Cobden Timboon Coast Times
Top cricketers rewarded

BOOKAAR’S Simon Baker capped off a rare family double at South West Cricket’s annual awards night on Monday.

The Pelicans skipper was the toast of the association, winning the Cricketer of the Year award 12 months to the day after younger brother Clinton took out the 2017/18 honour.

It was his fourth win in the league count, polling 14 votes to win by one ahead of Heytesbury Rebels paceman Bayley Thompson.

Pomborneit’s Lahiru Fernando, Mortlake’s Tyler Schafer and Terang’s Liam Geary all finished in a tie for third, a vote further back from Thompson.

Baker said it was a “bit of a surprise” to win the award once again, but said he would give it back for a chance to play this weekend.

“I had a slow start to the season and made a few runs towards the end and I also started to bowl a bit,” he said.

“But I’d much rather be playing in a grand final on Saturday than winning this.”

Baker’s triumphs follow on from victories in 1995/96, 2001/02 and 2009/10 and asked what had been the key to his longevity, his answer was simple.

He said with cricket being his chosen sport, focussing solely on improving his game had been the key to his prolonged career and added it was less taxing on the body than contact sports such as footy.

“I guess it just shows that if you keep training hard and sticking at it anything can happen really,” he said.

The all-rounder blasted 505 runs at average of 50.5 from 12 games to also win the batting aggregate, while he also added six wickets in the latter stage of the season.

Baker said his season mirrored that of his side’s, which struggled early before they found their rhythm to finish fourth before bowing out in Saturday’s semi-final against Pomborneit.

In the lower divisions, Simpson captain Brad Salmon also claimed a double, winning both Cricketer of the Year and bowling aggregate trophies.

Salmon finished ahead of team-mate Nick Harding in the count and shared the bowling award with another team-mate, Louis Cain.

Salmon and Cain each claimed 22 wickets, with both taking one five wicket haul during the year.

Ecklin’s Mark Fraser’s consistent run with the bat continued, winning the batting aggregate for the fifth time with 302 runs at an average of 33.56.

In division three, Bookaar’s Stephen Fitzgerald polled 20 votes to win Cricketer of the Year.

Fitzgerald was a standout across the season, taking 18 wickets from 16 games and making 548 runs at an average of 36.83 to also win the batting aggregate.

Woorndoo’s Brody Mifsud won the bowling aggregate with 30 wickets from 15 matches.

Other awards to be presented on the night included an award for Melbourne Country Week, which went to Tyler Schafer, while the league also announced a 12 player Team of the Year.

Simon Baker was named skipper of the side, which featured his Pelican team-mate Henry Green, Pomborneit’s Dave Murphy and Lahiru Fernando, Mortlake’s Tyler Schafer, Shane Slater and Clinton Baker, along with Terang’s Liam Geary.

Camperdown’s Steven Fisher and Heytesbury Rebels trio Simon Harkness, Bayley Thompson and Noah Ackerley also earned selection.