Cooper and Gurrey named ND's Cricketers of the Year

Published on 21 Apr 2020

Henry Cooper and Katie Gurrey have been recognised for their superb seasons with the bat, respectively winning the Daniel Vettori and Nicola Browne Awards for Male and Female Cricketer of the Year.

Cooper finished as Northern Districts' top run-scorer in both the Plunket Shield and Ford Trophy, scoring three centuries in the former and four half-centuries in the latter.

Cooper came within a whisker of averaging 50 in both formats, reaching 52.13 in The Ford Trophy and 49.9 in the Plunket Shield.

The right-handed batsman's numbers are also among the top across both competitions, with his 499 runs in the Plunket Shield the second-most of any batsman in the competition, while his 417 Ford Trophy runs saw him finish sixth in the List A run charts.

In a great season of personal growth for Cooper, he set a new high-score in the Plunket Shield (149), while a shift to the middle-order also saw him set a new List A high-score of 83.

Gurrey also finished as the SkyCity Hamilton Northern Spirit's top-scorer across formats, registering 576 runs in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield and 416 in the Dream11 Super Smash.

Gurrey also set new high-scores in both formats, making 123 in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield and 106 not out in the Dream11 Super Smash; the first-ever T20 century by a Spirit player.

A further century followed in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield, while she made a further seven half-centuries across both formats.

Gurrey's weight of runs saw her average 72 in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield and finish as the competition's top-scorer,  while her 416 in the Dream11 Super Smash came at an average of 52 and was most runs scored in any season by a Spirit player.

Lucy Boucher and Kristian Clarke have been named Northern Districts Young Cricketers of the Year.

Boucher had a breakout season with the SkyCity Hamilton Northern Spirit, debuting for the side in both the Dream11 Super Smash and Hallyburton Johnstone Shield.

Boucher was also the top run-scorer at the Women's U19 National Tournament, scoring 221 runs at an average of 44.02, with a highest score of 108; the first-ever century scored in the Tournament.

The Gillette Venus Cup also provided plenty of runs for Boucher, scoring 228 runs at an average of 57 and strike-rate of 107.55 to again finish as the tournament's top-scorer.

Clarke had a taste of action with the Knights as he joined them on a pre-season tour to Melbourne.

He then announced himself on the world stage with an excellent Under 19 World Cup with New Zealand.

He took seven wickets at an average of 14 to finish as New Zealand's top wicket-taker.

His strong bowling was complemented by two match-winning efforts with the bat against Sri Lanka and the West Indies as New Zealand progressed to the semi-finals.

John Keen and Paul Wills have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to cricket, respectively winning the Allan McBride Trophy for Service to Junior Cricket Award and the Service to Cricket Award.

John Keen stepped down from the Counties Manukau Cricket Association (CMCA) Junior, a position he had since its inception in 2008, having also been a member of the panel' predecessor, the CMCA Junior Board.

The CMCA Junior Panel instigated and guided junior through great change, culminating in the Age and Stage changes in 2018.

Much of this, however, had already been implemented by CMCA under Keen's leadership; he was the panel's convenor for five years,  

During the same decade, Keen volunteered as a junior coach at club and representative level, taking time off work to take age-group teams to tournaments. 

He also served on the Pukekohe-Metro Cricket Club committee for many years and represented the cricket club on the joint venture club house built on Bledisloe Park, which opened in 2016. 

Keen volunteered as an unqualified umpire (mainly in juniors) for many years. In 2016, he took his exams and has been a club and representative umpire ever since.

Paul Wills transferred to Tauranga in 1991 and immediately joined the Otumoetai Cadets Cricket Club based at the Tauranga Domain.

The top and middle-order batsman, played premier cricket for Cadets for approximately a decade and a half and was also selected for the Bay of Plenty senior representative team on 17 occasions.

