Falkirk Fury: Basketball brilliance highlighted as club celebrate unprecedented success at annual awards night

Falkirk Fury's senior women's players' player of the year Abby Rutter was presented with her award by the Falkirk Herald's sports reporter Ben Kearney (Photo: Alex Johnson)Falkirk Fury's senior women's players' player of the year Abby Rutter was presented with her award by the Falkirk Herald's sports reporter Ben Kearney (Photo: Alex Johnson)
Falkirk Fury's senior women's players' player of the year Abby Rutter was presented with her award by the Falkirk Herald's sports reporter Ben Kearney (Photo: Alex Johnson)
Falkirk Fury’s basketball brilliance was highlighted last Friday evening at the club’s annual awards night – with coaches, players and volunteers taking home the coveted prizes on offer.

Led by club founder and head coach John Bunyan, Sony Centre sponsored Fury’s senior men sealed a historic SBC treble; winning the Division One title, the Play-Offs and the Scottish Cup trophy.

And that sort of stunning success was spread across the club’s 16 teams, with Fury picking up a whopping eight out of the 20 top national titles on offer to Scottish clubs last season.

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Over 50 awards were handed out at the fun-filled ceremony held at Larbert High School, with 300 family members and Fury fans turning out despite the pull of Scotland’s Euro 2024 send-off fixture and Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour hitting Edinburgh.

Ewan Carlow won the Margaret Bunyan Memorial award and he received the top prize from Spanish star basketballer Maria Mongomo (Photo: Alex Johnson)Ewan Carlow won the Margaret Bunyan Memorial award and he received the top prize from Spanish star basketballer Maria Mongomo (Photo: Alex Johnson)
Ewan Carlow won the Margaret Bunyan Memorial award and he received the top prize from Spanish star basketballer Maria Mongomo (Photo: Alex Johnson)

Falkirk Herald sports reporter Ben Kearney presented some of the prizes alongside professional Spanish star Maria Mongomo and former Fury players Megan Bardsley, Taylor Bardsley and Danielle McNamara.

The senior men’s squad took home the team of the year award for their clean sweep of Scotland’s top honour, just pipping the double-winning junior men and cadette women winning teams.

Club player of the year was another coveted prize and that award went to cadette women ace Rachel Dagger. She helped the team seal a double while also stepping up to the junior under-18s team.

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Scotland youth player Dagger has also earned a call-up to a national team training camp in Spain this summer, and he countless hours on and off the court were recognised.

Jack Shand was named Fury's men's under-18s most valuable player and he received his award from ex-Fury player Taylor Bardsley (Photo: Alex Johnson)Jack Shand was named Fury's men's under-18s most valuable player and he received his award from ex-Fury player Taylor Bardsley (Photo: Alex Johnson)
Jack Shand was named Fury's men's under-18s most valuable player and he received his award from ex-Fury player Taylor Bardsley (Photo: Alex Johnson)

The coach of year was a family affair with John in contention up against daughter Kim, cadette women coach, and son Keith, junior men coach and senior men’s captain.

And it was Fury legend Keith who took home the prize. He has played his part in securing five trophies for the club last season just a year on from battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Gary Smith was named club volunteer for his role as one of Fury’s photographers – capturing all of the club’s 16 teams throughout the season. Alongside Alex Johnson, he has shown his prowess behind the lens, while also helping illustrate Fury’s reports in the sports section of the Herald.

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Looking further afield, the international Fury player of the year went to former Falkirk star Fraser Malcolm for his impressive campaign with BBL side Caledonia Gladiators.

Fury coach Rachel Penman took home the Provost's young coach of the year trophy and she received the prize from Spanish basketballer Maria Mongomo (Photo: Alex Johnson)Fury coach Rachel Penman took home the Provost's young coach of the year trophy and she received the prize from Spanish basketballer Maria Mongomo (Photo: Alex Johnson)
Fury coach Rachel Penman took home the Provost's young coach of the year trophy and she received the prize from Spanish basketballer Maria Mongomo (Photo: Alex Johnson)

Having been named in the top three most improved BBL players last term, the sharpshooter continues to improve on the biggest stage – while stile remembering his Fury roots, just like a host of Gladiators’ past and present.

The Provost’s young player of the year prize went to popular mentor Rachel Penman for her role in the development of the girls’ under-14s squad. She has also coached across the age groups while playing for the senior women’s two top teams.

