Karly Bingham’s sensational start to the Bendigo Netball League season was enough for her to hold on and win the Betty Thompson Medal at the Capital Theatre last night.
The Kangaroo Flat mid-courter polled 20 votes to claim the A-grade best and fairest award, two votes ahead of the fast finishing Meg Gilbert from Castlemaine.
Eaglehawk goaler Abby Gilmore was one vote further back in third place.
Thirty-year-old Bingham was stunned to be announced as this year’s Medallist at the BFNL vote count.
“I’m shocked, definitely,” she said. “My theory’s out the window, because I thought Kate Wastell from Castlemaine had a very good chance or Simone Andrews from Kangaroo Flat.
“I guess I’ve had a consistent season, but not stellar. I’ve been in the BFNL for a long time and I thought my best had passed.
“It’s a big honour, Betty and I go way back. My mum Carol has been involved in netball for a long time, as Betty said, she knew me before I was born.”
Bingham was a major reason why Kangaroo Flat made a fast start to the season.
Playing at wing attack, she helped her team to the top of the ladder in the early rounds.
Last night she polled votes in each of the Roos’ first eight matches – including three best on court performances – but only received two more votes for the season, in round 14 against Castlemaine.
Runner-up Gilbert, who showed her versatility by switching from defence to mid-court during the season, almost took the award by polling six votes in the final three matches.
“I knew I wouldn’t get many votes towards the end, because we had the tough teams and we had a couple of losses in there,” Bingham said.
While Bingham didn’t win the umpires’ favour towards the back end of 2012, she helped guide the Roos following the loss of star centre Lauren Cowling to a season-ending knee injury in round six.
Bingham’s ability to provide quality delivery to Flat goalers Nina Cass and Rachel Mackenzie was a big reason why the Roos finished the season in third place before its disappointing straight sets finals exit.
In the other grades, Golden Square’s Clare Hope took home the Jenny Holborn Medal as the A-reserve best and fairest with 23 votes, just ahead of Madalyne Wharton from Kangaroo Flat, who polled 22.
Eaglehawk’s Georgina Hyett won the B-grade medal with 27 votes, three ahead of Kyneton’s Tracey Gawthorne.
Kangaroo Flat’s Tiffany Holt won the B-reserve medal with an outstanding 30 votes for the season.
A previous Betty Thompson medallist, Holt finished six votes in front of South Bendigo’s Roey Johnstone.
Sandhurst’s Chelsea Black polled 29 votes to win a tight contest for the Carol Sing Medal as best 17-and-under netballer, with Gisborne’s Tayla Callaway runner-up on 27 votes.
Strathfieldsaye’s Kate Stratford was the netball personality of the year.
Sandhurst won the award for the best goaling team with 4324 goals across its grades this season.
Golden Square young gun Jacqueline Dupuy won the CVGT Netball Rising Star award.