INCOMING Brierly-Christ Church coach Mark Murphy credits a lift in his bowling game for his second consecutive Western Waves team of the year nod.
The former East Warrnambool-YCW leader was one of four Warrnambool and District Cricket Association players named in the honourary team, which comprises of the region’s best batsmen, bowlers, allrounders and wicketkeeper.
The 12-man Western Waves team is selected on a purely statistical basis, with batting, bowling and wicketkeeping aggregates and averages taken into account.
Murphy is one of seven players who have been named in the team more than once.
“I know there’s a lot of other good cricketers that are always named year-in, year-out,” he said. “To be up there with those players, with good-quality players (is an honour).”
Murphy, who earned his selection predominantly for his batting last year, said his form with the willow had not been as good as in the 2015-16 summer, which saw him take out the WDCA cricketer of the year award, but his bowling has improved.
He took 32 wickets at an average of 12.69, with an economy rate of 2.58.
“I got myself a bit fitter with the ball, was able to bowl a bit more and was able to achieve a bit more with the ball in hand,” Murphy said.
Murphy, who returns to his home club at Brierly this year, said the Bulls were just weeks away from starting their pre-season.
The talented sportsman sat out this season of football.
The WDCA’s three other representatives in the team of the year were all named for the first time.
Port Fairy star allrounder Jason Perera, who took out the 2016-17 WDCA cricketer of the year award, was named in the team at number five.
He finished his first summer in the association with 595 runs at an average of 54.09 and took 35 wickets.
Cam Williams, who captains Russells Creek, earned the wicketkeeping spot for his 23 catches and six stumpings. He also made 441 runs at an average of 29.40.
Rounding out the WDCA contingent was Wesley-CBC’s Ben Evans, who took 37 wickets.
South West Cricket had one representative named, with Heytesbury Rebels bowler Michael Vogels earning a spot for his 32 wickets taken at an average of 9.53.
Hamilton District had three representatives, with St Andrews’ Brendan Huf named as captain and opening batsman, while Charlier Nield, from Macarthur, and Heinrich Joyce, from Grampians, also named in the upper order.
Horsham Cricket Association had three repesentatives in Simon Hopper, Lachlan Watts and vice-captain Matthew Combe, while Patrick Gregory was the sole Wimmera Mallee representative.
The Western Waves have sent the 12 names to the Victorian Country Cricket League to be considered in the VCCL team of the year.
Members of the Waves team will be recognised at the region’s presentation luncheon at Hamilton on Sunday.
I got myself a bit fitter with the ball, was able to bowl a bit more.Mark Murphy