The BOTW Player of the Year 2014/15Posted: 12/03/2015
After the nomination process and the votes of the Bison fans (and the usual couple of Swindon fans who always vote), the Council of Badass that is the BOTW player of the year panel were given 6 finalists to choose from. After deliberations the panel is pleased, on the one year anniversary of the club winning the EPL Cup, to announce our decision and the winner of this year’s “Edjis Brahmanis Trophy”.
Banners On The Wall Player of the Year 2014/15: #7 Kurt Reynolds
Now in his 7th season with the club, Reynolds is widely regarded as arguably not only the club’s best player but also one of the best defensive players in the league. As well as being part of the club’s double winning season last year, Reynolds was a first team all star and recently added the Basingstoke Sports Personality of the Year to his collection, saying he wished to remain with the club beyond the end of his current contract in 2016 with the hope of earning a testimonial with his home town team. Reynolds is the first defender and the first British player to win this website’s award after the wins of Joe Rand in 2013 and Tomas Karpov in 2014.
The rock at the heart of the Bison defence, the panel were quick to heap praise on Reynolds with Bison superfan Nigel “Moose” Simmonds calling Reynolds “the best Brit d-man ever to wear a Bison jersey.”
Hannah Driver added “even when Kurt has a bad game, he still plays pretty well” with Jamie Walker adding that Reynolds “just doesn’t make mistakes and that’s probably the biggest compliment you can give a d-man.”
#63 Aaron Connolly
Nominated for the second year in a row, Connolly is a popular member of the Bison roster with teammates and fans alike for his work rate and being a player that wears his heart on his sleeve. Grant King, Bison official photographer thoughts were indicative of the panels as a whole, “(He) never gives up, always wants the puck and keeps everyone focussed on the bench when our backs are against the wall.”
#97 Joe Greener
Player assistant/coach Greener, a man booed out of the building when he played for Slough has worked his way into the affections of Bison fans since the start of the Sheppard era with his clutch goals and general work ethic. Panel member Jamie Walker summed up Greener; “I’d say that probably 75% of the Bison offence goes through Greener at some point…consistent, a leader and a physical presence too.”
#89 Ciaran Long
The “youngest vet in the EPL, Long is the Bison’s leading goals and points scorer at the time of writing. The 24 year old is fast becoming one of the EPL’s premier British scorers and regularly has a trick up his sleeve to earn him a reputation as something of a wizard in the shootout. Nigel Simmonds summed up Long saying “he has all the moves and isn’t afraid to try something special at times. It doesn’t always come off but when he gets it right, he lights the lamp!”
#94 Stuart Mogg
20 year old Mogg has had a very interesting season and prompted a lot of discussion amongst the panel. When presenting Mogg with the “most improved player” award at the end of last season, Doug Sheppard admitted he’d told the locally born youngster at one time that he “wasn’t good enough for the EPL” but Mogg’s efforts, especially recently saw him added into the discussion. Having started the season as forward to ending the season taking regular shifts on defence and logging a lot of penalty kill time, Mogg appears to be finding his niche as a two-way player. Hannah Driver commented that Mogg “has really raised his game this season and is proving to be a versatile player who can slot into defence, does the job on the special lines and probably gets very little credit for his efforts.”
#18 Miroslav Vantroba
The only import to make this season’s final discussions, 35 year old Vantroba is at time of writing the highest scoring import defender in the league. As the others had a line on the other players I’m left with Vantroba, who I confess is one of my personal favourites to describe. Whist the points are a nice bonus, Vantroba’s reading of the game and passing ability lend him to be the perfect man to lead the Bison’s breakout. His checking and his big shot mark him out as probably the best import defender in the EPL this campaign.
I would like to extend a massive thanks to Nigel, Hannah, Jamie and Grant (visit the site, buy a print) for being on the panel again this year; I’ve called them the Council of Badass above because that’s what they are.
Congratulations to Kurt and we’ll work on getting the most drinkable trophy in sports to him before the end of the season.