Almost immediately on his arrival at Cadets, Wills was appointed the Club Treasurer. He served in continuous Cadets administration until 2008, including a long term as Club President. His services to the Otumoetai Cadets Cricket Club were recognised in 2006 when Wills was elected a life member.

In 1994, Wills was elected the Tauranga Cricket Association Treasurer which he held until the formation of the Western Bay of Plenty Cricket Association in 2010. Dissatisfaction with the grass wickets in the city resulted in the TCA successfully tendering to the Tauranga City Council to take over the city's grass wicket maintenance. 

As TCA Treasurer, Wills took on the additional role of facilitating the finances of the TCC wicket contract and was the liaison between the Tauranga City Council and Tauranga Cricket. Such was the success of his hard work, that the wicket contract between the two parties remained in place until a change in direction in 2016. In that time, grass wickets increased from six to nine wicket blocks, with artificial wickets growing by six pitches.

The amalgamation of junior and senior cricket in the Western Bay of Plenty in 2010 led to the formation of the Western Bay of Plenty Cricket Association, with Wills elected as Treasurer and a position on the Board of Management. 

Today the WBOPCA is an extremely healthy financial position due to Wills' diligence. In the last four to five seasons, Wills has played a big part in formulating and setting up the structures that allow for the growth and clear pathways of the game in the region. 

A further string to the Wills administration bow has seen him involved for the last ten years, firstly with the St Mary's School cricket committee, and then onto the Aquinas College Cricket Committee, where he currently holds the position of Chairman. 

Wills has also found time to coach school and age-group representative teams within his extremely busy life. 

It is no surprise that no matter what local cricket body Wills has been or continues to be involved with, that they have all become become high-achieving clubs/organisations, within their area of local cricket. 

Tim Seifert's strong performances with both the bat and behind the stumps meant he was recognised as the Knights Dream11 Super Smash Player of the Year.

His 323 runs were the sixth-most in the competition, while no one bettered Seifert's 12 catches.

Seifert's best performance saw him score 75 off 49 balls and take three catches as he helped the Knights defeat Auckland Aces at Seddon Park.

Another eye-catching knock saw Seifert plunder 74 runs off 36 balls at Hagley Oval against Canterbury Kings, including four consecutive sixes in one over.

An average of 40.38 at a strike-rate of 43.56, couple with Seifert's tidy work behind the stumps, saw him feature for the BLACKCAPS in home series against England and India.

Henry Cooper's 499 runs at the top of the order has seen him earn the title of Plunket Shield Player of the Year.

Cooper's weight of runs is impressive in a shortened first-class year, in which only five matches were played, and saw him finish second in the Plunket Shield run-scoring charts.

In the second match of the season, Cooper hit his highest first-class score as he made 149 against the Otago Volts, almost carrying his bat, only to be last man out.

This began a run of three centuries in four matches, as Cooper also reached three figures against Auckland Aces, before scoring 130 against Canterbury in the final game of the season to finish with an average of 49.9.

Cooper's strong form saw him called into an NZ XI side to face India at Seddon Park, with Cooper scoring 40 in his sole innings.

A breakout season in 50-over cricket has led to Henry Cooper also being named Ford Trophy Player of the Year.

Having opened the batting last season, Cooper switched to the middle-order with impressive results.

His first innings saw him strike his first List A half-century as he hit 75 off 83 balls against the Otago Volts at Seddon Park.

In eight further innings, Cooper would hit three more half-centuries, with a top-score of 83 against Wellington Firebirds.

His 417 runs were the sixth-highest in the competition, coming at an impressive average of 52.13 and 92.1 strike-rate.

576 runs at the top of the order, which helped guide the SkyCity Hamilton Northern Spirit to a maiden Hallyburton Johnstone Shield Grand Final, has earned Katie Gurrey the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield Player of the Year Award.

Gurrey hit her straps from the start of the season, setting her highest List A score of 123 in the first match against Canterbury Magicians.

