Brent Arnel named Knights cricketer of the year

A day after celebrating their Plunket Shield championship triumph, the Yahoo!NZ Northern Knights were celebrating again at the 2012 Northern Districts Cricket Annual Awards, held at SKYCITY Hamilton this evening.

Right-arm seam bowler Brent Arnel took out the season's top individual honour, winning both the supreme Northern Districts Cricketer of the Year trophy and Bowler of the Year award after a superb season in which he helped lead a particularly strong Northern Districts pace attack. Arnel's consistent form and rejuvenated pace had already seen him recalled to the BLACKCAPS' test attack against South Africa in Hamilton earlier this month.

Judges commented that the Bowler of the Year award was a particularly close race between its two senior thoroughbreds, with Arnel edging out fellow pace bowler and last season's Cricketer of the Year Graeme Aldridge.

Experience was also to the fore as Hamish Marshall picked up the Batsman of the Year award for his consistent performances across all three formats of the game this summer, while his twin brother James won the Fielder of the Year trophy for a second consecutive year.

Rising stars got amongst the silverware when Hamilton's 22-year-old White Fern Morna Neilsen was named Northern Districts' leading woman's player for the first time, after a strong all-round season.

The most recent Knight to have made his first-class debut, Daryl Mitchell, was named Young Player of the Year, while New Zealand Under-19 squad representative Nick Kelly was named Craig Investments Partners Academy Player of the Year.

Bay of Plenty's strength at district competition and representative level was reflected by no less than five awards, which included Tauranga allrounder Brett Hampton taking home the Northern Districts Men's A Team Player of the Year honour.

Special recognition was also made of Hamilton's outstanding Hawke Cup season. The team remained unbeaten throughout the summer, a rare achievement in New Zealand cricketing history.

The full list of Northern Districts 2011/12 season awards is:

Northern Districts Cricketer of the Year ­ Sponsored by Yahoo!NZ This is Northern Districts Cricket's premier award, presented to the most outstanding player in Northern Districts domestic competitions in the
2011/12 season. Winner: Brent Arnel

Northern Districts Batsman of the Year
Winner: Hamish Marshall. Judges' comment: "Easily the most consistent batsman for the Yahoo!NZ Northern Knights across all three forms was Hamish Marshall. Hamish was our top run-scorer in both T20 and one-day formats. He scored 222 runs at an average 37 per innings in the T20, and
297 runs at 42 in the Ford Trophy. He also scored almost 500 runs at an average 44 in the Plunket Shield. Only Daniel Flynn achieved a higher average in the four-day games while Hamish was the only Knights batsman to score over 1000 runs in the season."

Northern Districts Bowler of the Year
Winner: Brent Arnel. Judges' comment: "There has never been a closer contest for a player award than this. The two workhorses of the ND bowling attack, Graeme Aldridge and Brent Arnel, both finished the season with a total of 43 wickets across the three formats. Graeme bowled 324 overs in the season, Brent 248. Both featured in 9 of the 10 Plunket Shield games.
Pace bowling is an activity where injuries are common place and inevitable, so the durability of both bowlers is testament to their preparation and fitness. Both work incredibly hard to maintain their fitness and form over the whole season. And both played games for the BLACKCAPS this season, Graeme on the Zimbabwe tour and Brent against South Africa. As a tiebreaker, Brent¹s 36 wickets in our Plunket Shield campaign (Graeme took 28) gave him the edge."

Northern Districts Fielder of the Year
Winner: James Marshall. A constant threat to batsmen, James effected eight dismissals through catches and run-outs for ND this season and has now taken 94 catches in all first-class matches for the team.

Northern Districts Women¹s Cricketer of the Year ­  Sponsored by SWEAT Personal Training Studio
Winner: Morna Nielsen. The Hamilton allrounder's bag of 4-10 vs England this season impresses as the second best bowling figures in the White Ferns' Twenty20 history. For Northern Spirit, Morna took 11 wickets at enviable economy rates in both the Twenty20 and one-day formats and averaged 49 with the bat in the one-day Action Cricket Cup. A highlight was breaking the domestic record for the highest one-day 7th wicket partnership with Rhiana Vincent with a stand of 122.

