Cricket star shining bright
By GREG WHITE
NO local cricketer has his star shining as brightly right now as Sawtell's premiership-winning captain Todd Gill.
The grand final batting hero has capped an extraordinary season by picking up the top award of Bill Rae Medallist at the Coffs Harbour District Cricket Association's presentation night.
Gill made it a prestigious double being also named Captain of the Year.
"It was pretty good," Gill said in typical laidback fashion.
"There are some great players in this comp and the medal was a big surprise."
Nobody is prouder of Gill than CHDCA chairman Ken Robinson.
"I brought Todd into 5th grade in 1995 and it's wonderful what he's achieved in the past decade," he said.
"The news he's off to play in the English summmer competition is also fantastic."
Soon, Gill will leave town to take up a position with a club side in Kent and his long term goal is playing in the world-famous County League.
"I hope he makes it," Robinson said when told Gill was quoted as saying he'd offer his best shot.
"He'll need to be a lot fitter and more focussed but we all know his special talents.
"It means adapting some of his style but whatever happens the adventure could be the making of him."
The presentation's other major award of First Grade Player of the Year was won for the fourth time by Park Beach Bowling Club Colts all-rounder Craig Howarth.
Howarth's honour had association historian Tony Mainey searching the record books for similar feats.
"Craig's uncle Ross won the award five times between 1976 and 1983 while playing at two different clubs," Mainey said his investigations had discovered.
"Errol Noble won four in a row during the 1970s while Glenn Fenton also won at least four."
President Ken Robinson said in retrospect the 2005-06 had been 'a trying year'.
"The weather was no help and we had the contentious issue of clubs losing points.
"But having the two best sides play the grand final and its amazing outcome went a long way towards outweighing the dissapointments."
Obviously, Gill's effort in the decider did his chances of winning the Bill Rae Medal no harm.
With Sawtell in trouble his swashbuckling 50 off 23 balls turned the tide.
There's probably a club side somewhere in Kent hoping for an action replay of the feat.