After the first completed round of the 2019 calendar year in the Warragul and District Cricket Association’s (WDCA) Division 1 season, there has been a large group of players vying for a spot in the (unofficial) Team of The Year.
With some regular faces absent from the group due to a range of factors, such as injury and form, there are plenty of new names leading the way this year. This side – picked by Western Park star SAM BATSON, who missed much of the early part of the 2018/19 through injury – has a large focus on statistics, but also weighs up the strength of the opposition which these individuals have performed against, and the varying match situations in which they’ve performed.
Jack Armour (Buln Buln) [wicket-keeper]
(289 runs at 36.1, 9 dismissals)
Fresh off a stint at Cornall in the UK, where he made several centuries in an impressive season, Armour has come back a new batsmen this year – combining his inherit ability to grind bowlers in to the ground with a newfound stroke-play. With three half-centuries to his name, he’s one of the most consistent batsmen in the Association at the time of writing, and will be one which opposition sides will have to put more work in to going forward.
Sanjaya Gangodawila (Western Park)
(384 runs at 48, 4 wickets at 10.8)
‘Ganga’ has without a doubt the most destructive batsmen in the association since his arrival in 2014/2015, however this season he has been able to spend enough time at the wicket to stamp himself as the premier batsmen through weight of runs. With his three knocks of 79, 109 and 52, Ganga has scored to all parts of the ground, equally annihilating spinners and seamers.
If he keeps this form up expect to see him add to his century scored in Round 6.
Ben Spicer (Ellinbank) [captain]
(359 runs at 51.3, 5 wickets at 32)
In his first season at Ellinbank, Spicer has already proven himself to be one of the best batsmen in the competition, with his 96 (and 5/58) In Round 5 against Western Park being a determining factor in Ellinbank’s incredible chase. A GCL representative, Spicer gets the nod at this stage not only for his individual form, but also due to Ellinbank’s steep rise up the ladder this season.
Matt Farthing (Ellinbank)
(300 runs at 50)
Farthing has come of age this season, forming a formidable opening partnership with Troy Ferguson. Another who has added some attacking game to an already strong defence, Farthing will be one to watch as the season goes on.
Gamini Kumara (Yarragon)
(403 runs at 67.2, 18 wickets at 15.7)
One of the most consistent batsmen in league history, ‘Gama’ has continued churning out runs for fun this season, with three consecutive half centuries from Round 2 to 5, and an unbeaten ton in Round 7 being the highlights of his batting. On top of this, a seven-wicket haul versus Neerim in Round 4 allowed the Panthers to defend a modest score of 141, while he again shone with both bat and ball against Buln Buln in Round 9 (79 not out, and 5/37).
Nick Fairbank (Ellinbank)
(293 runs at 58.6, 7 wickets at 36.7)
After not being required to bat in Round 1, ‘Fairy’ has set the competition alight with the bat since, with his match winning knock of 103 not out against Western Park a clear highlight. His temperament with the bat, and knowing when to be aggressive and when to consolidate has been a significant strength. His output with the ball has been slightly down on recent seasons, however has been serviceable enough to secure a spot as an all-rounder to this point.
Nuwan Perera (Yarragon)
(358 runs at 51.1, 15 wickets at 21.9)
One of the big arrivals to the competition over the off-season, Perera has been a huge contributor with bat and ball for the Panthers, with 116 not out and 5/42 against Hallora sealing an unlikely victory. If he’s able to continue this form for the remainder of the season, Yarragon will be well placed to pinch a finals berth.
Sean Masterson (Ellinbank)
(215 runs at 53.8, 11 wickets at 28.9)
Another cog in the Ellinbank batting juggernaut, Masterson has played a variety of roles with the bat this season, particularly shining in several close run-chases. While his side fell short on both occasions, 71* against Buln Buln and 41 against Western Park were two telling innings. While he has copped a bit of ‘tap’ with the ball (an economy rate of five across the season), his 11 wickets are enough to secure him a spot as an all-rounder in this side.
Troy Lehman (Western Park)
15 wickets at 17.2
After making the switch from Longwarry, Lehman has found himself in an all-too-familiar role in carrying the attack of his side and he’s handled it with aplomb, with his 6/41 in Round 4 sparking one of the most incredible victories in WDCA history. Two four-wicket hauls at GCL level also highlight his form, and no doubt affirm his title as the premier fast bowler in the WDCA to this point.
Brad Glover (Drouin)
16 wickets at 11.9
Not necessarily known for being a prolific wicket-taker, Glover picks himself on his discipline and consistency, as evidenced by his stellar economy rate. Expect to see Glover consistently pick up two-three wickets per match, and no doubt continue to stifle batsmen’s ability to score.
James Williams (Hallora)
17 wickets at 13.9
A career-best haul of 7/51 vs Buln Buln typifies William’s innate ability to take wickets, consistently removing batsmen with his finger spin. Another whose economy rate has been a strong feature of his bowling, Williams is consistently among the league’s top wicket-takers.
12th Man: Matthew Wakefield (Western Park)
(271 runs at 33.9)
Unlucky to miss selection in the 11 so far, the career renaissance Wakefield exhibited last season has well and truly continued into 2018/19, with 107 against Ellinbank, followed by 69 against Jindivick (featuring in a partnership of 155 for the second wicket in less than 20 overs) being the highlights. The wickets of Walsh and Eastwell against Buln Buln in Round 2 also proved to be crucial to Western Park’s victory.
Unlucky: Nathan Bayne, Troy Ferguson, Jackson Noonan, Malinga Surappulige