HARTLEY NAMED SHIELD PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Dynamic Queensland wicketkeeper Chris Hartley has begun Weet-Bix Sheffield Shield final week in the best possible fashion by winning the Player of the Series award.
Hartley was presented with his award at the Cricket Australia State Cricket Awards Ceremony in Melbourne today.
Hartley’s heroics in rescuing the XXXX GOLD Bulls on a number of occasions through the year helped him to poll 17 votes, one more than Victorian paceman Damien Wright.
Hartley, 27, thrust himself into the spotlight with two centuries and four fifties on his way to scoring 774 runs for the Shield season, fifth overall and the second-most ever by a keeper.
The gritty left-hander scored 125 against NSW at the Gabba to rescue Queensland from diabolical positions, and likewise proved the saviour with 68 and 112 in Tasmania.
His 68 against WA in Perth helped the team off to a promising start when first innings points were slipping away, and his double of 47 and 45 against Victoria in Brisbane was vital.
His efforts behind the stumps were also outstanding, taking a number of spectacular catches in his 41 dismissals, which was second to WA’s Luke Ronchi (44).
Wright took 33 wickets in just five matches at the stunning average of 13.75, the 34-year-old picking up the slack superbly after Victoria’s bowling stocks thinned through injury and retirements.
Playing in a winning team helped his cause too with the umpires’ votes, given that NSW sensation Trent Copeland took 35 wickets in five matches but did not finish in the top three.
Third place went to Copeland’s Blues teammate Phillip Hughes, who polled 14 votes.
Hughes finished with 953 runs for the season, just four less than leading rungetter Ed Cowan from Tasmania.
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