Outstanding Northern Spirit Performance Award ­ Sponsored by SWEAT Personal Training Studio Joint Winners: Rhiana Vincent and Morna Nielsen for their New Zealand domestic record 7th wicket partnership of 122 versus the Otago Sparks in the 2011/12 Action Cricket Cup. Northern Spirit claimed the match by 80 runs.

Northern Districts Men¹s A Team Player of the Year:
Winner: Brett Hampton of Bay of Plenty. Brett began the season as a pace bowler who had also shown some ability with the bat. By the end of the season his batting had developed so much that he could be classified as a genuine allrounder.

Northern Districts Young Cricketer of the Year ­  Sponsored by Grant Bradburn Sports Awarded to the most outstanding male cricketer under the age of 21, this trophy can be won only once. Recent winners have included Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, BJ Watling, Trent Boult, Anurag Verma and Andrew Mathieson.
Winner: Daryl Mitchell of Waikato Valley.

District Association Player of the Year
Awarded to the outstanding player in the Fergus Hickey and Brian Dunning competitions, determined by points allocated by opposing captains in each match. Winner: Brandon Hiini of Counties Manukau.

Craigs Investment Partners Academy Player of the Year Craigs Investment Partners is the sponsor of Northern Districts' High Performance Development Academy. This award recognises a promising Academy player who has achieved at national level, shown commitment to the programme and made significant progress during the season. Winner: Nick Kelly of Counties Manukau.

Umpire of the Year
2012 Winner: David Tidmarsh. A former Northern Districts first-class player, David was promoted to New Zealand Cricket's Emerging Umpires Panel this summer after just one season on Northern Districts' Fergus Hickey umpiring panel. He was also rated Northern Districts' number one umpire in the Fergus Hickey competition this season, underscoring players'
confidence in his consistent decision-making and management skills.

Allan McBride Trophy
2012 Winner: Glenn Rowsell. This trophy recognises Glenn's long service as a gifted college coach, and as an organisational tour de force in the strong Matamata club competition until it was absorbed by Waikato Valley.
Principal of Matamata College, Glenn still makes time to coach the school's First XI, which he has guided since 1996. Just two weeks ago, the school defeated Hamilton's Hillcrest High School to win the esteemed Dave Hoskin Challenge Trophy for Waikato secondary schools.

Service to Cricket Award
2012 Winner: Kim Shaw. Gisborne-based Kim has served Poverty Bay cricket as a volunteer administrator for over 25 years, putting in countless hours behind the scenes that have resulted in the sporting enjoyment of thousands of other people. The man to whom everyone turns, from New Zealand Cricket to upset neighbours with broken windows, on top of this Kim has played the game, coached school teams and managed Poverty Bay rep sides. Recently Kim became a paid part-time employee of the Poverty Bay Cricket Association, remaining indispensable to the smooth running of the local game.

Women¹s District Association Championship Cup
2012 Winner: Poverty Bay. Contested on a challenge basis this season, Poverty Bay took the Women's Cup from Bay of Plenty, then defended it against challenges from Waikato Valley and Hamilton.

Eric Petrie Cup
Awarded to the champion club in the men's Northern Districts Club Championship. Winner: Otumoetai Cadets of Tauranga. The Otumoetai Cadets'
win continues a strong run for Bay of Plenty cricket. Cadets also won the Cup in 2009, while neighbours Mount Maunganui won in 2010 and 2011.

Basil McBurney Trophy
Awarded to the champion men's team in the District Association 2nd XI competition. Winner: Bay of Plenty.

Brian Dunning Cup
Awarded to the winner of the men's one-day championship. After a close contest with Counties Manukau and Bay of Plenty, the 2012 winner is Hamilton.

Fergus Hickey Rosebowl
Awarded to the outstanding District Association team, determined by points in both one-day and two-day matches. This was also a close contest between Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty, and Hamilton. 2012 Winner: Bay of Plenty.

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