WORKING on wicketkeeping through Warrnambool's harsh winters is paying dividends for Ryan Youl.
The West Warrnambool gloveman was unveiled in the Western Waves' team of the year on Friday.
Youl - who dominated with 28 dismissals last season - held 16 catches and 12 stumpings.
The 24-year-old described the honour as a "shock".
He told The Standard work through the off-season had brewed confidence in his abilities.
"I've been in contact with Luke Gannon a fair bit since he's come back to the club a couple of years ago," Youl said.
It's been good to get that bit fitter and have the confidence you can do it for 80 overs.Ryan Youl
"We've been doing a fair bit over the pre-season and that work on wicketkeeping over the winter has definitely helped.
"It's been good to get that bit fitter and have the confidence you can do it for 80 overs."
West Warrnambool was forced to adapt its bowling plans when import Jack Sunderland returned to England injured after a round one defeat of Port Fairy.
Youl said the Panthers' bowlers adapted a more restrictive approach in the absence of a strike bowler.
"It was difficult with Jack going down," he said.
Youl's side, captained by Alastair Templeton, still managed a fourth-place finish.
Youl, who works for financial planning firm Silvan Ridge, said he was keen to improve more ahead of next season.
"I still have a lot of areas to improve on," he said.
"I want to improve my batting a fair bit again. I'm really keen to get playing again."
Allansford's Chris Bant and Brierly-Christ Church pair Jason Greer and Mark Murphy were the other Warrnambool and District Cricket Association players to feature in the team.
Hawkesdale's James North also featured in a bowling role.
Hamilton and District Cricket Association stars Brendan Huf (St Andrews), Hamish Bailey (College) and Grampians pair Carl Joyce and Jordi Withers were also named.
Tyrendarra's Sam Wilson rounded out the south-west players to earn a berth, while Horsham pair Adam Atwood and Craig Britten also made the cut.
Western Waves stalwart Kelvin White said the team was a celebration of cricket talent within the region.
"It really is a celebration of players who have scored runs and taken wickets," he said.
"It's a statistical exercise with all of the associations putting in their best teams.
"It's an exercise we've been doing for about a decade now and we just try to draw attention to some of the best performances across the season."
ADAM ATWOOD (HOMERS CC, HORSHAM)
BRENDAN HUF (ST ANDREWS, HAMILTON)
JORDI WITHERS (GRAMPIANS, HAMILTON)
HAMISH BAILEY (COLLEGE CC, HAMILTON)
CARL JOYCE (GRAMPIANS, HAMILTON)
CHRIS BANT (ALLANSFORD, WARRNAMBOOL)
MARK MURPHY (BRIERLY-CHRIST CHURCH, WARRNAMBOOL)
RYAN YOUL [wicketkeeper] (WEST WARRNAMBOOL, WARRNAMBOOL)
JAMES NORTH (HAWKESDALE, GRASSMERE)
CRAIG BRITTEN (HOMERS CC, HORSHAM)
SAM WILSON (TYRENDARRA, PORTLAND)
JASON GREER (BRIERLY-CHRIST CHURCH, WARRNAMBOOL)
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