No-one was more shocked than Matthew Hinks when the Goulburn Murray Cricket A-grade Cricketer of the Year award was announced on Wednesday night.
‘‘I thought maybe if the votes went my way, which would have been lucky, I was a possibility to finish top five,’’ the Echuca Cricket Club all-rounder said.
It was better than top five.
Hinks, along with Tongala all-rounder Adam Nunn, were joint players of the 2017-18 season in A-grade cricket.
His first thought on the win was the honour of winning it with Nunn.
‘‘There aren’t many guys more respected than Nunny,’’ Hinks said.
‘‘He’s an incredible player who we all have a great deal of admiration for, so it was really cool to be standing up there with him as the winners.’’
It may have surprised Hinks to win the award, but the numbers do not lie.
Hinks had a great season with the bat and ball for Echuca, with 285 runs and 28 wickets.
His best form was split in two.
In the opening half of the season, he was a dominant batsman, while in the back end of the season he was one of the leading wicket takers in the competition.
‘‘We had this observation as the night was going on that the votes were split like that,’’ Hinks said.
‘‘The first half of the season I was getting votes because I was making runs, whereas in the second half of the year I was getting votes because I was bowling well.
‘‘Awards like this definitely favour the guys who can play both parts of the game, it’s an all-rounders award really so I’m lucky that I can play both.’’
The award is one of the highlights of the season for the Echuca Cricket Club.
Club president Tim Hawker said the club was elated.
‘‘We are incredibly proud of him,’’ Hawker said.
‘‘Matt has worked incredibly hard on his game throughout the season, so we are very excited to see the results that he got both for the club and for himself.’’
For Hinks, his bowling has been the area he has improved the most.
‘‘I’ve probably spent a lot of time down at the nets training,’’ Hinks said.
‘‘I’d go down and spend an hour or two bowling, just making sure that my action was right and that I was bowling as well as I could.’’
Hinks also spent time on the mental side of his batting.
‘‘I looked at how I was playing and how my head was when I batted, that was something I had to get right to get my temperament in line with how I wanted to play.’’
The award was an individual highlight for Hinks and one of the bigger moments for the club.
And while Hinks is proud of that, it does make him think of his team mates.
‘‘The thing is, you would trade this in in a heartbeat if it meant we were playing in a flag,’’ Hinks said.
‘‘You play as a team. Getting the individual awards is great in a way because it means you have contributed to the season, and that’s what you want to do.’’