Venner back to his best and showing the wisdom of age

IN season 2013-14 Cavaliers skipper Richie Venner once again proved why he is widely considered the best cricketer to come out of Orange in the past two decades.

Venner destroyed every bowling attack in Orange this season, plundering an incredible 895 runs at an average of 81.36 to lead the Orange District Cricket Association first grade run tally, by 402 runs.

The maroons’ skipper knocked up four tons including a mammoth, unbeaten 222 against Waratahs in round one, and two half-centuries during the season.

He also chipped in with eight wickets at 11.25.

“I didn’t change anything from last year,” he said.

“As you get older you get to know your game better, and you learn what works best for you.”

Venner won’t get the chance to expand on his 2013-14 statistics.

He won’t play a part in this weekend’s grand final against reigning premiers Orange City - Venner is best man at a friend’s wedding in Newcastle.

“I do feel like I’m letting the team down a little bit,” he said.

“But in saying that I’m part of a bridal party, which I’m very proud to be a part of and at the end of the day it is only a game of cricket. I have plenty of confidence in the boys.”

After a lean 2012-13 (243 runs at 27), Venner’s burst of form - reminiscent of the days when he captained Orange and Mitchell Cricket Council, and represented Western Zone - along with his determination to increase the workload of Cavaliers’ younger brigade has created speculation among the Orange cricketing community - will he retire after season 2013-14?

“That’s hard to say, the body doesn’t stand up to as well anymore” he laughed.

“I’ve got a little girl at home and another on the way in June. As you get older you start realising what is really important in life, and family will always take precedence over everything else. I think it’ll be a decision I’ll make when it comes to that time next year.”

Venner said getting to see his younger players, such as vice-captain James Ryan, perform is just as satisfying as any personal milestone.

Ryan is second on the ODCA run scorers list, with 493 at 70.43, and will lead Cavaliers in this weekend’s decider in Venner’s absence.

“That’s part of the reason us older guys still play,” Venner said.

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