A crowd of almost 450 people were on-hand for the event at Optus Stadium’s River View Room, helping to recognise WA’s most outstanding performers of the 2017-18 season.
The night reflected the historic journey that WA cricket has been on in recent times, culminating in a season that had the WACA Ground host its final Ashes Test Match, before breaking new ground with the first sporting events at Optus Stadium (Cricket’s Optus Stadium Milestones: AUS v ENG One Day International – first international sports event, first sold-out sports event; SCO v THU WBBL Semi Final – first women’s sports event; SCO v HUR BBL Semi Final – first men’s domestic sports event, first sold-out domestic sports event).
Optus Stadium’s hosting of the Laurie Sawle Medal Night was also symbolic, bookending 2017-18 with functions at cricket’s two major venues, after the season launched with a breakfast on the outfield of the iconic WACA Ground, with the memories and moments of the defining year showcased in a video piece that opened the night.
Captains Lead The Way
A season of consistency across one day and four day competition had Mitch Marsh claim the Laurie Sawle Medal, with his four unbeaten knocks, a high score of 124 and 169 average steering WA to the JLT One Day Cup title in his first season as captain of the Warriors.
The younger Marsh brother continued his form into the JLT Sheffield Shield season, averaging 38.54 across his 12 innings and scoring an emphatic century against Queensland, his first at the WACA Ground, in November, which laid the platform for his inclusion in Australia’s Ashes squad ahead of Perth’s Third Test.
Western Fury captain Elyse Villani was recognised for her drought-breaking leadership, having led the state to its first WNCL Final in 18 years, with her Zoe Goss Medal accompanied by the Alcohol.Think Again Western Fury WNCL Player of the Year award.
An opening-game high score of 139 from Villani, the second best in the state’s history books, set the tone for the Fury’s WNCL campaign, as the skipper built an average of 51.71 with two half centuries to guide WA to its first 50-over decider since 1999-2000.
Villani’s consistency crossed to the Twenty20 format, with an average of 46 and three half-centuries helping the Scorchers progress to the WBBL|03 Finals. The performances led the Club to hosting the first women’s sporting event at Optus Stadium with the Semi Final win over the Sydney Thunder, before progressing to the Championship game against eventual-winners the Sydney Sixers.
* The Laurie Sawle Medal is awarded to the most outstanding Warriors player during the season and is voted on by match umpires and the State Selection Panel. Votes are taken at the end of all Sheffield Shield and One Day Cup matches.
** The Zoe Goss Medal considers performances by players representing WACA teams across the WNCL and WBBL. Voting is based on the 12 named players for any given match and coaching staff awarding 3-2-1 votes. The Zoe Goss Medal is awarded to the player who receives the most votes across both formats.
WA Greats Honoured With Gallery Induction
The night also featured the induction of two new members to the WACA’s Gallery of Greats – Damien Martyn and Adam Gilchrist.
Martyn was the most stylish batsman of his generation and had a gift of timing that was unequalled in world cricket in the early part of the 21st century, but he was also able to harness his exquisite stroke-making with a mostly-unrecognised work ethic and capacity to improvise.
Martyn overcame a series of hurdles to forge a formidable international career well into his 30s, rising to become one of few Australian batsmen to dominate multiple series in the sub-continent.
His 4406 runs at 46.38 in 67 Tests helped Australia dominate the world stage for much of his career, while he played critical roles in Australia’s World Cup successes in 1999 and 2003. The only 23-year-old appointed WA captain, Martyn flourished as a player once he was relieved of the formal post – with a century of matches and three Sheffield Shield wins for his State bringing 7329 runs at 43.89 – but he also became an astute and candid mentor and advisor to national and State leaders.
Martyn did not relish the limelight, eventually departing the game in singular fashion, but his legacy inspires lingering memories of the most brilliant strokes and innings.
Gilchrist changed the way cricket was played and viewed.
