LCCA team of the 2019/20 season
CRICKET: The 2019/20 season of the Lower Clarence Cricket Association Maclean Bowling Club first grade competition was a chance for new beginnings, and while it may have ended prematurely, it has seen the emergence of a dominate Maclean United force.
This season saw the return of Yamba Cricket Club to the top grade of the competition, but also the departure of the Wanderers team that had been a constant in recent years towards the top of the table.
While bushfire smoke, then weekend after weekend of rain saw little cricket action take place in the middle in the weeks after Christmas, there was no denying Maclean United had laid the groundwork for a successful campaign to defend their 2018/19 season title.
Early season wins and impressive performances with both bat and ball saw them as the team to beat this season, and the rivalry between them and their grand final opponents from last season Iluka continued to grow.
Not to be outdone, Harwood once again reminded everyone why they had been a powerhouse of Lower Clarence cricket season after season as they made a strong push for finals contention, only to be dismissed from the finals by a red-hot Iluka.
With one game left in the season, the showdown between the Maclean United and Iluka loomed.
United had been strong all season, and the title was theirs to lose. Iluka had their sights set on not just redemption for last season's grand final, but the chance to end their grand final losing streak which had seen them denied the premiership the last two seasons running.
Unfortunately the coronavirus pandemic saw the grand final and the season abandoned and Maclean United handed the title after finishing on top of the first grade table, and earning the first grand final spot.
Despite the season ending on disappointing note there can be no denying the quality of cricket that took place this season, which is recognised in The Daily Examiner's LCCA first grade Team of the 2019/20 Season.
1. EVAN LEWIS (Harwood)
THE leading run scorer for the first grade competition, Lewis blasted 328 runs at an average of 32.80. With a high score of an unbeaten 88*, Lewis consistently made the most of his time in the middle opening for Harwood and regularly got them on the front foot with the bat.
Honourable mention: Geoff Simmons (Maclean United), 182 runs at 20.22, HS 41.
2. TROY URQHART (Yamba)
A PROMOTION up the order to accommodate the large number of talented middle order batters in this season's LCCA first grade competition, Urqhart did find himself out in the middle early a number of times this season after top order collapses for Yamba. Finished the year with 193 runs at 38.60, and a top score of 91*. In Yamba's return to the top grade Urqhart was a leader.
Honourable mention: Matisse Thiering (Lawrence), 152 runs at 25.33, HS 49.
3. JARRAD MORAN (Maclean United)
CAPTAIN of the dual-premiership United side, Moran was magnificent with the bat this season. Scoring the second most runs of the competition, Moran ended 2019/20 runs to his name at 35.44 and a high score of 61. Moran isn't just a run-scorer, he also keeps for United and is more than handy with the gloves behind the stumps and had seven catches and two stumpings to his name for the season.
Honourable mention: Ian Holder (Yamba), 187 runs at 31.17, HS 85.
4. LUKE RICHARDSON (Harwood)
THE second leading run scorer for Harwood in 2019/20, Richardson regularly contributed with the bat in often difficult batting conditions. Ended the season with a total of 215 runs at 21.15 and a high score of 58.
Honourable mention: Adam Izzard (Maclean United), 185 runs at 26.43, HS 46*.
5. COBY TABOR (Maclean United)
ONE of Maclean United's rising stars, this young gun became a regular member of the first grade squad after first breaking into the team late last season and has not looked out of place among the more experienced members of the United group. A gamebreaker with bat and ball, Tabor returned figures of 285 runs at an average of 31.67 with the bat, and took eight wickets at an average of 10.75.
Honourable mention: Laurie Urqhart (Yamba), 105 runs at 21, HS 50.
6. DEAN BARTLETT (Iluka)
A GENUINE all-rounder who topped both the run scoring and the wickets table for Iluka, Bartlett is a dangerous player that any side would be glad to have in their line-up. With a batting return of 243 runs at 34.71 and bowling figures of 15 wickets and an average of 11.47, Bartlett was one of Iluka's key men in their quest for grand final redemption.
Honourable mention: Alex Moffitt (Maclean United), 151 runs at 16.78, HS 72.
7. JASON ALLEN (Iluka)
ANOTHER player who can turn a game with bat and ball, Allen was influential in helping his side to many totals with some later-order hitting. Finished second in Iluka's run tally with and claimed six wickets for the season.
Honourable mention: Dean Carroll (Harwood), 77 runs, HS 50*, 16 wkts at 14.81.
8. JARED BARBER (Iluka)
CLAIMED 10 wickets at an average of 10.80 and had season-best bowling figures of 4/17 which came from his spell of bowling against Harwood in their semi-final clash which turned the game in Iluka's favour. Got better as the year went on.
Honourable mention: Nathan Williams (Maclean United), 18 wkts 14.33, BB 3/9.
9. MATT BREAKWELL (Yamba)
WAS the equal-leading wicket taker for Yamba in the 2019/20 season, had a fantastic return of 10 wickets at an average of 10.20 and best bowling figures of 4/15.
Honourable mention: James Feaver (Yamba), 10 wkts at 15.00, BB 4/26.
10. TOM MULLINS (Harwood)
A REAL strike bowler that had a happy knack of taking wickets, Mullins finished the season with 16 wickets to his name at an average of just 9.00. Best bowling figures of 5/20 for the season he was one of only two players for Harwood to bag a five-wicket haul.
Honourable mention: Zac Newton (Iluka), 12 wkts at 16.25, BB 3/12.
11. ALBY POPKO (Maclean United)
SAVING the best for last in the bowling stakes, Popko was unstoppable with the ball this season and claimed the most number of wickets in the LCCA Maclean Bowling Club first grade competition. Another young gun of the Maclean United side, he finished the season with 21 wickets at an average of 10.33. His season-best figures of 5/19 was the only five-wicket haul from Maclean United all season.
Honourable mention: Jack Webster (Iluka), 9 wkts at 16.33, BB 3/34.
12th: TRAVIS ANDERSON (Lawrence)
LAWRENCE'S leading run scorer for the season, Anderson's big hitting did damage where other struggled. Finished the season with 166 runs at an average of 27.67 and a high score of 43.