By Nick Creely
Narre South star Morteza Ali has been crowned as the Dandenong District Cricket Association’s champion player of the 2019/20 season, claiming the prestigious Alan Wookey Medal.
In the count – held at the Dandenong Club today – the Lions all-rounder capped off an extraordinary Turf 1 individual season, and has been a driving force in the club’s incredible rise into third spot after being promoted from Turf 2 only one year ago.
The all-rounder was at his destructive best at the top-of-the-order for the Lions throughout the season, crunching 438 runs at 33.7 in the regular season games, with a blistering 125 against North Dandenong his most prolific performance of the year.
With the ball Ali was equally as consistent, snaring 24 wickets at 15.1, with two five-wicket hauls – 5/11 against St Mary’s and 5/58 against Hallam Kalora Park – often providing the huge breakthroughs in crunch games for his side.
Ali will be a major factor with the DDCA finals set to kick off this weekend, with his Lions set for a home final against reigning premiers, Buckley Ridges.
In a tight count throughout the day, Berwick star Matt Chasemore finished three votes behind on 33, after a run-soaked season for the Bears, and led the count until the final round where Ali got four votes to claim the win.
The ex-Premier Cricket great crunched 617 runs in the regular season for the Bears in his most prolific season of cricket for a couple of years.
Buckley Ridges run machine David White (30) finished in third position in the count, while Springvale South’s Ateeq Javid and Berwick speedster James Wilcock rounded out the top five.
The Turf 1 Team of the Year was also announced on the day: Morteza Ali (Narre South), Matt Chasemore (Berwick), Ateeq Javid (Springvale South), David White (Buckley Ridges), Nathan King (Springvale South), Kaushalya Weeraratne (HSD), Troy Aust (Buckley Ridges), Ruwantha Kellepotha (Berwick), Jerome Jones (Buckley Ridges), James Wilcock (Berwick), Jarryd Straker (Springvale South), Udara Hettige (HSD)
In the Turf 2 player of the year award, Dandenong West skipper Hari Krishan (31 votes) claimed the Gartside Medal by a whisker over Dingley all-rounder Matt Hague (28).
Krishan has been a destructive force for the Westers in 2019/20, crunching 742 runs at 57.1, including incredible knocks of 193 and 139 in one-day fixtures, while he also scored three half-centuries and took 11 wickets, including a haul of 4/27 against Beaconsfield.
Milan Rathnayaka (27), Amal Athulathmudali (23), Callan Tout (21), Janaka Liyanabadalge (20), Ammar Bajwa (19) and Jake Cutting (18) rounded out the top-eight in the count.
The Turf 2 Team of the Year: Hari Krishan (Dandenong West), Matt Hague (Dingley), Amal Athulathmudali (Parkmore Pirates), Viraj Alankara Gedara (Narre North), Brendan Johnson (Beaconsfield), Sandun Dias (Cranbourne), Girish Chopra (Lyndale), Yohan Soyza (Lyndale), Callan Tout (Beaconsfield), Peter Atkinson (Dandenong West), Milan Rathnayaka (Dingley), Janaka Liyanabadalge (Narre Warren)
Last 10 Wookey winners
2019/20 – Morteza Ali (Narre South)
2018/19 – Steve Spoljaric (Springvale South)
2017/18 – Michael Davies (HSD)
2016/17 – Steve Spoljaric (Cranbourne)
2015/16 – Matt Chasemore (Cranbourne)
2014/15 – Steve Spoljaric (Cranbourne)
2013/14 – Steve Spoljaric (Parkfield)
2012/13 – Alex Roberts (Dandenong West)
2011/12 – Steve Spoljaric (Parkfield)
2010/11 – Steve Spoljaric (Parkfield)