A promising wicketkeeper-batsman when he moved from Sydney in his early 20s in the search for more State opportunities, Gilchrist’s star rose to such an extent that he was universally recognised as one of the game’s most towering characters by the end of his remarkable career.
A highly-competent gloveman, who was equal to the task of keeping to spin great Shane Warne for most of his career, Gilchrist’s most essential features were his brutal game-changing onslaughts with the bat and refreshing sportsmanship.
Often scoring at a run a ball, no matter the format nor ball colour, the left-hander hammered 16 Test centuries from 96 consecutive matches – the most thrilling a 57-ball Ashes blitzkrieg at the WACA Ground in 2006-07 – while another 16 tons flowed in 287 one-day internationals.
Gilchrist made vital contributions to three Ashes series wins, three consecutive World Cup triumphs – including scoring 149 in the 2007 final – and two Sheffield Shield victories, while his 416 Test dismissals and 472 ODI scalps were world records.
He also dragged sportsmanship into the spotlight by walking after being given not out in a World Cup match in 2002-03. It was highly controversial at the time, but also served as a reminder that cricket’s greatest figures transcend the mere battle between bat and ball.
* The Gallery of Greats recognises the great contributors to WA cricket since the Association’s inception in 1885. The primary criteria established by the Board state that an inductee’s eligibility for inclusion is for truly outstanding and/or truly historic, or unique, commitment and contribution to WA cricket generally, in the person’s particular area, or areas, of expertise. The WACA Board is the final authority on approving the recommended inductees, which have flowed from the deliberations and recommendations of the Board-appointed selection panel. Induction into the Western Australian Cricket Gallery of Greats is considered to be the highest honour that the WACA can bestow on any individual.
Brunt Continues Dominance, All-Round Agar Claims Gong
England import Katherine Brunt maintained her hold on the Scorchers WBBL Player of the Year Award, collecting the title for the third-consecutive season and remaining the only winner of the honour.
Brunt dominated the competition to finish as WBBL|03’s leading wicket-taker, with 23 from her 14 matches and her economy rate of 4.83 placing her second for the season from all bowlers.
The pace bowler proved her mettle with her best return of 3-11 coming against the Melbourne Renegades in the cut-throat last game of the regular season, ensuring the win that secured Perth its berth in the finals.
A breakout season for free-wheeling, economical all-rounder Ashton Agar led him to the Simon Katich Medal as the Scorchers’ BBL|07 Player of the Year, with the 24-year-old’s fluid batting and tight left-arm spin also rewarded with a call-up to Australia’s Twenty20 squad.
Agar averaged 49.66 with the bat and notched his high score of an unbeaten 33 against the Melbourne Stars on Boxing Day, helping put the Scorchers on the path to the top of the table.
However, it was with the ball that Agar proved most effective in the BBL’s seventh season, as he led the Scorchers and sat third of full-time bowlers in the league with his economy rate of 5.74.
The affable all-rounder claimed his best figures of 3-19 in the top-of-the-table clash against the Adelaide Strikers in Alice Springs and ended the season with eight wickets from his 35 overs at an average of 25.12.
Back-to-Back Gold Cups for Shaun Marsh
Shaun Marsh’s revitalised international career was punctuated with his second-consecutive Gold Cup trophy, tallying 47 votes from the 10 major media outlets that submitted their 5-4-3-2-1 scoring.
Marsh received top votes from all but two of the outlets, following a season in which he averaged 42.57, with two centuries and four half-tons, across the 15 February 2017 to 15 February 2018 judging period.
The batsman’s 15 innings produced 596 runs, with his high score of 156 against England in the Ashes Test at the SCG a memorable moment for more than the century-and-a-half stand, as it came alongside a ton from brother Mitch.
In a replication of the 2016-17 Gold Cup placings, Mitch Marsh finished second with 38 votes, while Elyse Villani was third with 15.
