Jon Dunham’s unofficial AFC Rushden & Diamonds player of the year – Liam Dolman.
I can assure you, this one was tough. Really tough. Indeed, I changed my mind a few times before finally sticking with Diamonds’ captain.
There have to be some honorary mentions here. Goalkeeper Ben Heath, top scorer Ben Farrell with 19 goals from midfield, wingers Luke Fairlamb and Joel Gyasi and strikers Ryan Robbins and Tom Lorraine were all in the frame for this after making significant contributions in a promotion-winning campaign.
But, in the end, this had to come down to the Diamonds’ main strength during the Evo-Stik South League East season and that was their defending.
And Dolman, not for the first time, was the colossal rock at the heart of that defensive effort.
He took over as captain on a permanent basis following the departure of Richard Bunting and proved to be a true leader as he ensured a switch to three at the back during the campaign worked a treat for boss Andy Peaks.
By his standards, the big centre-half probably would have expected to score more goals than he did during the season.
But his main job is to ensure the ball stays out of his team’s net and he, along with the likes of Heath, Sam Brown, Jack Ashton and Blaize Punter helped ensure Diamonds’ defences were breached just 25 times in 42 league matches.
Every team needs a talisman and Dolman is certainly that at Hayden Road. He’s almost part of the furniture and one of those players where the expectancy is always there that he will do his job and do it well.
Once again, he did just that and it certainly didn’t go unnoticed.