Sport

On Bert alert

by
March 14, 2018

Having been named the Dave Keating under-23 cricketer of the year at the Cricket Shepparton Lightfoot Awards last year, Will Hale is one of the favourites for tonight's event.

Cricket Shepparton’s night of nights is upon us once more — and the main event looks to be a wide-open field.

The Lightfoot Medal, awarded to the Haisman Shield cricketer deemed by the association’s umpires to have performed best throughout the season, will be hung around yet another champion’s neck at Shepparton Golf Club tonight.

Whichever star claims the prestigious award will have certainly earned it this campaign, with various players throwing their white-floppy into the ring at a number of stages of the summer.

Mooroopna’s Will Hale will surely be a tearaway early leader.

The English import went ballistic with the bat from round three to six this season, hitting 102 not out, 76, 100 and 79 to storm to the top of the run charts.

While his Haisman Shield batting calmed down after that, hauls of 4-28 and 3-35 with the ball after Christmas will have kept him at the forefront of officials’ voting.

Hale’s captain — and current holder of ‘‘Bert’’ — Paul Marshall could find it hard to snag votes from his teammate, but hit half-centuries in the first two rounds and claimed a five-wicket haul late in the season.

Grand finalists Numurkah and Katandra will have players right in the running through sheer weight of victories alone.

The Blues could claim the Lightfoot through captain Liam Gledhill (457 runs at 41.5 and 27 wickets at 12.1) or Shaun Downie (386 at 27.6 and 25 at 12), while Eagles captain Jedd Wright (411 at 27.4 and 22 at 8.6) and wicketkeeper Luke Nolan (435 at 31.1 and 34 dismissals) will also be extremely prominent.

Other challengers could come from anywhere, such is the predicted evenness of tonight’s count.

Tatura has high hopes for Connor Hayes and coach Tim Kelly, Central Park-St Brendan’s will have confidence in rising stars Ethan Baxter and Aidan Lloyd and their ability to impress, while Kyabram’s host of chances include Kyle Mueller, Eliot Callis and captain Alec Young.

Fellow finalist Northerners may have to rely on bowlers Mark Nolan and Trent Sidebottom to challenge for the crown, and the run-scoring ability of Rehan Bari (Shepparton United) has caught the eye again this season.

For Old Students, Felix Odell passed the half-century mark three times throughout the campaign, and although injury crippled its chances of making finals, Karramomus will still have faith that Stuart Turner was able to stand out during the season.

The Lightfoot Medal night, which also includes awards for all other grades, begins at 7pm. Coverage of the winners will be in tomorrow’s edition of The News.

LIGHTFOOT MEDAL TIPS

Michael Van Dorsser

(Cricket Shepparton director of senior cricket)

1. Will Hale (Mooroopna)

2. Liam Gledhill (Numurkah)

3. Luke Nolan (Katandra)

Roughie: Michael Archer (Tatura)

Cameron Whiteley

(News editor)

1. Connor Hayes (Tatura)

2. Liam Gledhill (Numurkah)

3. Will Hale (Mooroopna)

Roughie: Kyle Mueller (Kyabram)

Ashleigh Williamson

(News sub-editor)

1. Connor Hayes (Tatura)

2. Will Hale (Mooroopna)

3. Jedd Wright (Katandra)

Roughie: Alec Young (Kyabram)

Tyler Maher

(News sports reporter)

1. Will Hale (Mooroopna)

2. Shaun Downie (Numurkah)

3. Connor Hayes (Tatura)

Roughie: Michael Archer (Tatura)

Alex Mitchell

(News sports reporter)

1. Will Hale (Mooroopna)

2. Connor Hayes (Tatura)

3. Luke Nolan (Katandra)

Roughie: Alec Young (Kyabram)

Lauren Bordin

(News sports editor)

1. Liam Gledhill (Numurkah)

2. Shaun Downie (Numurkah)

3. Will Hale (Mooroopna)

Roughie: Luke Nolan (Katandra)

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