While the Australian cricket summer has officially finished, with domestic cricket and club cricket coming to a close for another year, the cricketing community hasn’t disappeared into the dark, cold climate of off-season just yet.
We all had one last important engagement to fulfil.
Instead of our putting on our spikes, suncream and zinc, we donned on the heels, make-up and tried to match our accessories with our dress; at least that is what the girls did, who knows what the guys get up to when choosing their suits and getting ready!
As a player you look forward to the end of the season functions to celebrate the winners; reminisce about the close games that you won; the specky catch that you or your teammate took; the funny stories that come from travelling interstate to play.
If you are lucky you also celebrate the success of your own individual performance and, most importantly, the success of your team in the competition.
In the last couple of weeks most state/territory associations who compete in the domestic competitions (other than Queensland, Western Australia and ACT) have held their night of nights for the players before the off-season has officially begun.
At Cricket NSW, our night of nights is called the Steve Waugh Medal.
Cricket NSW makes it a tremendous night for the players, support staff, administrators, volunteers, families and friends, with over 400 guests celebrating the teams, current players, future stars and past legends of the game.
I have attended many Steve Waugh Medal nights over the years, and one big change I have witnessed is the number of awards.
The change in landscape of cricket has meant that 14 awards and acknowledgements were handed out at the 2013 Steve Waugh Medal night.
The awards and acknowledgements were, in order:
• NSW Speedblitz Blues Ryobi Cup Player of the Year
• Lend Lease Breakers WNCL Player of the Year
• Cricket NSW Rising Stars
• Alan McGilvray Memorial Scholarship
• 2013 Hall of Fame Induction
• Media Awards
• Lend Lease Breakers WT20 Player of the Year
• NSW Speedblitz Blues Bupa Sheffield Field Player of the Year
• Sydney Thunder Player of the Tournament
• Sydney Sixers Champions League Player of the Tournament
• Sydney Sixers Player of the Tournament
• The Belinda Clark Medal
• The Steve Waugh Medal
That is a few to get through, but the night was amazing with all players, Cricket NSW staff, volunteers, family and friends having a great time and as the saying goes, letting our hair down.
For the Breakers, the night was made even more special by the fact that we had won that elusive double, the Women’s National Cricket League (eighth in a row) and the Women’s T20 trophy, making us the only state to have won the double.
From a personal perspective it was also a night that I will never forget as Cricket NSW acknowledged my retirement.
I was able to give one last speech to thank the many people that have helped me along the way to allow me to live out my cricketing dream: my co-workers, coaching staff, team-mates and most importantly, my family .
I was very lucky to have Rina Hore (currently the Executive Director for the Bradman Museum) deliver a very touching, humbling and emotional reflection on my cricketing career.
Rina was my first State manager when I debuted for the Breakers, and Rina was the person that rang me to inform me that I was selected in the Australian team for the first time.
Her speech still blows me away and I still get emotional when thinking about it.
I was truly humbled by the experience and feel so happy and blessed to share it with the people that I care about the most.
At Cricket NSW, the winners of the player awards are often overwhelmed. There is no bigger compliment than being voted the best by your peers.
Of course, as is typical of the Australian way, we are the first to knock ourselves down and play down our achievements, therefore these awards allow us, for a moment, a chance to be in the spotlight and have your performances recognised.
So, in saying that I want to acknowledge all of the State Association winners so far who have been deemed the best of the best this season:
NSW: Steve Waugh Medal – Gurinder Sandu and Belinda Clark Medal – Alex Blackwell
Tasmania: Ricky Ponting Medal – James Faulkner and Cripps Tasmanian Roar Player of the Year – Erin Burns
South Australia: Neil Dansie Medalist – Chadd Sayer and Andrea McCauley Trophy – Lauren Ebsary
Victoria: Dean Jones Medal – Aaron Finch and Sharon Tredrea Award – Meg Lanning
As dawn arrived last Friday morning and we carried our high heels in our hands on our way to find a cab it marked the end of the Australian cricket summer.
But never fear, for us crazy cricket lovers there is still plenty of cricket to whet the appetite.
The Indian Premier League is set to start shortly, the Champions Trophy is coming up and the most important series this year, the Ashes, is just around the corner.