Fellow youth coach Ewan Carlow was an award winner, taking home the Margaret Bunyan memorial trophy awarded for excellence and dedication to the Fury cause.

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In his role as cadet men’s head coach, he brought the team on ten-fold while also acting as assistant coach to the double-winning junior men’s squad.

Fury trio Daisy Lawson, Callum Alexander and Daniel Velycyy were the Special K endeavour award winners for their outstanding team ethic and effort shown throughout the campaign.

The prize, named in honour of former basketball legend Bobby Kinzer – who starred for Falkirk team Team Solripe back in the day at the Coasters Arena – is approved by the man himself.

Lawson was most valuable player in the cadette women’s Scottish Cup final victory and she also coaches across Fury’s schools programme. Junior men’s two Alexander has coached, refereed and tabled across the season while most improved ace Velycyy earned a promotion to the senior men’s teams after impressing for the junior men.

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The men’s star of the future went to Taylan Ertekin while the women’s prize went to Bethany Sneddon.

Full list of award winners

Player of the year winners: U10 boy; Rory McGinley. U12 girl; Charlotte Sneddon. U12 boy; Josh Bunyan. Senior women two; Gillian Baird. Senior men two; David Black.

Most improved player winners: U14 girl; Tia Quinn. U14 boy; Jan Adamski. U16 women; Poppy Duncan. U16 men; Oliver Coffey. U16 men two; Kade Perry. U18 women two; Eilidh Jack. U18 men; Daniel Velycyy. U18 men two; Daniel McKee. Senior women; Lucy Rafferty. Senior women; Ziggy Dauksas.

Players’ player winners: U14 girl; Ruby Cruickshanks. U14 boy; Will Claydon. U16 women; Bethany Sneddon. U16 men; Adama Hainey. U16 men two; Jaime Gonzales. U18 women; Edie McBain. U18 men; Liam Bouch. U18 men two; Callum McDevitt. Senior women; Abby Rutter. Senior men; Eddie Leginas.

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Most valuable player winners: U14 girl; Grace Howorth. U14 boy; Will Claydon. U16 women; Rachel Dagger. U16 men; Andrew Henderson. U16 men two; Fraser Blair. U18 women; Edie McBain. U18 men; Jack Shand. U18 men two; Callum McDevitt. Senior women; Shannon Flippard. Senior men; Ali Fraser.

Fury’s international players

Fury players included in Scotland national team squad’s last season.

U14s: Wil Claydon, Jack Webster, Tia Quinn.

U16s: Adama Hainey, Andrew Henderson, Taylan Ertekin, Oliver Coffey, Rachel Dagger, Bethany Sneddon. U

U18s: Jack Shand, Alex Low, Dylan Low, Edie McBain.

Seniors: Ali Fraser, Murray Hendry, Greg Foussas, Rebecca Lonsdale, Gillian Williamson.

GB senior maxi-45s: Keith Bunyan.

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‘Thanks go to everyone invovled’

Falkirk Fury head coach John Bunyan thanked everyone invovled with the club for making it another special basketball season, saying: “I have to thank our three main sponsors Sony Centre, RJM Sports and Bee Copy and our club partners Falkirk Council sports development and Active Schools.

"We have over hundreds of players invovled with our own 200-odd thanks to the work we do with the council. I have to also thank Community Choices Falkirk, Sport Scotland and Basketball Scotland.

"The JrNBA programmes have also proved to be key for our players. Special thanks also go to our 23 coaches, 21 table officials, six match officials and game day organisers.

"Our 16 amazing teams couldn’t run without their help and without the support of Gillian Thomson and her brilliant committee. A big thanks also to go the staff at our key venues; Falkirk High School, Larbert High School, Grangemouth Sports Complex and Carronvale.

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"EB Scotland’s funding has allowed us to continue our work in the community in schools, and to allow us to have the correct equipment in place.

"Mike Pirie our club chaplain also deserves a special mention.

"Our thanks also to go to club sponsor Zaccarelli. Ali and the team put on a fabulous buffet at our awards night and we look forward to working more with our latest partners.

“Finally, a big thank you to the Falkirk Herald for their continued support in promoting the club and basketball. Special thanks go to Ben Kearney for attending our awards night.”

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