Werribee skipper’s big night

Werribee batsman Tim O'Brien. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

By Lance Jenkinson

A bittersweet season has ended on an individual high for Werribee Cricket Club captain-coach Tim O’Brien.

O’Brien has taken out the Tigers’ top honour for 2018-19, clinching the Kirk Norton Medal for club champion in a tight vote count.

The top order batsman polled 16 votes to finish one ahead of opening batsmen Matt Dean after a consistent season in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association.

O’Brien said it was an honour to be recognised during a big occasion for the club at Chirnsides by the River in Werribee on Saturday night.

“It was fantastic to win it again,” he said. “We had a lot of people there, so it was a good night for the club.”

O’Brien believes the medal would have gone to Dean had he not missed four games.

“If he had’ve played all the games, he would’ve got the result,” O’Brien said.

“It just shows how good a year he had – missing four games and only finishing a vote behind me. He had a fantastic season.”

O’Brien brought heaps to the table for Werribee last summer.

He consistently performed with the bat, scoring 452 runs at an average of 37.7.

“To be able to get starts in a fair few games this year was pleasing,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien was more than handy with his spin, taking 14 wickets at 20.3.

In the field, he took nine catches.

He might have reached the 20-wicket mark had it not been for a shoulder injury late in the season.

“They seemed to come out a bit better this year,” O’Brien said of his bowling.

“Unfortunately, I had that shoulder injury that put me out of bowling for about four games … it would’ve been great to bowl in most games.

“I ended up bowling about 70 overs this year.”

O’Brien was not totally satisfied from a personal or a team perspective.

He was disappointed that his 80 in round two was his top score for the summer.

He reached 50 three times and 40 on two other occasions – opportunities he believes he could have grasped to go on to make centuries.

His semi-final contribution of 13 was a source of frustration, too.

“I was unable to get to 100 this year, so that was probably the disappointing fact – that
I wasn’t able to go on and get big scores,” he said.

“You want to make your runs in the finals and to miss out in the finals was the disappointing one.”

From a team point of view, O’Brien was over the moon about Werribee’s home-and-away season.

The Tigers lost only two games during the regular south-west first XI season to qualify for the finals in second. Getting bundled out in straight sets with a loss to Melton is another sore point for O’Brien.

“Our home-and-away season was fantastic, only losing two games for the year,” he said.

“That’s just the qualifiers, the home-and-away season – the real stuff starts in March and I know the boys are hurting with how we finished.”

O’Brien has signed on for a fourth season as captain-coach. He believes the team is well poised to challenge for a premiership next season.

“We’ll keep most of our playing group together,” he said.

“I don’t think we’ll need to add much because there was some good spirit this year.

“Everyone is pretty keen to hopefully go one better.”