‘Hero’ Harry’s triple treat on fantastic night for Ipswich
HAVING won three Gold jackets in a row, accomplished cricketer Harry Wood is a fine choice as a "local hero''.
That's a new role Wood will fulfil in coming weeks having joined the Western Power franchise fielding a range of teams in the newly-formed Brisbane Premier League (BPL) T20 competition.
With strong Ipswich ties and a proud country heritage, Laidley-bred Wood will encourage junior cricketers and help promote Western Power in the inaugural five-week amateur series starting in August.
While yet to decide if he will play in the BPL, the Ipswich Hornets most consistent batsman appreciated another prestigious honour.
He was named premier men's player at Saturday night's historic Cricket Ipswich awards function.
Another Hornets run machine Ruth Johnston received the prized Orange Jacket as the top female cricketer for the 2020/21 season.
A COVID-capped number of 150 guests attended the awards celebration at the Ipswich Events and Entertainment Centre. Community and representative achievements were celebrated for the first time together under the new Cricket Ipswich structure.
For Wood, winning the Gold Jacket capped another productive season where he helped the Hornets reach the Queensland Premier Grade semi-final.
"It is certainly a nice reward to know that your teammates hold you in that kind of regard,'' he said.
Wood declared his hundred against Sandgate Redcliffe as the highlight of his season.
"The wicket was difficult and we were under pressure most of the game,'' he said. "So I probably rate that one higher than the Redlands hundred.''
Wood said Johnston was also a worthy winner, having secured a Queensland Fire contract this season and excelled again with her cousin Ellie at the Hornets.
"She (Ruth) had a huge season,'' Wood said of the Darling Downs product.
"The girls had another good season and Ruth and Ellie are going really well. We're lucky to have those two for sure.''
Laidley fast bowler Liam Dean won the major Community Player of the Year award after taking more than 50 wickets in first division season.
Umpires vote on player performances in every game they officiate with Dean recognised for his masterful efforts with the ball.
Wood said it was terrific having the Ipswich Hornets and community cricketers uniting at the one function.
"It was good to get everyone on the same page and celebrate each other's success,'' he said.
Other major winners included Keely Freiberg who won the Hornets Most Improved and T20 Player of the Year awards.
Brisbane Heat newcomer Jack Wood won the Hornets Limited Overs Player of the Year honour.
Dylan McAteer was the most improved Hornets men's player.
In the Community competition, Jacob Anderson (Webb Shield) and Brayden Amstrong (Plunkett Cup) were representative players of the year. Both played for the Marburg/Mt Crosby club.
The Second Grade Player of the Year was Nick O'Connell from the South East Redbacks.
Matthew Caswell, from Laidley, was Third Grade Player of the Year.
Other awards recognised terrific cricket volunteers.
Lee Watts received the Spirit of Cricket (Terry O'Keefe Memorial) trophy.
Darryl O'Sullivan collected the Presidents Award.
Dedicated junior coordinator Jono Gibbs was recognised with a Service To Sport accolade.
Craig Jesberg was Groundsman of the Year for his magnificent work during some challenging weather conditions.
Cricket Ipswich president Mike Stoodley congratulated the award winners across all grades on a memorable night for the sport.
In the off-season, Stoodley and other Cricket Ipswich officials will continue building on what was achieved under the combined Ipswich-Hornets structure this season.
"We became amalgamated and then got straight into a season so there's a lot of things that we need to get sorted from behind the scenes ready for next season,'' Stoodley said. "So we're ready to hit the ground running and everything's in place.''
For Wood, it will be giving his body a rest and playing some golf while helping Western Power prepare for the BPL T20 competition.
"It's all happening over the next couple of weeks really,'' the former Ipswich Grammar School student said.
"We'll have a meeting at the end of this week to discuss the player auctions and come up with some players we want to target for the senior men's part of the draw.
"My role is not just the players,'' he said.
"I've got to play my part in other areas as well, just trying to help build their profile.''
Wood's Hornets coach in recent seasons Aaron Moore is head coach of the Power program.
He will be assisted by senior Hornets player Dan Wilson.
Hornets Second Grade captain Nick De Giusti will coach the under-19 boys side with elite former Queensland Fire and Brisbane Heat mentor Andy Richards guiding Power's under-19 women.
Former international cricketer Nathan Hauritz is among the other key recruits. He will work with the Power under-13 boys.
Ipswich's record-breaking former international opener Melissa Bulow is female ambassador for the Power as cricket in the city continues to progress in leaps and bounds.
"It's good timing to have five weeks of good standard cricket before our season (Queensland premier grade) starts,'' Wood said of the compact BPL format.
"There's no better practice than match practice.
"They (the Power backers) have done a really good job. They've got some really good people involved.''
Darren J McCabe's photos from the Cricket Ipswich awards are on the Cricket Ipswich Facebook page.