Clarence Valley Dream Team decided
THE wait is finally over.
After sifting through some of the best cricketers the Clarence Valley has produced, the selectors have come up with a final squad of 12 for the Dream Team.
During the past few weeks we've looked at many worthy candidates from those opening batsmen who take on the quicks down to the spin bowlers who rely on guile to out-think opposition batsmen.
The five selectors, Neil Martin, Bruce Baxter, Jeff Hackett, Bob McCredie and Tim McMahon, have cast their final votes.
All five selectors admitted the task was not an easy one with so many quality cricketers to choose from.
But in the final wash-up several players, according to the selectors, were walk-up starts.
Lower Clarence's Brian Cotten was an automatic selection at the top of the batting line-up as were all-rounders John Frame and Russell Ellem who grabbed the number four and five batting positions.
Graeme Payne got the selectors' vote just ahead of another class gloveman John Fenn and spin wizard Horrie Cameron received the nod as the Dream Team's number one spinner.
To be named in the Dream Team is one thing but to be named captain is a special achievement.
For Neil Martin being chosen to lead such a talented side was somewhat overwhelming.
“I was a bit surprised to be named captain. But I suppose I had as good as chance as anyone else,” Martin said.
“It was certainly a difficult task selecting such a side.
"All the selectors realise that there are players who missed out who were equally as good and in some people's opinion, better.
“Selecting such a team or any team for that matter is an almost impossible task.
"We could have picked the 12 best cricketers but we went for a balanced side.
“Individually you could find as good or better cricketers who would make the team.”
However, Martin admits selecting a composite side to beat the Dream Team would be a big ask.
“I don't think you could pick a team which would beat this one,” Martin said.
“It's a good side and they would bat down to at least nine or 10.
“There are plenty of capable quicks in the team and we've picked the best leggie the Clarence has produced.
“Most of the batsmen and all-rounders would bat three or four in their club side and you also have the likes of John Frame who could open the bowling.”
Martin added there were plenty of players who would be considered unlucky not to make the side.
“John Moy was a terrific bat and Keith Ellem, Dennis Godbee and Basil Cotten were all class bowlers,” he said.
“Andrew Firth, Mick Morris and Tony Blanch were also in the back of the selectors' minds.”
CLARENCE VALLEY DREAM TEAM
- Brian Cotten – A right-hand “master blaster” who dominated the Lower Clarence in the 1970s.
- Reg McLennan – The perfect foil for Cotten, McLennan batted all day in the 1940s and '50s.
- Robert Stevens – Stevens' left-hand batting plundered Clarence River bowlers throughout the 1980s and '90s.
- John Frame – A dynamic all-rounder from the 1980s to 2000s. One of the first chosen.
- Russell Ellem – Ellem's all-round skills were handy to any top-order and bowling attack in the 1930s to '50s.
- Neil Frame – Another easy selection, given his 1960s to '80s batting and medium-pace bowling.
- Neil Martin – His captaincy skills, in addition to being a true all-rounder in the 1960s to '80s, made Martin a solid choice.
- Jeff Hackett – Before becoming an umpire, Hackett was lethal with his batting and left-arm spinners in the 1970s and '80s.
- Graeme Payne – The team's wicketkeeper, Payne added valuable batting to any team he played in from the 1970s to '90s.
- Henry Brown – In the 1960s and '70s, Brown was fast, seriously fast. An automatic choice.
- Warren Watkins – Left-armer Watkins fooled batsmen with his accuracy and guile from the 1970s to '90s.
- Horrie Cameron – The team's No.1 spinner, Cameron's exploits in the 1930s to '50s were remarkable.