Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Judge ends ‘brilliant’ season by winning Albion’s player of the year award

Christian judge receives award of Graham Dawe

CHRISTIAN JUDGE ended an impressive debut season in National One by claiming Plymouth Albion’s official player of the year award.

The 23-year-old prop featured in all-but one of Albion’s 30 league games, helping them to 22 wins, and he also earned selection for England Counties squad.

The former Callington Community College pupil admits it has been a ‘brilliant’ season for him after joining the club in the summer following a year at Launceston.

The player insists he owes his success to Graham Dawe.

“It has been a brilliant year,” said Judge.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone – the other guys, staff, coaches, especially Graham, who has had a huge impact on me this season.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Graham. I am so thankful he gave me an opportunity.”

Judge admitted he and the other players were disappointed by the decision by the new owners of Albion, Dave Venables and Bruce Priday, to ask Dawe to stand down as coach two games before the end of the season.

Cornwall player Judge has since opted to sign for Championship side Bedford Blues.

“I am sad to leave,” said Judge. “But I am looking forward to the future. I do wish Plymouth all the best for next season.

“I can’t lie, working with Graham this year has been an honour and a privilege. Personally, I have learnt a huge amount of him. He has given me an awful lot of time.

“I have got unlimited amount of time and respect for Graham and I was incredibly disappointed when we found out he was not going to be here for the rest of the season.

“Ultimately you have to make choices for yourself sometimes and going to Bedford is a fantastic opportunity for me. It is a step up and hopefully it will help me long term in my career.

“I’m looking forward to joining a great team.”

Before moving, Judge is hoping to play again for Cornwall. However, his participation in the County Championship is in doubt after suffering a shoulder injury in Albion’s final day 40-39 away win over champions Richmond.

“I had an injury in my right shoulder before and this feels like a similar thing,” said Judge. “Hopefully, it is not too bad.”

The injury forced Judge to come off six minutes from time in London, with Albion 40-33 up. Richmond, however, hit back and scored a penalty try and then nearly snatched a last-gasp winner.

“I really, really don’t like coming off the pitch,” said Judge. “I was going to stay on but sometimes you have to know when to look after yourself.

“It was very disappointing to come off, but pleased we won the game.

“We went there to finish off the season with a bang – and I think that was a pretty big bang.”

Christian Judge (centre), Tristan Lark (left), Graham Dawe (right)

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