Scottish Building Society POTM : 2021/22 recap

Scottish Building Society POTM : 2021/22 recap

​The Scottish Building Society Player of the Month initiative has a been a brilliant success in its first year of running with the club’s Main Partner donating over £3500 to the respective winners’ chosen charities throughout the 2021/22 campaign.

From supporting the humanitarian crisis arising from the war in Ukraine to backing the club’s physio Jamie Coffey as he takes part in a 450-mile relay from Gretna Green to John O’Groats in aid of the Simpsons Special Care Babies Charity, there have been some brilliant causes supported by Scottish Building Society in the initiative’s inaugural season.

With the 2021/22 campaign now in the books, we take a look back at the seven winners and their chosen charities supported by Scottish Building Society...

October Player of the Month: Ben Vellacott

Scrum-half Ben Vellacott capped off an electric start to life in the capital when he was voted Scottish Building Society Player of the Month for October.

Vellacott was in scintillating form after joining the club from Wasps this past summer, scoring four tries in five appearances for the capital side, while the scrum-half picked up back-to-back Player of the Match award in rounds one and two of the URC.

Chosen charity: North Devon Hospice

Vellacott’s charity of choice was the North Devon Hospice and it was a cause that sat very close to the scrum-half’s heart.

“It’s place quite far away – it’s the North Devon Hospice,” said Vellacott. “It’s somewhere that’s very close to both mine and my family’s heart, so hopefully this donation will help them continue to do great work moving forward.

“I’m massively thankful to Scottish Building Society for such a generous donation.”

December Player of the Month: Magnus Bradbury

The back-row capped off an excellent end to 2021 by becoming Edinburgh Rugby's 36th club centurion, making his 100th appearance in the home bonus-point victory over Benetton, a game in which Bradbury was also named Player of the Match.

It was in the bonus-point away win over Dragons that Bradbury was perhaps at his most devastating however, with the back-row bulldozing though the Welsh side's defence on more than one occasion.

Bradbury was a brick wall in defence in December, with the former Oban man making huge defensive plays at integral moments in the capital club’s three consecutive victories throughout November/ December.

Chosen charity: Macmillan Cancer Support

Scottish Building Society donated £500 to Macmillan Cancer Support with Bradbury selecting the charity who’ve supported some of his family members.

Bradbury said: “The charity I have chosen is Macmillan Cancer Support. I have a few family members that have suffered or are suffering from cancer at the moment, so any donation they can get is brilliant.

“It’s great that we’re able to support a charity that means so much to me. I’m delighted that this donation will play a part in supporting some of the brilliant work they do in providing aid to those under their care.”

January Player of the Month: Mark Bennett

The outside centre kicked off 2022 in rampant form, helping Edinburgh on their way to big wins against Cardiff Rugby and CA Brive at DAM Health Stadium back in January.

Bennett's performance against Cardiff will live long in the memory of Edinburgh supporters. The Cumnock-man caught the eye immediately against the Welsh capital side, bursting through the defence to set up Emiliano Boffelli to score in the corner.

Bennett went one better, acrobatically finishing in the corner himself, before scoring a solo effort late on to put the match to bed.

The numbers backed up his impressive display, as he made 135 metres and nine tackle breaks against the Welsh side. Bennett also bagged a score in the 10-try victory against CA Brive, capping off a great week as the centre was subsequently recalled to the Scotland squad for the 2022 Guinness Six Nations.

Chosen charity: Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity

Bennett's charity of choice was the local Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity. Based in the Scottish capital, the charity helps seriously ill babies, children and young people by supporting their medical care, mental health and family’s wellbeing.

On the donation, Bennett said: "We want to engage with the local area, and the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital do brilliant work, so it was a really easy choice for me."

February Player of the Month: Connor Boyle

Hot-shot flanker Connor Boyle was voted Scottish Building Society Player of the Month for February.

The flanker has seized his opportunity with Edinburgh’s international forwards on Scotland duty, impressing with a series of energetic and abrasive performances throughout the month.

Boyle already developed a reputation as a player that is dangerous over the ball, and added to that in some style, regularly putting his body on the line to win a number of key turnovers.

The former Stewart’s Melville man stood up to be counted in the face of a tough series of away fixtures, growing into the month before roaring into a breakout display in the side’s emphatic win against Connacht at DAM Health Stadium.

