Ashleigh Gardner has become the first-ever First Nations person to win a major award at the annual Cricket Australia Awards, claiming her first Belinda Clark Medal.
Finishing with 54 votes, Gardner won the award ahead of Beth Mooney (47) and Alyssa Healy (39) who finished second and third respectively over the voting period.
Gardner’s ability and power-hitting have become common knowledge throughout the cricketing world. The 24-year-old Murrawarri woman showcased this season her maturity and consistency, performing with both bat and ball.
Across 10 innings, the 24-year-old struck 281 runs at an average of 35.1, including four half-centuries and a top score of 73 not out in a memorable T20 win against New Zealand in Hamilton.
Garnder has always been a valuable asset in the field whether that be in the ring or riding the boundary rope, but this season the right-arm off-spinner made a bigger impact with the ball, working with Nathan Lyon to improve her bowling. Gardner collected nine wickets, two shy of Sophie Molineux’s year-leading 11.
The all-rounder finished the voting period inside Australia’s top three run-scorers and top five wicket-takers across all formats.
More Cricket News:
Female ODI Player of the Year – Alyssa Healy
Alyssa Healy continued her dominance in the one-day format, claiming the award of female ODI Player of the Year three votes ahead of Rachael Haynes (10 votes) and Megan Schutt (10 votes).
Healy consistently caused opposition teams headaches with her aggressive strokeplay, the 31-year-old scored a total of 112 runs in the series against India late last year, averaging 37.33 with a high score of 77.Embed from Getty Images
Female T20I Player of the Year – Beth Mooney
Beth Mooney is the second-ranked batter in the ICC Women’s T20I batting rankings, so it’s no surprise she was named Australia’s T20I Player of the Year, ahead of Tahlia McGarth and Ashleigh Gardner.
Opening the batting alongside Alyssa Healy, Mooney creates a dangerous opening partnership for opposition team’s to dismiss.
She was the leading run-scorer in the voting period in the T20I, scoring 95 runs, with a high score of 61, an average of 47.50, and a strike rate of 120.25.Embed from Getty Images
Female Domestic Player of the Year – Elyse Villani
The illustrious career of Elyse Villani must once again be recognised, as she becomes the first-ever female to be awarded the female domestic cricketer of the year twice, achieving the feat in consecutive years.
Her contributions in women’s domestic white-ball cricket have been amazing, and whilst she hasn’t contributed as much for Tasmania in her two matches for them, her 2020/21 WNCL campaign was outstanding.
Villani was the only player to score more than 600 runs throughout that season, helping Victoria reach the final.
Additionally, Villani was the fourth-highest run-scorer in this season’s WBBL competition, with 439 runs at an average of 43.9. The 32-year-old also made her maiden T20 hundred in the Stars’ last match of the season.Embed from Getty Images
Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year – Darcie Brown
At just 18 years of age, Australian cricket fans should prepare to see Darcie Brown for many years to come. The teenage fast bowler with rapid pace and will only get better with age.
Already representing Australia at such a young age, it comes on the back of performing so well in domestic competitions.
In WBBL|11, Brown was the third-highest wicket-taker for the competition. With 20 wickets, her tally puts her only behind Amanda-Jade Wellington (23 wickets) and Jess Jonassen (21 wickets).
Brown captured her first test wicket in the 2022 Women’s Ashes series at Manuka on Friday.
Community Champion Award – Zoe Cooke
ACT Meteor Zoe Cooke was named Community Champion for her work to support, promote and advocate for the women’s game in the ACT through coaching and mentoring roles, particularly in the pathway system.
Cooke plays many volunteer roles within community cricket, while also putting her hand up for several charitable causes such as Grizzly Bear Adoption Program for the World Wildlife Foundation, One Foot Forward challenge for Black Dog Institute, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Female Cricket Awards
- Belinda Clark Award – Ashleigh Gardner
- Female ODI Player of the Year – Alyssa Healy
- Female T20I Player of the Year – Beth Mooney
- Female Domestic Player of the Year – Elyse Villani
- Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year – Darcie Brown
- Community Champion Award – Zoe Cooke
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