Cleaver leading the Champion Player ratings on MyCricket
THE race for the GDSC Premier League's Champion Player honours is still wide open between two of the competition's best young guns as the final round of regular season play kicks off today.
South Services batsman Brendan Cleaver leads the rankings and is four points clear of Harwood's Ben McMahon despite playing two fewer matches than the Lower River representative.
Clarence River Cricket Association president and Cleaver's South Services team mate Tom Kroehnert praised the young player and said he has been playing a bit happier this year.
"Brendo is coming good at the right end of the year for our side," Kroehnert said. "His batting has been coming along a lot this second half of the season and it is what you need heading into finals cricket.
"I think he has always been confident in his own abilities and that is why he has sustained a position in the Premier League side for as long as he has."
Cleaver has performed at a consistently high level in recent seasons finding himself in the top 10 rankings for Champion Player the past five seasons in a row.
"I think he might be enjoying his cricket a bit more this year," Kroehnert said.
"We bat him a bit lower in the order now as well because he has begun to bowl a fair few overs for us.
"That bit of an extra break between batting and bowling may be helping him as well this season to perform."
Cleaver's biggest competition for the Champion Player mantle piece comes in the form of perennial achiever Ben McMahon, who was tight runner-up in the rankings to team mate Doug Harris last season.
Westlawn's Brad Inmon sits in third place on the current rankings, but with 15 points separating him and the front runner it will be a tough ask of the dogged batsman.
Tucabia-Copmanhurst's consistent performer Mitch Henwood leads the rankings in second grade, while Coutts Crossing veteran Craig Woods leads third grade from captain Ken Willis.