GCA's top award shrouded with intrigue

A YOUNG all-rounder is tipped to win tonight’s Grassmere Cricket Association A grade cricketer of the year award but just who it is has last year’s winner Steve Gleeson guessing.

Gleeson has ruled himself out of adding another top individual honour this season,  with injury restricting him to just two innings with the bat after Christmas.

Gleeson is predicting a tight count at the Davidson Oval function centre in Warrnambool, suggesting several washouts will ensure a compact leaderboard.

He predicts former Panmure skipper Chris Bant, Hawkesdale’s ex-skipper Murray Habel or Grassmere all-rounder Braden Hotker will be the favourites when counting gets under way.

Gleeson is pessimistic about his side Yambuk providing another winner, saying the side’s minor premiership was built on an even side. 

Premier Killarney also had an even line-up, with paceman Daniel Jones and Brayden Buchanan among the wickets. 

But it is competition from within the Crabs line-up that has Gleeson leaning towards Habel, Bant and Hotker.

All three have had several standout performances.

Bant peeled off three centuries in consecutive matches after Christmas and made 772 runs at an average of 70.2, ensuring he will poll at least nine votes.

Habel, who didn’t bowl as much he has in past seasons, scored one century and eight 50s in a season that finished with 640 runs at an average of 42.7.

Grassmere’s Hotker made two centuries and two 50s in his 481 runs at 43.7 but it could be his bowling that helps him over the line. 

He took 19 wickets at an average of 27.4, including a season’s best of 4-67 against Yambuk in a match he didn’t fire with the bat.

Brett Tory should poll well at Wangoom after making two centuries, including his whirlwind 264. 

He made 647 runs at 49.8 and also chimed in with 10 wickets at an average of 43.2.

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