29 November 2009

WILLIAM Porterfield was in Dublin this week to pick up another award.

The decision to name the Ireland captain as The Russell Court Hotel Player of the Year was hardly the most difficult the Cricket Writers of Ireland have made in their short history but Porterfield was just as delighted to pick up the prize as he had been in Dubai last month when he received the Associate Player of the Year at the ICC Awards.
The figures put the Gloucestershire player in a class of his own - 1,028 runs in 25 innings for Ireland at an average of 42.83 - more than 300 runs better than any of his team-mates and the highest average; yes, better than Eoin Morgan.
But in the year that Ireland reached their second successive World Cup finals and qualified for the Super Eights of the World T20, it was Porterfield leading from the front that played such a vital part in Ireland’s success.
In all, Porterfield scored three hundreds and five half centuries and finished just 10 short of his own record runs for a season
The Port Hotel Young Player of the year, sponsored by Ireland manager Roy Torrens was a much closer affair with Andrew Balbirnie, the captain of the Under 19 squad who head to their World Cup finals in January, just pipping Paul Stirling, last year’s winner.
It is likely that the CWI will rule that no player can win this trophy more than once but Balbirnie, fittingly, was just as impressive in his own age group as a batsman and captain as Porterfield and it seems only a matter of time before he joins Stirling in the senior team.
Balbirnie scored 102 against Afghanistan in World Cup qualifiers and an unbeaten century for Ireland A against a Yorkshire XI.
The Ulster Bank Club Player of the Year went to Nigel Jones, the Civil Service North captain who had an outstanding season with both bat and ball. His 800 runs was the best in the NCU, at a magnificent average of 80 and he also took 24 wickets at less than 18 runs apiece.
In a memorable year for the adopted Irishman, the Kiwi made his Ireland debut and led CSN to victory in the ClubTurf Ulster Cup.
Jones made 11 fifties with a top score of 99 against Fox Lodge and made another 99 on his Ireland A debut in the game against Yorkshire.
Two of the Ireland legends of 1969, Alex O’Riordan and Dougie Goodwin were the first inductees into the RSA Hall of Fame.
Forty years after Ireland bowled out the West Indies for 25 at Sion Mills — when Ireland’s greatest all-rounder and Malahide’s Goodwin shared the nine wickets — they were duly honoured.

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