Durham Women midfielder Beth Hepple was crowned as the North East Football Writers’ women’s player of the year in a star-studded awards ceremony on Sunday evening.
Hepple was handed the award after raking up votes from esteemed football writers across the region, joining the likes of Steph Houghton and Beth Mead in claiming the top prize.
The midfielder joined the likes of Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, ex-Sunderland striker Josh Maja and former England captain Alan Shearer in being honoured on the night.
And while she admitted she was shocked to be handed the award, she was delighted to see her performances recognised.
“I’m honoured to receive the award and be in and around the names that have won it before,” said Hepple.
“It’s amazing for myself and my family and I’m delighted.
“I was a bit shocked, really, because of some of the names that have won it before.
“I don’t actually think I’ve had my best year on the pitch, in comparison to some before, but hopefully the award has come off the back of all the work I’ve put in since I was younger.
“Things like these help spur you on, and help show me why I do what I do.”
Manager Lee Sanders was also pleased for Hepple, and praised her conduct both on and off the field in helping her scoop the honour.
“I think it’s a huge achievement for her,” he admitted.
“She’s still only 22, has years left in the game and has achieved a fair bit so far”
“She’s been an almost ever present in the team since we came into the WSL and that’s reflective of her commitment to training – which she never misses – the standards she sets for herself, the work rate she delivers continuously in games every week and the influence she has had in games in terms of important goals at important times in the game”
“Shes worked hard in her academic career as well and this being recognised is great for her and the club.
“If an individual is doing well then it reflects the club doing well, and it shows young players the rewards that can come from playing well.”