- There are a number of players in the Club who are playing regularly at a higher Grade, simply because there aren’t suitable replacements, or replacements with suitable form, in the lower Grades. Suggesting that these players should be chosen on average figures just because they play a high Grade is uncomfortable for me.
- Conversely, and hypocritically, there are players who are playing at a level below their proven ability, and whose figures are inflated because of it. Picking these players in front of people with less flattering statistics, but at a higher Grade level, is uncomfortable for me.
- Many players showed good form in one Grade, but on promotion to the next Grade were unable to retain that form or show they were ready for the step up.
- Others had solid, average, unspectacular seasons that may not have been eye-catching, but provided the basis for the team’s season.
1. Jaya Hartgerink.
It’s funny how every season we can look at the raw figures and think that, once again, Jaya has underachieved. No doubt he probably thinks so too. And yet he has the toughest job in our Club, opening the batting for First Grade. We have all expected so much from him over the years – perhaps it is time that we accept that this is what he is going to offer us every season, and be happy with that contribution.
2. Andy Sheehy.From the most maligned batsman in the Club to Seconds Superbat – well, with a touch of luck along the way. Andy was one of those rare out-of-the-blue forced selections that turns to gold. Andy found turf wickets easier to score on than astro, and his season proved to be one of the bright lights of 2006/07. He needs to work hard to back it up in 2007/08.
3. Dale Scifleet (vc)
4. Matt Meurant (c)
More than enough has already been written about their superlative seasons, and their influence on the First Grade season. The Club’s hopes for the immediate future lies in whether they play for Kiama next season or not.
5. Steve Holz
Steve had his most consistent season since 2003/04 with the bat, his best ever with the ball, and all while holding the side together as captain and senior player. Would have liked to have seen him convert a few of his 30’s and 40’s into bigger scores. Still has a chance to carve out a good First Grade career if that is his wish next season.
6. Tim Wolf
Whilst yet to find the secret to turning his constant starts into big scores, Tim at least scored consistent runs in First Grade’s middle order during 2006/07, something that was in short supply for most of the year. He featured in good partnerships and showed improved judgement in his batting. Always has ideas on how to change the course of the game. One of First Grade’s trump cards in 2007/08.
7. Matt Unicomb
Showed his ability to score big runs with his 178 against an average (at best) 2nd Grade attack. Spent the rest of the season in First Grade, which he will see as a learning experience. Has enormous potential with the bat, and his bowling is very handy. Must take this season’s lessons and make 2007/08 his own.
8. Luke Bombaci
I’ve said it all before about Luke. His stats for the season were fantastic, but he’s done it in 3rd Grade for at least the three seasons before this. We won’t know if he has, or can, improve until he plays 2nd Grade on a regular basis. Both he and the selectors need to find that out.
9. Brendan Czulowski (WK)
Brendan snares the wicket-keeping role in the team after the inconsistent efforts from those in the higher Grades. Brendan continues to improve with the gloves, and his batting is also showing good signs.
10. Josh Jones
Another player whom we as a Club tend to judge harshly at times. He probably didn’t have the kind of season that we are used to, no doubt his constant cricket for 18 months having a big bearing on that. Girlfriends also confuse priorities as well. My opinion is Josh enjoys being the leader on the field, the one everyone is looking for to make the breakthrough, or change the course of the match. This season he wasn’t that player with Matt and Dale being so dominant, and I think he was unable to summon up his powers because of it. Josh will break every bowling record in this Club if he wants to stick with it. With the right mental preparation, and the support of his team mates, I have no doubt he can recapture the form that made him the premier bowler on the South Coast a few seasons ago.
11. Matt O’Brien
Didn’t produce the same figures as last season, but with the bowling line-up he had in front of him, he didn’t get the same opportunities either. His enthusiasm didn’t wane because of it, and he was always upbeat and ready to play. Still the best spin bowler in the Club, and has the opportunity to improve even more before the start of next season.
There are a number of players who can feel disappointed at not making this side. As I said, many of the stats are not dominating. Players such as Andrew Ross and Mick Norris did as much as some of those chosen, and in the long run it was a judgement call on how their seasons had progressed at different levels. The same goes for the wicket-keeping role – to me, the other two main aspirants had below-par seasons by their standards, and had not pushed their case hard enough, except of course to be playing higher Grade cricket.
Here for comparison is the side chosen by those who frequent the Forum. It may be a better guide as to whom they thought was the best during 2006/07.
1. Andy Sheehy
2. Luke Bombaci
3. Dale Scifleet
4. Matt Meurant
5. Steve Holz
6. Gary Koks
7. Andrew Ross
8. Ben King-Gee
9. Mick Norris
10. Josh Jones
11. Glen Cleary