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Friday, May 19, 2006

Team of the Year 2005-06

It has become a habit of mine to put together a Team Of The Year for the Presentation Night each season. As I did not attend this season I had not done so, but after some gentle persuasion I have now complied that team. As always, there are a number of people who may feel miffed that they missed out. Let it be known that I miss out every year...

Dale Scifleet (vc)
416 runs at 26.00. Highest score 94. 3 half centuries.
25 wickets at 9.44. Best 4/8.

Dale's season has been adequately summed up in previous responses. Though he probably did not quite go on with his season as he would have liked following the New Year break, his figures are still mighty impressive. He became the man everyone in the Club looked up to in regards to putting runs or wickets on the board, which proves how highly he has become regarded. One of four genuine all-rounders chosen in this season's team.

Jaya Hartgerink
348 runs at 21.75. Highest score 91*. 1 half century.

Jaya's was once again a season unfulfilled, where he was unable to emphatically put results on the board that would once and for all stake his claim as a class 1st Grade batsman. Again he got starts, only to have them frittered away by strange shot selection. Occasionally he was filmed for television in the middle of one. He began the season in 1st Grade's middle order, which simply doesn't suit his character. A short stint in 2nd Grade saw him re-elevated toward the end of the season, where he again made starts without capitalising on them. He and Dale still comprise Kiama's best opening partnership, and hopefully next season will prove to be the real awakening of the Hartgerink talent.

Matt Meurant (c)
334 runs at 23.86. Highest score 74. 1 half century.
25 wickets at 11.52. Best 5/14. 1 5WI.

Matt's initial season with Kiama turned into a successful one on a personal level, when he picked up the John Watts Medal, and had a successful all-round season. He should also feel pleased with the way the younger cricketers in the Club have responded to his leadership. Matt was also influential in giving his young charges more responsibility, to which most responded well. Kiama need a strong presence in the top order of the batting to both stabilise and dominate, whatever the match situation. Though personally it would be better to see Matt performing this job batting at three, his stated preference is four. After a successful return to the game last season, his next season should make great viewing.

Anthony Savage
336 runs at 37.33. Highest score 87. 1 half century.

Sav's stated intention at the 2004-05 Presentation Night was to “come back next season and show everyone exactly what I can do”. While he may not have done that to his satisfaction, he certainly had some of the younger members in the Club in awe at his stroke play. While Sav was still unable to open his 1st Grade run account (2 matches, 2 ducks over 2 seasons), he played some impressive cricket again during the summer, dominating most 2nd Grade attacks without actually going on to make lots of big scores. With Sav being posted elsewhere over the winter, lets hope we haven't seen the last of his flashing blade. And Sav wielding the willow...

Jeff Lawler
394 runs at 21.89. Highest score 75. 3 half centuries.

The 3rd Grade captain had yet another consistent season with the bat, though this season Jeff batted a lot more up the order than has been the case in recent times. Jeff continues to be one of the most consistent cricketers in the Club, having made this team all but one of the years it has been chosen. Once again he chose times when the team was in trouble to shine the most. His respect within the Club is universal amongst the Grades, as is his competitive nature. Though naturally disappointed at not snaring that elusive 3rd Grade premiership, he will hopefully back up again for another crack next season.

John Simon
325 runs at 23.21. Highest score 53. 2 half centuries.

For a guy whose ambition at the start of the season was to play a few games in 3rd Grade, John has only himself to blame for not even seeing one game there. Displaying all the natural talent that was the whisper around the Club, John was in 1st Grade before December and played out the season there. His ability to play to the situation required was uncanny. He proved far too good for 2nd Grade attacks, and by the end of the season was doing the same thing to 1st Grade attacks. If he had been able to steer clear of problems with umpires, who knows what he may have achieved! With luck, John will return next season with the same hunger.

Luke Bombaci
426 runs at 32.77. Highest score 65*. 3 half centuries.
54 wickets at 8.98. Best 6/47. 3 5WI. 1 10WM.

Luke's was one of the best all-round season's ever seen in 3rd Grade for Kiama. More importantly, when the crunch came, he performed. His 65 not out in the semi-final's first innings rescued the team from disaster, and put them into a position from which they never surrendered. He then turned on the finest display of bowling in his career, taking ten wickets on the second day of the final to almost snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. There is little doubt that for the sake of his own cricket he must now be given an extended spell in 2nd Grade, in order to utilise his ability to the greater good.

Mick Norris
169 runs at 18.78. Highest score 64. 1 half century.
34 wickets at 11.78. Best 6/13. 2 5WI.

Another belated arrival in the higher Grades, Mick had an excellent first up season in 2nd Grade that should see him progress even further in the near future. Mick's batting on turf has not yet developed from the play usually seen on astro turf, and will be something he will be looking to improve upon next season. His nagging accuracy with the ball, however, was tailor made for turf, and he reaped the rewards. Though a natural leader, and one people are already looking at to captain again, one hopes he is given the opportunity to develop his cricket further first before being handed the reigns of captaincy once again.

Ben King-Gee (WK)
141 runs at 14.10. Highest score 37.
22 catches and 4 stumpings.

To have made so much advancement from the beginning of the season, and yet still have so much improvement in him is something that probably only Ben himself can fix. He undoubtedly has the best hands in the Club. I am not scared to say that he is one of the three best keepers I have bowled to, and yet he still needs to remove the laziness from his keeping. Toward the end of the season he finally began to show the talent he has as a batsman, and yet he still needs to concentrate more on the task at hand. No one impressed me more nor frustrated me more this season gone than Ben King-Gee. His future is in his hands. How hard he wants to work will determine how far he goes.

Matt Cook
106 runs at 11.78. Highest score 56*. 1 half century.
34 wickets at 11.44. Best 4/24.

The leaps and bounds this young kid has made last season is a joy. With so little Grade cricket behind him, Cooky quickly found himself taking the new ball in 3rd Grade, and holding onto it for the entire season. Matt is a real old fashioned slinger who, on closer inspection, looks to have room to improve his pace substantially in the next couple of seasons. He has impressed all who have watched him, and figures for his first season are phenomenal. Not only that, he scored a miraculous 56 not out from number eleven during the season. Add it all up, and it looks like we have a real star of the future on our hands.

Matt O'Brien
21 runs at 5.25. Highest score 9*
33 wickets at 15.03. Best 5/13. 3 5WI.

OB has probably outplayed just about every other player in the Club this season. By being thrust into the Club's number one spinner role at such a tender age and experience, he was placed under an enormous amount of pressure. Countering that, he came out and took 33 wickets in the season, and was 1st Grade's highest wicket taker for the season. Not only that, but his batting has improved to the stage where he is not just a token wicket – he is a batsman that has to be dismissed.
Josh Elliott said two years ago that Matt O'Brien would be a 1st Grade wicket taker, but even he could not have expected OB's rapid rise and development. With this season under his belt, the sky is the limit for the Club's favourite leg spinner.
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