Four players have tied for the Bill O’Reilly Medal as the best and fairest male cricketer in McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket.
Opening batsman William Affleck and allrounders Scott Rodgie, Hayden Kerr and Nivethan Radhakrishnan, 17, were announced as joint winners on Thursday, in the first four-way tie since the medal was first awarded in 1967/68.
Each player won their first Bill O’Reilly Medal named in honour of the late, great NSW and Australian leg-spinner, and prominent journalist.
Nineteen-year-old English County cricketer Bess Heath was named Women’s First Grade Player of the Year after a superb season for Universities.
The Male and Female Premier Cricket Awards were announced progressively throughout the week on social media with the Annual Premier Cricket Premiers Dinner unable to be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both the Men’s and Women’s Premier Cricket seasons were stopped in mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak, and the Finals Series cancelled, with the Minor Premier in each Grade awarded the premiership.
Randwick Petersham were the overall Men’s First Grade Premiers and Sydney was awarded the Women’s First Grade premiership.
Each Player of the Year award was determined based on a 3-2-1 points system awarded by the umpires after each match.
Affleck, Rodgie, Kerr and Radhakrishnan all tied on 13 points. Heath, on 17 points, was two clear of NSW Breakers batter Naomi Stalenberg.
The O’Reilly Medal honour capped off a break-out season for Sydney University allrounder Hayden Kerr, who made his NSW Blues One-Day debut and debuted for the Sydney Sixers in the BBL.
Kerr was the leading run-scorer in the Kingsgrove Sports T20 Cup striking 370 runs at an average of 92.5. Across all three formats, the right hander finished the season with 861 runs at 53.8 and picked up 20 wickets at 21.3 with his left-arm seamers.
In his first season for Randwick Petersham, Affleck scored 766 runs for the Premiers at an average of 47.9 across two-day and 50-over cricket.
Rodgie also played his first season for Northern District posting 618 runs across the T20, One-Day and two-day formats, averaging just under 40. He also collected 28 wickets at 26.5 in all three formats with his seamers.
Highly regarded teenage allrounder Nivethan Radhakrishnan scored his first two First Grade centuries among his 698 First Grade runs for Hawkesbury at 41. The ambidextrous spinner also claimed 10 First Grade wickets.
Heath, 19, was a standout with bat in hand for Universities. She made 490 runs across the T20 and One-Day formats including 179 Twenty20 runs at the impressive average of 89.5 and a strike rate of 136.6.
Her 65 not out from 36 balls in the First Grade T20 Final at North Sydney Oval against Northern District, in November, was critical to Universities chasing down 120 to win. Heath was named Player of the Final for her performance.
Stalenberg scored 419 Limited-Overs runs for Penrith at the extraordinary average of 104.75 including her highest Premier Cricket score of 160 not out.
As Player of the Year, Heath was named captain of the Women’s First Grade Team of the Year selected based on performances in the preliminary rounds of the T20 and limited-overs competitions.
With Heath as captain, the 12 players included the top six leading run-scorers, leading wicketkeeper and top five wicket takers.
Stalenberg and Heath joined emerging talent Anika Learoyd among the six batters.
Learoyd scored 541 runs for Northern District across both formats at an average above 50. She made a top score of 145 not out in a limited overs match against Bankstown during November.
Former Breakers allrounder Charlotte Anneveld was also selected. She was the leading wicket-taker in Women’s First Grade claiming 28 wickets for Gordon, excluding T20 Finals.
The Men’s First Grade Team of the Year was selected on a similar basis to the Women’s Merit XII.
Such was the evenness of the Bill O’Reilly vote count, however, none of the four O’Reilly Medallists ranked as the top six leading run-scorers, leading wicketkeeper or top five wicket takers.
Among those selected in the Men’s Team of the Year were NSW Blues batsman Ryan Gibson who was the leading run-scorer in First Grade. He peeled off 982 runs for defending premiers Penrith at 49.1, including three centuries, two of which neared 200.
Gibson made 186 not out against Hawkesbury in a two-day match at Owen Earle Oval and 188 from 134 balls at North Sydney Oval in early January.
Combining T20 and Limited-Overs Finals, Sydney paceman Nic Bills was the leading wicket taker in First Grade with 51 scalps at 22.29.
Bills was key to Sydney’s success in the T20 format throughout the season with the club claiming the National Premier T20 Championships title in Adelaide, early March, after it won the Kingsgrove Sports T20 Cup in January defeating Hawkesbury.
Sydney University won the Men’s First Grade Limited-Overs Cup defeating Randwick Petersham in the Final.
Bankstown were crowned Men's Premier Cricket Club Champions courtesy of consistent performances across all Grades including the Men’s Second Grade title.
St George-Sutherland won the 2019/20 Women’s Premier Cricket Club Championship assisted by titles in the Third Grade Limited-Over and T20 competitions.
The Men’s Premier Cricket Coach of the Year receives the Bob Simpson Award.
This season Bankstown Head Coach Gary Crowfoot was named the Men’s Coach of the Year. Head Coach at the St George-Sutherland club, Barry Clapson, was the Women’s Premier Cricket Coach of the Year.
In every match played, for both Men’s and Women’s Premier Cricket, umpires assess each team’s performance in terms of the Spirit of Cricket that involves respect for opponents and upholding the game’s traditional values of fair play.
The Men’s Spirit of Cricket Award this season was awarded to Gordon for the third time. Northern District was judged to uphold those values the best in Women’s Premier Cricket.