Adam Yates was named as the fans Player of the Year at Matlock’s Presentation Evening on Friday before it was promptly revealed that 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 whether it be alongside captain James Lukic at the heart of the defence, at right back or 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 single goal Derbyshire Senior Cup semi final defeat a couple of weeks earlier.

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

“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 one hundred 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 that 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. 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. Obviously it means a hell of a lot to be recognised this way by the fans, I’m delighted to win any award but it means that little bit more when it comes from the fans and 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 that 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. Obviously I want to go as high as I can in the game and I would love it to be with Matlock and I’d like to see us kick on now and aim for promotion. My family all enjoy coming here to watch me, it’s a really good club with a great team spirit.”

On which position he would prefer to play in , Yates opted for the engine room.

“I think I can improve playing in central midfield, I’ve got the fitness and that was the plan at the start of the season but injuries meant that things didn’t turn out that way but I’ll play and do my best wherever the gaffer wants me to” he concluded.

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, while twenty four 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 Mel and Judy Beaumont. Mel is licensee of the Social Club and along with his wife Judy spends many hours each week in helping to run the Social Club.

Ian Richardson

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