Marsh, Turner Take Warriors Awards
Shaun Marsh backed up his Gold Cup win by also being named Alcohol.Think Again Western Warriors One Day Player of the Year, while vice-captain Ashton Turner, who took the reins of the side for much of the year in Mitch Marsh’s absence, was named the side’s Four Day Player of the Year.
The older Marsh brother was brutal in his one-day domination, being named Player of the Series and helping propel his State to its second domestic one day title in three years.
The 34-year-old topped the competition for runs scored, with 412 from his six innings at an intimidating average of 82.40.
Marsh signalled his intentions for the tournament with an unbeaten 132 in the side’s opener against New South Wales at the WACA Ground, going on to record three half-centuries.
Turner’s elevation to acting captain and his positive stewardship of a young, emerging side for much of the season resulted in him capturing the Warriors Four Day Player of the Year Award.
His mettle was showcased with an unbeaten 101 against eventual title-winners Queensland in November, as WA held on for a crucial draw in the first block of the competition.
Turner topped his side for runs scored throughout the season, sitting inside the top 15 for the competition with 650 at an average of 36.11, one century and three half-tons.
Peschel, Richardson Named Rising Stars
Western Fury and Perth Scorchers bowler Taneale Peschel and Warriors counterpart Jhye Richardson were named the Female and Male Rising Stars.
Peschel featured across seven WNCL matches for the Fury, taking seven wickets at an average of 34.14 and an economy of 5.53, snaring her best return of 2-28 in the side’s seven-wicket win over Tasmania in Adelaide.
The 23-year-old was called upon by the Scorchers for two Rebel WBBL matches, striking with 1-19 against the Sydney Thunder at Lilac Hill in early January.
Richardson’s acknowledgement as the Male Rising Star followed a breakout season that resulted in his One Day International debut for Australia against England in Brisbane in January.
The 21-year-old was the equal-highest wicket-taker for the JLT One Day Cup, with 13 from his 69 overs at an average of 27.38 and best figures of 3-60, while taking 18 wickets at 29.55 in his five JLT Sheffield Shield (nine innings) matches.
Kelly, Carmichael Take Peer-Voted Awards
Pace tyro Matt Kelly and batter Mathilda Carmichael were named winners of the values-based Excalibur and Legacy awards, respectively.
The Excalibur Award was introduced in the 1994-95 season and has each year been presented to the Warriors/Perth Scorchers player adjudged to have best adhered to the team’s values of: Work Hard, Speak Honestly, Celebrate Success, Respect the Past and Look After Your Mates.
The Legacy Award is the WACA’s high performance, values-based award for the women’s program and recognises the player adjudged to have best adhered to the team’s values of: Excellence, Trust and Honesty and Family.
2017-18 LAURIE SAWLE MEDAL NIGHT – AWARD WINNERS
Laurie Sawle Medal – Mitch Marsh
Zoe Goss Medal – Elyse Villani
Gallery of Great Inductions – Damien Martyn and Adam Gilchrist
Gold Cup – Shaun Marsh
Simon Katich Medal – Ashton Agar
Perth Scorchers WBBL|03 Player of the Year – Katherine Brunt
Western Warriors Domestic Four Day Player of the Year – Ashton Turner
Western Warriors Domestic One Day Player of the Year – Shaun Marsh
Western Fury WNCL Player of the Year – Elyse Villani
Legacy Award – Mathilda Carmichael
Excalibur Award – Matthew Kelly
Female Rising Star – Taneale Peschel
Male Rising Star – Jhye Richardson
2017-18 WACA CRICKET MEDIA AWARDS
Ken Casellas Award – Clint Wheeldon
Best Print/Online Story – Braden Quartermaine, The Sunday Times
Best TV Story – Josh Duane, NINE Network
Best Radio Broadcast – Clint Wheeldon, ABC Grandstand
Best Photo – Will Russell, Getty Images
Women in Cricket Award – Clint Wheeldon, ABC Radio Perth
Cricket in the Community Award – Clint Wheeldon, ABC Perth