In what was somewhat a stop-start season, with a number of 2 dayers reduced to 1 dayers, the challenge to win the Walder Medal really tightened up. There were many consistent performers throughout the season which promised a close vote count, held at the Gordon Barnard Reserve clubrooms.
After 4 rounds, George Drissell had got away to a flyer with three out of four games being influential, including a clear-cut Best On Ground performance in Round 4 with 30 votes. That saw him leading the vote count with 64 votes. In close contention was Andy Sheehan (54), Crawf (49), Blunt (46), Mummery (42), Dom Greene (41), Jacob (37), Adi (37) and Forrest (35).
A break was taken to enjoy the refreshments funded by the Tiger Club, brought in to set a culture of respect. The club was based around everyone taking care of a small toy Tiger of their own and having it on them at all times. At every selection, a new ring-leader was chosen to officiate the Tiger Club and, for a bit of fun, set the content theme of pictures to be taken with their Tigers. Thanks mainly to Griffin Sprague for his significant financial input, Ben Thiele for his quality content and 3D printing and the rest of the players for partaking in the right nature and having a lot of fun along the way, especially Boyd.
After 8 rounds, Jacob Jacob made his move with three influential games and young Cub Matthew Sheehan, son of Andy, also shot into contention making an impact in 3 games (and 4 of the past 5). In this phase, Sarthak Pansari was the biggest vote scorer, The Jane Train started to roll, Harry Dixon really started to motor and Luke Vasquez found form (and, not aware of the voting rules, a few votes for himself). This put Jacob in the lead with 96 votes, Drissell second with 83 followed by Adi (79), Dixon (74), Matt Sheehan (72), Janes (71), Blunt (69), and Sarthak (63).
After 11 rounds, this phase was commanded by young guns Jon Mummery and Sam Garrard, both with 2 big games. Also demanding recognition was Deelan Ramjee, Bilal Bangash, Craig Shield star Jack Lyndon, Boyd Peters and Christian Toppi with standout performances as Dixon continued to strike fear into our opponents.
The stage was set: two 1 day games left to finish off the season and many contenders keen to take Buddy home - who was going to pounce? The leaderboard: Jacob (123), Blunt (108), Dixon (105), Mummery (103), Janes (99) and Drissell (99).
After 13 rounds, Drissell had a massive 30 vote game in Round 12 and Dixon got big votes - would the Medal be going overseas for the very first time? Unfortunately Mummery and Janes both missed out on votes. So, who was going to take Buddy home? Powering home to the final Round, it was to be Jacob Jacob to win the coveted Bud Walder Medal for season 2019/2020! Jacob finished on 171 votes with George Drissell runner-up with 126 votes and Harry Dixon finishing third with 120 votes. Congratulations to all players on their performances and participating in voting.
In his acceptance speech, humble and selfless, as always, Jacob conveyed how he found it hard to find himself among the great players who have won the Medal in the past, gave credit to others for his success and expressed his preference to be playing Finals instead. Reports of his captain being somewhat overwhelmed by Jacobs accomplishment are unconfirmed.
A huge congratulations goes to Jacob Jacob for his performances and winning the Bud Walder Medal!
The Top 3 finishers season at a glance:Jacob Jacob: 180 runs @ 22.5 (2 x 20+ runs), 16 wickets @ 14.3 (2 x 3+ wicket innings)
George Drissell: 169 runs @ 18.8 (3 x 20+ runs), 18 wickets @ 17.6 (3 x 3+ wicket innings), 7 catches, 1 run out
Harry Dixon: 20 wickets @ 19.0 (3 x 3+ wicket innings)
Related: Past Walder Medal winners and history.