Presentation night wrap

Preston Bitemo collected an awards double while Lewis Rankin and Matt Dawson were also recognised at Hinckley AFC’s end-of-season presentation evening.

After a memorable title-winning campaign, players, staff and fans came together for one final time before the summer to cap off a season that will live long in the memory for all involved.

Particularly for Bitemo, whose first season in men’s football was capped by winning the Players’ Player of the Year award as well as being recognised by the fans, who voted him as their Young Player.

He called his debut campaign “a great experience” and said he can’t wait for more. He said: “I’ve really enjoyed this season. I expected it (men’s football) to be easier than it was, but it was actually pretty hard! It proves I’ve had a good season, so I want to push on and get more next year.”

After four seasons at the club, Rankin capped off his 22-goal campaign by picking up the Managers’ Player award. He felt this was his best season in a Hinckley shirt since joining in 2020.

“I needed it. It’s been a season where I’ve got myself as fit as I can and I’ve got a run of games under my belt. In previous seasons there were games they’d say it wasn’t for me, on some pitches that don’t suit my game. But I’ve managed to adapt my game to affect games in difficult situations.”

The fourth players’ award was the Supporters’ Player, which went to Dawson. It’s the second year in a row the right-back has won that award. Alongside Rankin and Danny Fraser, Dawson played the most games this season and chipped in with 13 goals.

“To get that last year was phenomenal. When I turn out for Hinckley, when I put the badge on, I like to put on a show for the supporters. I always give everything I can for the club and to win it two years in a row is really heartfelt to me.”

The Simon Blyth Clubman of the Year award went to Scott Barnes while presentations were made to Celia Bailey, who provides hospitality for visiting directors, and to Zoe Measom for her community work.