Nominees for the Commonwealth Bank Future Star Award have been set, celebrating the best performing young talent in the state.
Hayleigh Brennan, Makinley Blows, Nicole Faltum, Zoe Griffiths and Chloe Rafferty are all in the mix to claim the female Future Star Award.
Fast bowler Brennan and all-rounder Blows were amongst a handful of players to debut for VicSpirit this season.
Brennan played in all six WNCL games, taking three wickets and showing that she’s a player for the present and future.
Blows displayed her multidimensional play, scoring 99 against Melbourne Cricket Club in Premier Cricket before debuting for VicSpirit against South Australia, where she finished the WNCL season with four games and three wickets to her name. Blows would also debut for the Melbourne Stars in the WBBL.
The progression of the WBBL as a significant cricket pathway was particularly evident this season with both Faltum (Renegades) and Griffiths (Stars) rewarded with rookie contracts for their strong form in the U18 State Championships.
Rafferty also enjoyed a breakout year as a member of the U18 Victorian side, taking 11 wickets.
On the men’s side, Sam Grimwade, Blake Thomson, Will Pucovski, Xavier Crone and Damon Egan have been the five standouts on the season.
Grimwade is a skillful right arm off-spinner from Prahran Cricket Club. As a Bushrangers’ rookie player, he played in the majority of Futures League matches this season and also represented the Cricket Australia XI in the Matador Cup.
Fellow Bushrangers rookie contracted player, Crone, enjoyed a consistent season with the ball. The tall, athletic seam bowler from Bendigo continued to develop with a second season in the Vic Country U19 team and a number of opportunities at Future League level.
Pucovski arguably had one of the finest seasons ever by an U19 player. At the U19 Championships, he posted four consecutive hundreds, accumulated 650 runs and broke the record for runs scored at the U19 Championships. He then capped off a brilliant carnival by making his Sheffield Shield debut shortly after.
Victoria’s next wave of batting talent was on further display with Bushrangers rookie player Thomson and Vic Metro top gun Egan also enjoying strong seasons with the bat at Premier and Futures League level.
Introduced in 2005-06, the Commonwealth Bank Future Star Award is presented each season to the best under-19 Victorian male and female player based on their form at Premier Cricket level and at the National Championships, with nominations selected by a panel of committee members on a monthly basis.
Past winners of the award include Aaron Finch, Meg Lanning and Jessica Cameron, who have all represented Australia.
The winners of the Commonwealth Bank Future Star Award will be crowned at the Cricket Victoria State Awards on March 31, 2017.