Echuca's Taylor Beard has won back-to-back Goulburn Murray Cricket medals.LUKE MCMANUS March 7, 2014 4:04am
Echuca’s Taylor Beard won Goulburn Murray Cricket’s top-honour for the second consecutive time on Wednesday night.
The win tops off a stellar season which also yielded leading run scorer and A Grade Cricketer of the Year.
Beard fell agonisingly short of a clean sweep, missing out on the A grade bowling award by just one wicket to Tongala’s Darin Ohlsen.
The all-rounder collected 20 votes in his runaway medal win, well clear of his nearest rivals who shared second spot in a three-way tie.
BLU batsmen Greg Pearse, Kyabram Fire Brigade captain Daniel Kent and the Flames’ South African recruit Tyrone Isitt sharing the honours on 10 votes.
‘‘My best season by far,’’ Beard said following the presentation at Moama Bowling Club.
‘‘It’s an honour to win the award with so many great cricketers out there
Beard polled eight out of a possible 10 times, including five best-on-ground performances, each yielding three votes.
The most noteworthy was in November against BLU when Beard, batting at number three, scored his first century.Beard attributed the landmark score to months of hard work. Backed by captain Brendan Prendergast, Beard made the conscious decision at the end of last season to improve.
‘‘Prenda and I had a chat at the end of the year about my lack of consistency,’’ he said.
‘‘Last year it was my first time batting at number three, I ended up having a pretty down year (run-wise) as I’d make starts but get out too early trying to force runs.
‘‘We talked about focusing my intent on reaching the 30-mark (runs).
‘‘If I achieved that nine times out of 10, then that was a massive win and I could then knuckle down and hopefully set myself for a bigger score.
‘‘(The century) was a relief more than anything.
‘‘I reached my ton and after everyone clapped I heard Prenda say, over the top of everyone, ‘about time!’
‘‘It was a sign that all my hard work over the past 12 months had finally paid off.
‘‘It was a point in time which really set my season up, all of a sudden I had the confidence to go out to the middle and hit the ball.
‘‘From that moment on, it was much easier to turn starts into bigger scores.’’
Beard was essentially admitting to a form slump, hard to believe after the then-third year GMC player shared last season’s top-prize with Moama’s Ralph Siede.
Below-par compared to his 2013-14 statistics but still worthy of a league accolade, Beard said his cricket had ‘‘matured’’ between then and now.
This was largely due to the added responsibility the 22-year-old placed on himself in the form of Echuca Cricket Club assistant coach, he said.
‘‘I really enjoy being a leader, the more pressure and expectations I placed on myself, has made all the difference.’’
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