The finalists for Sport Wellington’s Sportsperson the Year Awards were announced last week with cricket claiming six nominations across the categories.
In the category that stirs the most public interest – as the public vote to determine the winner, Wellington Blaze all-rounder, Sophie Devine and Firebirds’ opener, Michael Papps find themselves up against each other for the Dominion Post Personality of the Year Award.
Devine had a stellar year for the WHITE FERNS after converting to an opening bat and claiming Player of the Match awards at will. In the ODI series against the West Indies, Devine hit 108, 80, and 73* to be a clear winner in the player of the series stakes. Part of the Wellington Blaze side that claimed the domestic T20 title, Devine swept the WHITE FERNS’ awards at the New Zealand Cricket Awards, named both their T20 and ODI Player of the Year. She is further recognised in the awards as a nominee for Sportswoman of the Year.
A long First-Class career came to an end for Michael Papps this summer, but his bat still had plenty of runs in it. This was particularly true in the opening round of the Plunket Shield, where he became the first player to score a triple century for Wellington, making 316* against Auckland at the Basin Reserve. Papps has a passionate following around the country, built up through 188 First-Class games, 8 Tests, 6 ODIs, and a mammoth 12294 First-Class runs.
Among the other cricket nominees, Wellington Blaze coach Christie van Dyk has been recognised for his work with the national T20 champions as a finalist for Coach of the Year. With his side also finishing as runners up in the Hallyburton Johnstone One-Day competition, van Dyk’s first year at the helm was particularly satisfying.
For the man himself, the nomination for this award is recognition for the whole team’s effort,
“It’s really cool to be nominated, a great honour, but for me this is really an acknowledgement of the entire team.
“We worked really hard all season to achieve the results we did, and this is recognition for all that work.”
BLACKCAPS’ U19 World Cup representative, Jakob Bhula lines up as a finalist in the Emerging Sportsman of the Year category. The rising star from the Karori Cricket Club made headlines this summer, smashing 180 – a record at the time – as New Zealand made 436 against Kenya. In the team’s next match he hit 44 and took 2 wickets in a win over South Africa. Jakob is currently in the UK, playing for the MCC Young Cricketers alongside fellow Wellingtonian, Ben Sears.
Malcolm Benge’s contribution to junior cricket has been acknowledged with his place as a finalist in the Volunteer of the Year category. It has been an exceptional year for Malcolm who won the prestigious Sir Jack Newman Award at New Zealand Cricket’s annual awards.
Although not nominated for cricket, Cricket Wellington would also like to acknowledge Jo Murray’s nomination for the Trish McKelvey Leadership Award. Murray has been nominated for her work in athletics but she is also a valuable member of our cricket community and we wish her well on awards night.