A further century followed against the Central Hinds, while four half-centuries meant Gurrey averaged 72, at a strike-rate of 82.4, over 11 innings.

Gurrey's 576 runs saw her finish as the competition's highest run-scorer, while this tally is the second-most runs in a season by a Spirit player.

Katie Gurrey carried her form into T20 cricket as she was also named the Spirit's Dream11 Super Smash Player of the Year for the second year running.

Gurrey was averaging 267 after the first three rounds of the competition thanks to two big half-centuries and an unbeaten 106 against the Central Hinds; the first-ever T20 century by a Spirit player.

Gurrey scored another half-century as she finished the season with 416 runs at an average of 52 and strike-rate of 133.33.

This total was the highest number of runs scored in any season by a Spirit player, while she also finished third in the competition charts.

Ash Mehrotra and Brett Thorburn have been acknowledged as several of the top umpires in the region, while Stephen Crossan has been rewarded for his excellent grounds-keeping in the 2020 Northern Districts Awards.

Mehrotra was named Umpire of the Year for the second successive year after a busy summer.

A part of the New Zealand domestic panel for seven years, his accuracy and decisiveness of decision making, the respect he is held in from the players are several factors contributing to Mehrotra winning the award.

He stood in a number of games across the Plunket Shield, The Ford Trophy, Super Smash, NZ A vs India A, WHITE FERNS vs South Africa, a Sheffield game at The Gabba, and was TV umpire for seven international matches.

Mehrotra is eager to learn with a great sense of humour, has total respect for the game and all the parties that contribute to it.

Brett Thorburn will one day be hoping to follow in Mehrotra's steps after he was named Emerging Umpire of the Year.

He has developed quickly this year into a very good umpire, utilising his years of playing the game to take on his new role of umpiring.

He has demonstrated fantastic rapport with the players and feel for the game. With his still developing knowledge of the laws of the game, coupled with his very good man management skills, he is one of our up-and-coming umpires to watch in the future.

Stephen Crossan's tremendous work tending the grounds at Te Puke Cricket Club has seen him win the District Association Groundsman of the Year.

Crossan has been involved in grounds-keeping at the Te Puke Cricket Club for the past five years. Between his day job at the family farm/orchard, he finds time to prepare the block at Te Puke, often having to down tools on the farm at short notice to come in and cover the wicket. He not only prepares the wicket but the ground surrounds are maintained to a very high standard.

Crossan's training has come by the skills learned in his farming background, plus volunteer work conducted at Bay Oval. 

To cap it off, Crossan is the Te Puke Premier Men's captain and Club president.

Felicity Leydon-Davis, Jake Gibson and Freddy Walker are the first winners to be named for the 2020 Northern Districts Awards.

A superb all-round season for Felicity Leydon-Davis has seen her named as the Northern Premier League Player of the Year.

Leydon-Davis was both the top wicket-taker and run-scorer in the competition, claiming 11 wickets and scoring 209 runs, remarkably without being dismissed throughout the competition.

She also captained her Velocity side as they won the T20 title.

Jake Gibson has been named as the McCaw Lewis Maori Player of the Year after strong performances with both bat and ball for Waikato Valley and ND A saw Gibson make his debut for Northern Districts in the Ford Trophy, where he claimed a superb 5-31 against the Auckland Aces.

Gibson was later included in Plunket Shield squads, but is still to make his first-class debut for ND.

He did however show his red-ball qualities when selected for an NZ XI to play India by taking 2-26, including the prized wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara.

Gibson also represented Northern Maori in two of their fixtures, scoring half-centuries on both occasions.

There was repeat success for Freddy Walker as he was named District Association Men's Player of the Year for the second year running.

He enjoyed a stellar season across formats with Hamilton, averaging a scarcely believable 191 with the bat and taking nine wickets in the Fergus Hickey Rosebowl, while also being top-scorer in the Brian Dunning Cup with 152 at an average of 76.

More awards to follow.