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Ritchie wins Benaud Medal for player of the 1st Grade Final

Jack Ritchie has capped off an amazing 3 months by being awarded the Benaud Medal fort the player of the 1st Grade Final. His unbeaten 87* off 226 balls led the mighty Waratahs to premiership glory.
What a story it has been. Ritchie decided not to play at the beginning of this season, mainly from exhaustion. ‘Cubby’, as he is affectionately known, had played grade cricket since he was 14 and needed a break. However he was always in contact with head coach Shawn Bradstreet, seeing how everything was going and making sure he still kept his eye on the club.

As the year began to unfold and he could see the strength of the club, Ritchie began to catch the cricket bug again. He came back to the club via 4th grade at the beginning of December before earning a promotion to 2nd grade.

That was enough for Ritchie as he looked to continue playing 2nd grade and enjoy his cricket once again….. and enjoy it he has. Since his return, his batting has been phenomenal. He has scored 577 runs this year at an average of 52.45. This included 87 in the 1st Grade Semi-Final as well as his unbeaten 87 in the Final.

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“Winning the award for the player of the match and leading our side to victory was the proudest moment of my life” said Ritchie.

“I’m so happy that I came back and decided to play after the break I had at the beginning of the season. It was a much needed break but the Manly Club and the game of cricket are both a massive part of my life, I guess I just couldn’t stay away. It was a privilege for me to be in a team of amazing individual players, I was just happy to contribute”.

“I’m so happy especially for Tim and Shawn. They have worked so hard for so many years to get this victory, it’s really for them.”

Ritchie’s batting in the final was fantastic. He batted for 332 minutes and faced 229 balls as he carried his bat through the innings. He hit 9 boundaries and one 6. His shot selection was as good as we have seen.

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Ritchie has always stuck to his plans and his strengths. There aren’t too many booming cover drives but his work square of the wicket, his running between wickets and patience at the crease are strengths that he plays to.

Once the last recognised batsmen was out (Cruickshank), Ritchie new it was going to be up to him to get the team home. The amount of pressure at that stage of the game, needing 50 runs for victory with only 4 wickets in hand, was huge but Ritchie handled it like the true professional that he is.

So how will Ritchie ever top his innings on the weekend? He knows exactly how.

“I want to win back to back premierships”

Go Manly!!

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