NSW SpeedBlitz Blues all-rounder Steven Smith is the 2011/12 Steve Waugh Medallist, while Lend Lease Breakers batter Leah Poulton and Lisa Sthalekar have shared the Belinda Clark Medal. This is the first time the award has been shared.
The Steve Waugh Medal and Belinda Clark Medal are presented to the Players of the Year for the NSW SpeedBlitz Blues and Lend Lease Breakers respectively.
The Steve Waugh Medal is decided through a 3-2-1 vote by players at the end of each Bupa Sheffield Shield and Ryobi Cup match. In addition, votes from the Champions League tournament in India were added this year. The votes from all these matches are combined to determine the winner.
After a tremendous season in all forms of the game, Steven Smith was the clear winner this season with 214 votes, finishing 47 votes clear of Moises Henriques, who had 167 votes.
Smith had an excellent season in which he contributed in all formats of the game. It started in October, when he was a major contributor to New South Wales reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League Tournament in India, scoring 103 runs at an average of 34.33, including a vital 45 not out in a crucial victory against the Mumbai Indians. In the Bupa Sheffield Shield, Steve was the 2nd highest run scorer for the NSW SpeedBlitz Blues with 492 runs at an average of 41.00, while in the Ryobi One Day Cup, Steve scored 189 runs in only five matches, in addition to taking 10 outfield catches.
Mitchell Starc won the Ryobi Cup Player of the Year award in a tight contest. He finished with 73 votes to just edge out Moises Henriques (63 votes) and Steven Smith (58 votes). Mitch was superb with the ball, taking 15 wickets at an average of 17.73 in only five matches, with his best figures being 5-39 against Queensland, and 4-39 versus Western Australia.
The Bupa Sheffield Shield Player of the Year was narrowly won by Peter Nevill with 94 votes, only 3 votes clear of Steven Smith (91 votes). Nevill was superb all season finishing up as the highest NSW SpeedBlitz Blues’ run scorer in the competition with 570 runs at an average of 51.81, and in doing so becoming the fastest ever wicket-keeper to reach 1000 First Class runs for the State.
In the first season of the KFC T20 Big Bash League, Moises Henriques won the Player of the Tournament Award for the Sydney Sixers. In a tight contest Henriques (91 votes), edged out Brett Lee (83 votes) and Nic Maddinson (77 votes). Henriques was the Sixers’ leading scorer with 232 runs, including a superb 70 in the final that helped the Sixers become the inaugural winners of the tournament.
For cross-town rivals the Sydney Thunder, their Player of the Tournament was Chris Gayle. Gayle was a clear winner with 120 votes, followed by Scott Coyte (93 votes). Gayle was dynamite opening the batting, leading all run-scorers with 252 runs at an average of 42.00, including a superb 100 not out in a round two victory over the Adelaide Strikers.
The Belinda Clark Medal is shared for the first time between Leah Poulton and Lisa Sthalekar, tying on 190 votes each. It is the 4th time that Sthalekar has won the award, while it is Poulton’s 2nd consecutive award, and 3rd in total.
Sthalekar, had an outstanding season and this year became the leading wicket-taker in the history of the WNCL, and also passed 3000 runs with the bat. She was a major contributor with both bat and ball throughout the season.
Poulton, also showed her class in both formats of the game, leading all run-scorers in the T20 competition with 411 runs at 50.63, while adding 254 runs in the WNCL at an average of 42.33.
Sthalekar also won the Women’s National Cricket League Player of the Year, picking up 91 votes to edge out Rachel Haynes (77) by 14 votes.
Sarah Coyte (148 votes) took out the Women’s T20 Player of the Year in another close finish, beating Alyssa Healy (128) by 20 votes.
Cricket NSW Chief Executive David Gilbert congratulated both Smith, Poulton and Sthalekar on their Awards.
“Steven, Leah and Lisa have all had fantastic seasons for NSW,” said Gilbert.
“Steve’s performances were outstanding and winning the Steve Waugh Medal is a just reward for his ability to score runs and take wickets in all forms of the game and at vital times. He is an excellent all-round cricketer with a never-say-die attitude.”
“Leah and Lisa also had very impressive seasons, and to share the Belinda Clark Medal is a fitting result and testament to the talent and ability of these two cricketers. Both have been instrumental in the continued success of the Lend Lease Breakers.”
During the evening Cricket NSW also presented Rising Star Awards to teenage opening batsman Kurtis Patterson and to Lend Lease Breakers leg-spinner Angela Reakes.
Kurtis, 18, who plays for the St George club, had a superb season and became the youngest ever player to score a century on debut in the Sheffield Shield, when he compiled 157 against Western Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground in November.
Angela, 21, is seen as one of the brightest leg-spin prospects in the country and has already played 25 WNCL and 29 T20 games for the Lend Lease Breakers. Her ability as a leader was also recognised this summer when she was named co-captain of the Australian Youth side for their tour to New Zealand.