Chosen charity: The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

The Disasters Emergency Committee is an umbrella group of UK charities which coordinates and launches collective appeals to raise funds to provide emergency aid and rapid relief to people caught up in disasters and humanitarian crises around the world – including support to the people of Ukraine.

On the donation, Boyle said: “The ongoing war in Ukraine shocked everyone at Edinburgh Rugby and I’m glad that we can support those who have been affected.

“We’ve spoken about the issue a lot as a squad, and we’re all keen to show as much support as possible.”

March Player of the Month: Ben Muncaster

The combative ball carrier and former Scotland U20 captain excelled in the capital club’s back-row throughout March, starting in all three matches against Glasgow Warriors, Cell C Sharks and Emirates Lions.

The former North Berwick man went toe-to-toe with Springbok World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi in Durban and came out on top, putting in a mammoth performance that saw Muncaster’s strong carrying and work rate on full display.

The versatile back-rower also put in an all-action performance against Glasgow in the first leg of the 1872 Cup, carrying 15 times, hitting 14 rucks, while completing all of his 12 tackle attempts.

Chosen charity: The Christian Hobbs Gym.

Muncaster chose to support the fundraising efforts of a close family friend who sadly passed away in 2017, with the £500 donation going towards a gym being built in his honour.

Muncaster said: “It’s a great cause, a very good friend of mine’s brother died on Boxing Day in 2017. He was a boxer, his main passion was boxing, and they’re raising funds to build a gym in his honour. So every donation is greatly appreciated, they go a long, long way.”

April Player of the Month: Pierre Schoeman

Schoeman played a significant role as Edinburgh Rugby claimed big wins against Section Paloise and Bath in the EPCR Challenge Cup, before beating Zebre and running Ulster close in the URC, with every match being hosted at DAM Health Stadium.

The rampant loosehead was at his brilliant best thoughout April, regularly grabbing games by the scruff of the neck to put Edinburgh on the front foot, earning two Player of the Match awards in the process.

With the game on the line against Bath, Schoeman seized the initiative, barrelling through the English Premiership side's defence, before backing up his effort to score a vital try.

The prop followed up his heroics a week later, swinging the momentum in Edinburgh's favour with a crucial score against Zebre. He then closed out the month with an all-action display against Ulster, playing the full 80 minutes, making 99 metres in a bruising display.

Chosen charity: It's Good 2 Give.

Schoeman selected the club’s Official Charity Partner – Edinburgh-based It’s Good 2 Give – after picking up April’s Award.

He said: “I selected It’s Good 2 Give as my chosen charity because they are Official Partners of the club and I’ve seen first-hand the amazing work they do in the local community in supporting sick children and their families too.

“I just want to thank Scottish Building Society for their support of the Player of the Month initiative and for the amazing £500 donation going towards It’s Good 2 Give.”

May Player of the Month: Chris Dean

Dean picked up the final award of the season and the club centurion was at the peak of his powers, playing a pivotal role against Wasps, Glasgow Warriors and DHL Stormers throughout May and June.

The centre displayed all his attacking prowess throughout the period, capping off an impressive month by putting pen-to-paper on a new deal with his hometown club.

Dean marked his return to the starting line-up in impressive fashion and was at the heart of much of the capital side’s attacking work.

Against Wasps, he kick-started a flowing move that led to Ben Vellacott’s ‘Try of the Season’, before getting his arms free to offload and release Magnus Bradbury for his score against the English Premiership side.

The Dean/Bradbury axis was again in action in the 1872 Cup clash at BT Murrayfield, with a no-look pass from the centre putting Bradbury under the posts for consecutive games.

Chosen charity: Simpsons Special Care Babies Charity

Dean chose to support the fundraising efforts of the club’s physiotherapist Jamie Coffey, who next month takes part in a 450-mile relay from Gretna Green to John O’Groats in aid of the Edinburgh-based charity.

He said: “The generous donation from Scottish Building Society is going towards the ‘Stride for Simpsons’ challenge being taken on by a member of our physio team and his family.

“Its aim is to raise funds for the special care unit at the Edinburgh Royal Neonatal Unit where the family received immense care for their premature baby boys.

“It holds a special place in their heart and any further donations to the challenge would be most welcome.”

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