From the seconds to VCCL Team of the Year for O’Connell

RECOGNITION: 2017-18 VCCL Team of the Year member Travis O'Connell with his plaque is flanked by West Bendigo coach Brendon Lummis and president Robbie Robertson. Picture: NONI HYETT

RECOGNITION: 2017-18 VCCL Team of the Year member Travis O'Connell with his plaque is flanked by West Bendigo coach Brendon Lummis and president Robbie Robertson. Picture: NONI HYETT

WHAT initially began as a season playing in the seconds at West Bendigo to assist in the development of the club’s younger players has ultimately ended up with a berth in the Victorian Country Cricket League Team of the Year for Travis O’Connell.

O’Connell was last weeked among the 12 players selected in the VCCL’s 2017-18 Team of the Year.

The West Bendigo stalwart was rewarded for a season in which he plundered 683 runs in the Redbacks’ division one side, while he also scored 205 runs in division two, which is where he spent the first two rounds of the season.

“The plan was last season to captain the division two team, work with young guys and have them ready for this coming season,” O’Connell said on Thursday.

“But as it turned out there were three or four who did a bit better than expected and played the year in division one and I went up there and worked with them.

“I expect it will be much the same this year with another couple who are ready to go up to division one, which will give us a core of the team that is going to be under-19.”

The highlight innings of O’Connell’s 2017-18 season was his record-breaking knock for the Redbacks when he plundered 208 n.o. against United at Ken Wust Oval in November.

The 40-year-old opening batsman cracked 30 boundaries and seven sixes that day in an innings that surpassed Greg Reeves’ previous West Bendigo record score of 196.

O’Connell said he was humbled to have earned selection in the VCCL Team of the Year.

“It’s the first time I’ve had a year like that and I guess it’s humbling to be picked in a team like this,” O’Connell said.

O’Connell was the only player from the Bendigo region selected in the Team of the Year. Ben Way from Romsey in the Gisborne association is captain.

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• VCCL 2017-18 Team of the Year:

Simon Harkness (South West) – 810 runs, 2 wickets

Sean O’Neill (Geelong) – 714 runs

Ben Way © (Gisborne) – 820 runs, 2 wickets

Andrew Hughes (Geelong) – 741 runs, 14 wickets

Travis O’Connell (Emu Valley) – 683 runs, 1 wicket

Shaun McArthur (Grenville) – 657 runs, 18 wickets

Andrew Hogan (Murray Valley) – 509 runs, 41 wickets

Shannon Pool (Murray Valley) – 30 dismissals, 222 runs

Stephan Grobler (Bairnsdale) – 44 wickets, 374 runs

Cam Wheeler (Ferntree Gully) – 49 wickets, 332 runs

Dale Kerr (Bellarine) – 50 wickets, 290 runs

Madushanka Ekanayake (Gisborne) – 51 wickets, 185 runs

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