End of season celebrations for Banbridge Rangers

Banbridge Rangers First Team awards winners.
Banbridge Rangers First Team awards winners.

BANBRIDGE Rangers Football Club held their Senior Awards night in the Coach last Saturday evening with players from all three Senior Mens teams in attendance along with the Under 18s and members of the committee.

Chairman Richard McMinn spoke of the disappointment of not having any silverware to display for the first time in many years but was clear that this would be put right next year.

The Chairman went on to congratulate the First Team on turning around a difficult opening to their first season in the top flight and acknowledged the disappointment of not sustaining a title challenge despite a run of eight consecutive wins after the start of the year. Finishing fifth place had left great disappointment amongst the squad but it is testament to the standards set at the club which will no doubt set them up for a bigger push next season.

The Chairman also congratulated the Reserves who compete in highest tier of football available to them and they have built a squad of teenagers who have shown the ability but not the consistancy required to challenge at the other end of the league but that a good pre season would put this right. There was also praise for the Mens third team who continue to defy the odds in the Reserve Divisions by securing back to back promotions against all other clubs Seconds teams.

The awards for the first team saw Club Captain Colin Cousins walk off with both the Players Player of the Season and the Top Goalscorer awards. Both were fully deserved for a player who has been an ever present in the Rangers squad since 18 and became the clubs all time top scorer last month with 83 goals to his name so far despite playing the majority of his career to date in the back line and in midfield.

Mark Wilton’s impressive season as the heartbeat for the Rangers team was rewarded with both the Managers Player of the Year award along with the Supporters Player of the Year award. Ryan Gregg also picked up Young Player of the Year for the second successive season and the most Improved Player went to Matthew McKnight who has become an integral part of the Rangers set up and has many years ahead of him to break records for the club.

The Reserves saw their three senior players rewarded with Prizes for their character and example shown to the squad with Wayne Nelson being selected as the Players Player of the Year. Brian Chievers picked up Managers Player of the Year and keeper Jonny Parkes was rewarded with Improved Player of the Year. With so many young players establishing themselves in the Reserve set up it was a difficult choice for Young Player which was presented to Matthew McCrum who never missed training all season and made the breakthrough into the First Team. Top Goalscorer Award went to Andy McLarty who also forged his way onto the first team this season and is another young player with great promise.

The Swifts had another successful year and under the guidance of Robin Butler they secured promotion thanks to some key players including the dominating centre half partnership of David Smyth who picked up Players Player of the Year and Scott McAllister who picked up Improved Player of the Year. John McCahon’s invaluable 29 goals saw him pick up Top Goalscorer whilst captain Neily Wilson walked away with Managers Player of the Year. Centre midfielder Scott Lindsay was selected as Young Player of the Year for the Swifts.

Clubman of the Year was split between John Patterson and Mark Wilson who have both shown incredible graft to take the club as a whole and in particular the Youth Academy to another level this season. There was a newly presented Merit Award presented by Andy Frazer this season and it went to Richard McMinn for services to Banbridge Rangers Football Club which including being a founder member, Player, Captain, Coach, Manager, PR Officer, Secretary and Chairman. An impressive CV for someone only into their thirties and who has put everything into making Banbridge Rangers the club it is today.

The Chairman Richard McMinn invited all players, coaches, parents and members to attend the AGM which will take place in the Royal British Legion on Thursday May 23 at 8.00pm sharp. There will also be an opportunity for all players to register for next season and the blueprint for Banbridge Rangers’ future will be presented.