The Daily Examiner’s 2019/20 CRCA Team of the Season
CRICKET: The 2019/20 season of the Clarence River Cricket Association’s GDSC Premier League competition quite literally had it all.
Even before the season started the history books were being rewritten with old foes for 70 years Westlawn and Easts combining in a joint venture in what proved to be a fruitful partnership, making the finals in their debut season.
While the season started strongly, it wasn’t long before the threat of bushfire, and its long-lingering smoke, saw games abandoned for the welfare of players.
Since Christmas, wet weather was the enemy of the weekend cricketer, forced more clashes to be called off.
The competition itself remained fierce as just nine points separated first and fourth on the Premier League ladder at the end of the preliminary season.
However, just as the finals series got underway with South Services defeating minor premiers Tucabia-Copmanhurst GI Hotel to secure a grand final berth, the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the remainder of the season.
The premature end of the GDSC Premier League competition should not detract from the fantastic efforts made on the field, as The Daily Examiner names its 2019/20 CRCA Team of the Season.
1. DYLAN CLEAVER
A ROOKIE captain who led from the front all season to help steer South Services to a second place finish on the competition ladder. Influential with both bat and ball, he scored 386 runs at an average of 35.06 and a top score of 100, while he took 17 wickets at an average of just 9.12.
Honourable mention: Pat Vidler (Easts-Westlawn), 223 runs at 20.27, HS 57*. Last Season: Dylan Cleaver (South Services).
2. KALLEN LAWRENCE
RETAINING his spot as opener from last year’s Team of the Season, Lawrence had another outstanding campaign with the bat, topping the Brothers’ run tally with 415 at 37.73 including two centuries. A batsman with impeccable patience, Lawrence batted for 80 overs to score 73 off 229 balls in the minor semi-final win against Easts-Westlawn.
Honourable mention: Jack Weatherstone (Brothers), 237 runs at 23.70, HS 87. Last season: Kallen Lawrence (Brothers) (wk).
3. TIM BULTITUDE
(GI Hotel Tuc-Cop)
A PLAYER who was hard to dismiss, he finished the season with four unbeaten knocks on his way to 237 runs for the season at an average of 39.50. With a high score of an unbeaten 50*, Bultitude was a valuable rock in top of the order for GI Hotel Tucabia-Copmanhurst.
Honourable mention: Tom Kroehnert (South Services), 209 runs at 17.42, HS 66. Last season: Matt Dougherty (GI Hotel Tuc-Cop).
4. JAMIE FIRTH
MAKING his debut in The Daily Examiner’s CRCA Team of the Season series, Firth earnt his berth through sheer bulk of runs while batting mostly at No.4 for Brothers. Firth finished the 2019/20 season with 332 runs at an average of 36.89, the highlight of the season a magnificent knock of 123* against Coutts Crossing.
Honourable mention: Bob McKenzie (Phil Lloyd Earthmoving Tucabia-Copmanhurst), 225 runs at 28.13, HS 65. Last season: Jake Kroehnert (Brothers).
5. ELI FAHEY
WHILE he only played eight matches in the GDSC Premier League competition, Fahey still managed to top the scoring charts for Coutts Crossing, bludgeoning 184 runs at an average of 30.67. Along with his efforts of peeling off 285 runs at 71.25 in night cricket, including the first ever Twenty20 hundred in Grafton, a knock of 136, Fahey is a dangerous batter that any side would be glad to have.
Honourable mention: Jake Kroehnert (Brothers), 234 runs at 29.25, HS 87. Last season: Andrew Buchanan (GI Hotel Tuc-Cop)
6. MATT PIGG
(GI Hotel Tuc-Cop)
A SEASONED veteran of the GDSC Premier League competition, Pigg was near the top of the tree with both bat and ball for the GI Hotel Tucabia-Copmanhurst side, scoring 202 runs in 10 knocks, while also taking 21 wickets at an average of 11.62 with season best figures of 4/9.
Honourable mention: Shannon Connor (Easts-Westlawn), 186 runs at 15.50, HS 52, 22 wkts at 13.73, BB 4/18. Last season: Rohan Hackett (GI Hotel Tuc-Cop)
7. DEREK WOODS
(Phil Lloyd Earthmoving Tuc-Cop)
The consummate clubman played eight matches for each of the Tucabia-Copmanhurst sides, but it was as the opening batsman for PLE where he came into his own, scoring 195 runs at 27.86 including a high score of 64. Meanwhile he showed his consistency behind the stumps, snaring 10 catches and a stumping.
Honourable mention: Luke Sullivan 126 runs at 14.00, HS 51*, 10 catches, 4 stumpings. Last season: Tyson Blackadder (PLE Tuc-Cop).
8. ROHAN HACKETT
(GI Hotel Tuc-Cop)
A REGULAR feature in The Daily Examiner’s Team of the Season, Hackett keeps getting better. While he may not have taken the bags of wickets he has in seasons past, his haul of 17 scalps at an average of 8.71 came with an economy rate of just 1.80, a staggering number which shows just how much of a handful he was for the GDSC Premier League batsmen.
Honourable mention: Nathan Blanch (Easts-Westlan), 22 wkts at 10.82, BB 5/19. Last season: Shannon Connor (GDSC Easts)
9. ADRIAN BOYD
AFTER many seasons plying his trade in the Lower Clarence Cricket Association competition, Boyd returned to the GDSC Premier League and immediately made an impact. Returning figures of 31 wickets at 8.26, his most influential spell of bowling was quite possibly the devastating 7/27 season best against GI Hotel Tuc-Cop in their semi-final which helped bowl South Services to victory and ultimately the premiership.
Honourable mention: Brad Chard (GI Hotel Tuc-Cop), 28 wkts at 12.46, BB 5/11. Last season: Brayden Pardoe (GI Hotel Tuc-Cop).
10. BILL WEATHERSTONE
CONSISTENTLY took wickets and was extremely economical during the entire season. Finished the season with a 25 wicket haul at an average of 8.76 and secured season best figures of 5/11.
Honourable mention: Taine Riley (GI Hotel Tuc-Cop), 24 wkts at 9.38, BB 5/39. Last season: Brad Chard (GI Hotel Tuc-Cop).
11. CHRIS CLEAVER
ABLE to deceive in the air and off the pitch, Cleaver spun out many batsmen this season with his crafty offspin. He claimed the most wickets of the CRCA GDSC Premier League, bagging a total of 38 scalps at an average of 9.63. With season-best figures of 6/10 he was more than a handful for opposition batsmen to see out.
Honourable mention: Andy Kinnane (Brothers), 18 wkts at 16.89, BB 4/34. Last season: Billy Weatherstone (Brothers).
12th: BEN SHIPMAN
ONCE again unlucky to be carrying the drinks for The Daily Examiner’s Team of the Season, Shipman was a standout player in the struggling Coutts Crossing outfit. Finished the season as their second highest run-scorer behind Eli Fahey with 161 runs and an average of 14.64. Contributed with the ball too, claiming 11 wickets for the season.
Honourable mention: Ethan Lucas (Brothers), 12 wkts at 11.42, BB 3/20. Last season: Ben Shipman (Westlawn).