Brett Wilkinson capped an incredible turn around by steering the Herbert Smith Freehills HKU Sandy Bay Prems to an against-the-odds Grand Championship Final victory in March. And to put the icing on the cake, he was awarded the HKRU Men's Coach of the Year Award at the annual awards dinner last week.
Wilkinson came to Hong Kong in 2017 and was thrown into the deep end of the Cricket Club pool. 2017/18 was a wretched season, winning just 1 from 15, and 2018/19 was heading the same way, come late January.
But he slowly assembled his coaching team, put in the building blocks and started to get the best out of his players. The hard work paid off as the Sandy Bay prems went on a 7-win hot streak to propel themselves from the bottom on the Premiership in January to an unlikely Grand Championship victory in the torrential rain at King’s Park and with the vocal support of the entire club.
He played a prominent coaching role with the HK U19’s team and more recently he is the scrum coach for the Men’s National 15’s squad and the South China Tigers.
Grant Beuzeval, Sandy Bay General Manager, observed that, "outsiders will see the grand final trophy and not know of the two-season struggle that Brett, and a lot of the players, had been through. Coming back from that was an incredible display of perserverance, endurance and bloody-mindedness. I am incredibly proud of him and the team".
Wilkinson chipped in with appreciation of his wider squad, "It was a great honor and privilege to win the award on the night. It capped off a great evening and a great season for the club. I could not have done it without the players, coaches and support staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make my job easier. Lastly I want to thank my family, friends and my wife Patrice for all the support they have given me”