Straker, Hammond among players to beat in Wookey Medal count

Hallam Kalora Park's Jordan Hammond is in contention to win a second Wookey Medal. 308818

By Marcus Uhe

The chase for the prestigious Alan Wookey Medal as the best player in the Dandenong District Cricket Association’s Turf 1 season is shaping-up as a two-horse race between two of the competition’s premier players in Springvale South tweaker Jarryd Straker and Hallam Kalora Park all-rounder Jordan Hammond.

A two-time premiership player at the Bloods, Straker has enjoyed another sensational year with the ball for the Bloods as the competition’s leading wicket-taker, while history beckons for Hammond with the chance to add his name to a list of all-time league greats.

Straker opened the season with 11/40 in a two-day clash with St Mary’s and never looked back, finishing round 13 with 31 wickets at 11.7.

The left-armer has been a key member of Springvale South’s recent era of dominance, with his success in white ball cricket translating to the return of red ball cricket in the 2023-24 season.

He has just one wicketless innings, in a loss against Narre South in round 13, and when he was targeted in the Bloods’ first loss of the year against Buckley Ridges in round 12, the results were telling.

Not only does he pose a wicket-taking threat, but his miserly economy rate builds pressure and keeps the runs down.

Key performances outside of the St Mary’s thrashing include 5/47 and 2/13 in two matches against Hallam Kalora Park, 3/18 in a one-day contest against North Dandenong and 2/38 against Beaconsfield.

His captain, Ryan Quirk, believes he’s held the mantle as best spinner in the competition “for a while”.

“I think what’s most underrated about him is how smart he is as a bowler,” Quirk said.

“Obviously his control, his turn, everything like that is great, but he’s so smart; he bowls the tough overs in the one-day games, he bowls 25 overs in two-day games, he’s an absolute star.

“He’s someone you can just go to and you don’t have to worry, he does his thing.

“He sets his fields, he knows exactly what he’s going to do and how he’s going to do it.

“As a captain, he’s super easy to captain.

“If he were to win it, it would not only be deserving, but I don’t think any of the boys could be happier for any other player.

“He’s much-loved around the club and around the group, he’s been with us for a while now and he’s part of the fabric.”

Hammond could add his name to an illustrious list of DDCA icons on Sunday if he can claim a second Wookey after taking home the award in 2021/22.

Just four players – Brian Lambert, Steven Spoljaric, Steven Chapman and Steven Meyer – have won multiple Wookey’s since the medal was first awarded after the 1984/85 season, meaning Hammond would become the fifth, should he salute.

He would also claim family bragging rights over uncle, Richard Hammond, who took home the medal following the 1992/93 season.

Given his ability to affect the contest with both bat and ball, Hammond is always in the game, and has played crucial roles for a Hawks side rounding into form late in the campaign.

While he hasn’t enjoyed the success of previous seasons with the blade, he’s quietly just outside of the top five leading wicket-takers with 21 wickets at 20.3 to equal-lead his side for scalps.

Either opening the bowling or bowling first change, Hammond bowls long accurate spells as part of an experienced pace trio including Lauchlan Gregson and William Whyte.

With the bat, he has just two half-centuries and 247 runs at 41, but crucial unbeaten knocks in successful run chases against Berwick in round eight (33) and Buckley Ridges in round 11 (43) will weigh heavily in his favour.

Matthew Cox, his current coach who has played with and against him, said he could end up in the upper echelon of cricketers to have played in Association by the time he retires.

“He’s as good a cricketer that’s been in (the competition) in the last 10 years,” Cox said.

“He can play that role where he can stay at one end, but then he can flick a switch and score at more than a run-per-ball whenever he feels like it.

“I played against him for a fair bit as well and he hits balls to some really weird places, he’s hard to set a field to.

“We always look to him when a partnership needs to be broken – we go to Jordy.

“He’s not scared to bring himself on as well at times when we really need him, he leads from the front.

“Because he’s a home-grown Hallam talent, I think it would mean the world.”

While two bowlers lead the pack, it’s largely batters that can expect to feature heavily in Sunday’s vote count, making the most of the return of two-day cricket in 2023/24.

Here are some other names that we can expect to be there when the whips are cracking.


Khan was leading our vote count at the Christmas break but a dip in his form has coincided with his side’s dramatic fall in form and down the table.

While he remains in the top five for runs scored, a handful of starts without converting to big scores, along with his side’s five-game losing streak, will leave votes behind.

Wicket-less performances against Springvale South and Hallam Kalora Park, too, will cost him.


Wyatt is all-but guaranteed votes in a handful of games with dominant knocks against Berwick (118), Hallam Kalora Park (68) and Buckley Ridges (129).

His 530 runs just edges Berwick’s Jake Hancock for the most in Turf 1 to date, with two centuries and three half-centuries to show for his efforts.

His big-hitting is eye-catching from an umpire’s perspective, but how the umpires view his century against Buckley Ridges and his 75 against Narre South, both in losses, will be one game to monitor as the results roll-in.

Unlike many of the fellow contenders, his lack of bowling will put a cap on his vote-claiming opportunities.


The first batter in Turf 1 to reach 500 runs this season, Hancock has been a standout with the willow.

Only he, Khan and Wyatt have managed two centuries in Turf 1 this year and it’s no surprise to see those three contending for leading run scorer status.

You can all but pencil him in for maximum votes against North Dandenong in round six thanks to a stunning hundred while he dragged his side to a win over the Maroons in the return one-day fixture, with an unbeaten 36 on a day where the next-highest score was 19.

Like Wyatt, his lack of bowling will limit his voting chances, and how the umpires view his unbeaten 135 in a nail-biting loss to Narre South in round 12, will be one to watch.


Certainly a ‘smokey’ in the mix but a player that has been as critical to Buckley Ridges’ late-season revival as anyone.

The all-rounder can lay claims to being the best player in Turf 1 since the Christmas break, taking 14 wickets in five innings, with his reverse swing a nightmare for opposition batters to contend with.

Jayarathna was one of the architects of the barn-storming Bucks comebacks in round 13 when he finished with 4/60 and grabbed 4/54 to go with 72 runs in a one-day contest with North Dandenong first-up after the Christmas break.

It hasn’t been a great year with the bat – 150 of his 241 runs have come in two knocks – but an excellent finish to the year with the ball will have him contending for a spot on the podium.


Cooper has been immense for the Tigers in their maiden venture to Turf 1 at the top of the order.

His dogged determination and competitive spirit has been evident at the top of the order with 60 scores of 40-plus and four half-centuries, ensuring his side occupied sufficient time at the crease.

His leg-spin has been handy too, with 10 wickets at 21.

With only two wins to show for their season, however, his gritty performances in losses against St Mary’s and Berwick, may be overlooked.

Sunday will also see the selection of the Turf 1 Team of the Year.

Here are our selections

1 Jawid Khan – North Dandenong

2 Mark Cooper – Beaconsfield

3 Jake Hancock – Berwick

4 Jordan Wyatt – Springvale South

5 Roshane Silva – Buckley Ridges

6 Jordan Hammond – Hallam Kalora Park

7 Safaras Moahomad – St Mary’s

8 Alex Cruickshank – Narre South

9 Deeshan Umagiliyage – St Mary’s

10 Jarryd Straker – Springvale South

11 Callan Tout – Narre South