Sport

Outside The Box: Haisman Shield Top 15

By Alex Mitchell

With the Haisman Shield to wrap this weekend, now is the time for Outside The Box to unleash a top 15 that will get the people talking.

Today, the data-driven operation that is OTB presents the definitive list of Cricket Shepparton’s top 15 talents, produced after hundreds of hours of number crunching.

A valuable measurement, the research found, was comparing players on how they performed against the league’s top four sides — Katandra, Numurkah, Central Park-St Brendan’s and Northerners — the true test of a cricketer’s character.

1. Liam Gledhill (Numurkah)

Stat that matters: 27 wickets at 10.6 this season.

V top four averages 2018-19: 94 runs at 18.8, nine wickets at 11.4.

Comment: If I want to win a game of cricket, the first bloke I’m calling is ‘‘Flipper’’. Has shown in more than 200 Haisman Shield games an ability to lead with bat and ball, this year smashing 300-plus runs to go with 27 efficient wickets. 6-31 against United showed his spin still has match-winning potential, while his finals form is strong with two three-fors. The best cricketer in the competition.

2. Jedd Wright (Katandra)

Stat that matters: 304 runs at 43.4 in finals in the last three seasons.

V top four averages 2018-19: 135 runs at 45, four wickets at 22.

Comment: Right on Gledhill’s heels is Wright, who with 413 runs and 21 wickets this season remains his side’s most vital player. Keen to let others have a crack, he has settled into a spot batting at five or six, happy to bring pain to tired bowlers with his big hitting. His finals record in the last three seasons has him averaging 43.4 with the bat and 11.2 with the ball for 14 wickets — big game player.

3. Mark Nolan (Nagambie)

Stat that matters: 464 runs at 38.7 this season.

V top four averages 2018-19: 118 runs at 23.6, five wickets at 16.

Comment: It might seem harsh to have Mr Lightfoot at three, but being third to two competition champions is not too shabby. His record against this season’s top four isn’t the best, but his job in leading his squad to finals was tough enough and that is where his immense talent shone through. Showings like 6-32 against Tatura, 4-32 against Old Students and 101 versus United highlighted how good the gun all-rounder is.

4. Mitch Brett (Northerners)

Stat that matters: 207 runs at 69.

V top four averages 2018-19: 207 runs at 69.

Comment: What makes the Jets’ skipper stand out from the rest is his ability to lift against the best sides. While it is easy to plunder tons against mediocre bowling outfits, Brett made 64 not out against Central Park and 106 not out in a tough run chase against Katandra. A season of 460 runs at 38.3 and 12 wickets at 19.8 is nothing to sneeze at.

5. Shaun Downie (Numurkah)

Stat that matters: 309 runs at 51.5 in finals in the last two seasons.

V top four averages 2018-19: 205 runs at 41, 11 wickets at 18.3.

Comment: Getting it done in the big games is a talent you just can’t teach — and Downie knows how to turn it on. While he is not failure proof with the bat, he can tear a game apart with either willow or leather — 475 runs and 25 wickets this season tells you that much.

6.Joel Brett (Northerners)

Stat that matters: 561 runs at 43.2.

V top four averages 2018-19: 65 runs at 13.

Comment: No-one made more Haisman runs than ‘‘Snowy’’ this season, but his form against the top four leaves a bit to be desired. But make no mistake about it, this is one of the league’s best batsmen, evidenced by back-to-back centuries against Old Students and Mooroopna.

7. Michael Eckard (Numurkah)

Stat that matters: 27 wickets at 10.6 this season.

V top four averages 2018-19: 141 runs at 35.3, 10 wickets at 15.3.

Comment: An exceptional season from Eckard could end with a premiership medallion and it is hard to say if his batting or spin bowling is more damaging. 332 runs to go with 27 poles is not bad going and his touch does not drop off against the best. Unlucky to be this low if anything.

8. Ramadan Yze (Central Park-St Brendan’s)

Stat that matters: 56 wickets at 11.6 in finals since 2014.

V top four averages 2018-19: Five wickets at 14.

Comment: He’s certainly had a bit of practice in finals, but this is one of the greatest big game players Cricket Shepparton has seen, with 56 wickets and 639 runs in his last five finals campaigns. You can’t say his best is beyond him when he reeled off 6-37 in the Tigers’ first final.

9. Kyle Mueller (Kyabram)

Stat that matters: 512 runs at 64 this season.

V top four averages 2018-19: 139 runs at 34.8.

Comment: Superstar batsman who plundered an incredible amount of runs this season, including against the big boys. 69 in a final after scores of 101 not out and 146 to help his side get there.

10. Scott Richardson (Katandra)

Stat that matters: 26 wickets at 15.7 this season.

V top four averages 2018-19: 98 runs at 19.6, 10 wickets at 12.4.

Comment: One of the top all-rounders in the game, with 300-plus runs to go with his 26 wickets. Batting lacks slightly against the best, but his bowling certainly does not.

11. Tim Arnel (Numurkah)

Stat that matters: 10-25 against Euroa this season.

V top four averages 2018-19: Two wickets at 32.

Comment: 27 wickets at nine in half a season probably falls under the category of ‘‘decent’’ if you ask me.

12. Luke Nolan (Katandra)

Stat that matters: 477 runs at 39.8 this season.

V top four averages 2018-19: 189 runs at 47.3.

Comment: Whacks runs no matter the opponent, but is averaging a touch less than 15 in his last two finals campaigns.

13. Sam Kershaw (Shepparton United)

Stat that matters: 491 runs at 49.1 this season.

V top four averages 2018-19: 242 at 60.5.

Comment: Standout first campaign in the league and with his average increasing against the top four you can’t question if the runs were hard-earned. Four 50s and one century.

14. Andrew Riordan (Katandra)

Stat that matters: 257 runs at 42.8.

V top four averages 2018-19: 116 runs at 38.7, six wickets at 13.5.

Comment: Has X-factor about him, shown when he shredded the Twenty20 grand final with bat and ball.

15. Jayden Armstrong (Tatura)

Stat that matters: 24 wickets at 16.6.

V top four averages 2018-19: 47 runs at 15.7, nine wickets at 15.3.

Comment: The emerging all-rounder stepped his game up against the big boys, 4-41 against Northerners his best bowling output of the year. One to watch.

Apologies: Will Hale is unlucky, but his run tally has decreased each year, down from 548 to 482 to 367. Brendan Scott deserved consideration, while Ethan Baxter is genuinely unlucky, but 15 of his 31 wickets came against bottom three sides. Ryan Sidebottom would also top the list, but the most important ability is availability.