26th October 2020, Nottingham, UK: The winner of the inaugural Alred Trophy, a competition founded by legendary kicking coach Dave Alred aimed at unearthing Great Britain and Ireland’s next best kicker, was crowned at Nottingham Rugby on Sunday 25th October.
Joshua Bellamy (15) of Trinity School in Croydon took home the ultimate prize for the best goalkicker on the day, with 75% accuracy in a sudden death conversion challenge that saw him come from behind to clutch the final.
The competition was the first of its kind, based on the highly successful NFL Combine, and is a product of The Kickers’ Club, a coaching platform led by Alred and other rugby kicking experts including World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year and England international Emily Scarratt and former professional Tony Yapp who were both in attendance on the day.
Talented up and coming rugby kickers from across the country were put to the test on a range of kicking discplines, designed to test their power, accuracy and performance under pressure. Each test was designed to simulate a match-based scenario including; Longest Drive, Hang time and Target Restart, as well as the ultimate prize of the Best Goalkicker and the Alred Trophy.
The winner of each high pressure kicking challenge took home a prize and bragging rights heading into next year’s competition.
Speaking after slotting the final kick to take home the trophy, Bellamy said, “It was great to win after missing my first attempt right in front and then to come back from there. I knew there was a lot of pressure given what was at stake, but as soon as the hardest technical kick went over I felt a lot more confident and comfortable.”
On hand to present the award was Red Roses kicker Emily Scarratt, one of The Kickers’ Club’s newest coach signings.
She said, “Joshua showed great performance under pressure to come back from missing his first kick right out in front, to then nail the others at the business end of the competition which is not an easy task. The young talent on display here today is a great example of the depth we’ve got coming through the ranks. The Alred Trophy is the perfect way to showcase that talent and give them the opportunity to develop that side of their game and test themselves against others their age.”
Harry Carson (16) of Millfield School came out on top for the Longest Drive with an incredible 57.4m long kick out of the hands in strong cross winds and the highest average of 44.8m from five attempts. Carson also won the Longest Drive off the tee with a 57.8m distance, a great demonstration of his power and technique.
Charlie Davison (18) of Cheltenham College won Hang Time, a competition to test accuracy and time in the air, hitting two out of five targets and a total of 53.6 seconds air-time out of five attempts.
After a sudden death tie breaker, Ben Jones (17) of Loughborough Grammar School and Loughborough RFC took out the Target Restart challenge nailing the most targets of the kickers under immense pressure towards the end of the day.
Named after Jonny Wilkinson’s world renowned kicking coach and author of The Pressure Principle, Dave Alred MBE, the Alred Trophy is aimed at merging rugby and entertainment in a showcase of exceptional skill and talent, while helping to broaden interest in rugby as a supplement to the modern game and to provide further opportunities for up and coming kickers to test themselves against the best.
Over a career that has seen Dave Alred involved in World Cup triumphs, Lions Tours and even a stint in the NFL, he has and continues to work with the biggest names in the game including Beauden Barrett, James O’Connor, Stuart Barnes, Jonathan Webb, Matt Burke, Morné Steyn, Rob Andrew, Jonny Sexton, George Ford and Jonny Wilkinson and is currently the kicking coach for the Queensland Reds.
In addition to being crowned the very first Alred Trophy champion, Sunday’s winner Joshua Bellamy also received a 12 month scholarship to The Kicker’s Club, including mentoring from the best kicking coaches in the world including Dave Alred.
“The scholarship will be amazing for my kicking development and will be great to help my team back home as kicking is a really important part of our game. My favourite player is Beauden Barrett, so I’m looking forward to receiving tips from Dave Alred, the same coach that now coaches him.”
Organisers now have their sights on a future international series comprising a number of domestic qualifying competitions culminating in a global event to find the best U18 kicker in the world.
To find out more and to see the full results of Sunday’s competition head to https://schoolofkicking.com/