READ MORE - All the BDCA's senior award winners
SANDHURST captain Joel Murphy admits to having had some reservations about his capacity to perform consistently in the new all one-day format of the Bendigo District Cricket Association's 2020-21 season.
"To be honest, I was a bit worried at the start of the year because over the past couple of seasons I'd been able to bat well in the two-day games, but had hardly made a run in the one-dayers," Murphy said this week.
However, Murphy adapted his game superbly to the shorter format to not only be the competition's leading run-scorer, but on Wednesday night was also crowned a joint winner of the BDCA's Cricketer of the Year.
Murphy polled 17 votes to tie with Strathdale-Maristians' Jack Neylon for the BDCA's Bill Stephenson Award, with the pair the first non all-rounders to win the top honour since Sandhurst's Nick Scullie in 2006-07.
Murphy also revelled in the extra responsibility of captaining the Dragons for the first time.
The 23-year-old plundered 697 runs in the home and away season - a gap of more than 100 to his nearest rival, including six scores above 50 from his 15 innings and two centuries: 112 against Bendigo in round five and 111 against Golden Square in round eight.
"Having the chance to be able to open the batting every week against the white ball, which doesn't swing that much, you were able to get on a bit of a roll," Murphy said.
"I quite enjoyed the one-dayers, but I am looking forward to the two-dayers coming back next season and having that mix again.
"Opening the batting, it was fine for me because I was able to go out and bat every week, but for the guys batting in the middle and lower-order, you can miss out on opportunities. So going back to the mix of both next season will be good."
Murphy polled votes in six games and, not surprisingly, was one of the openers in the BDCA's Team of the Year.
He rated his 112 against Bendigo when the Dragons won off the last ball as both his favourite innings and match of the season.
Murphy has now completed three seasons with the Dragons during which he has compiled 1511 runs.
FIRST XI VOTES:
BENDIGO - Kyle Humphrys (10), Declan Slingo (5), Dylan Johnstone (4), Nathan Fitzpatrick (4), Matthew Gray (3), Bailey George (2), Shane Koop (1), William Collicoat (1), Xav Ryan (1).
BENDIGO UNITED - Miggy Podosky (7), Tom Batters (5), Jake Thrum (5), Xavier Austin (3), Josh Thurston (1), Riley Treloar (1), Billy Quirk (1), Scott Harper (1).
EAGLEHAWK - Russell Stockdale (11), Nick Farley (7), Aaron Monro (6), Richard Tibbett (6), Cory Jacobs (4), Angus Chisholm (4), Anthony West (3), Ben Williams (3), Nash Viney (2), Brendan Archbold (2), Josh Williams (1).
GOLDEN SQUARE - Scott Trollope (10), Liam Smith (9), Scott Johnson (2), Jake Higgins (2), Tom Campbell (2), Max Grant (1), Riley Hocking (1).
HUNTLY-NORTH EPSOM - Sandun Ranathunga (16), Adam Ward (13), Ryan Grundy (9), Danushka Wijemanna (7), Elliott Massina (5), Brett Elvey (3), Malan Mudasanka (3), Cameron Berry (2).
KANGAROO FLAT - Brent Hamblin (14), Lewis Stabler (10), Jake Klemm (9), Adam Burns (8), Chris Barber (6), Kenny Beith (3), Josh Collinson (3), Nathan Stubbings (2), Ryan Harling (2).
SANDHURST - Joel Murphy (17), Dylan Gibson (7), Anthony McMahon (5), Shane Robinson (2), Nick Gladman (2), Ben Evans (2), Jack Ryan (1), Liam Bowe (1), Braydon Vaz (1), Reilley Porter (1).
STRATHDALE-MARISTIANS - Jack Neylon (17), Grant Waldron (12), Cameron Taylor (10), Sam Johnston (10), James Vlaeminck (10), Ben DeAraugo (4), Chris Sole (4), James Barri (2), Jacob DeAraugo (1).
STRATHFIELDSAYE - Ben Devanny (12), Pat Felmingham (7), Savith Priyan (7), Mitchell Cheesman (6), Callum McCarty (4), Nayana Fernando (3), Darcy Hunter (3), Chathura Damith (3), Jed Rodda (1).
WHITE HILLS - Rhys Irwin (9), Gavin Bowles (8), Caleb Barras (7), Mitch Winter-Irving (6), Linc Jacobs (6), Ollie Geary (5), Hamish Richards (2).
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