the Matlock Town Social Club, Micky Harcourt won the Players’ Player award, while 24-goals were sufficient to see Steven Greenhough present his Goalscorer of the Season trophy to Lewis McMahon.

Up and coming striker Joe Leesley was named as the club’s Young Player of the Season.

The Clubman of the Year award was won jointly by husband and wife team Mel and Judy Beaumont.

Mel is licensee of the Social Club and, along with Judy, spends many hours each week in helping to run the facility.