Cavaliers skipper Matt Corben joined the Orange District Cricket Association's best-of-the-best at Thursday's presentation night at the Parkview Hotel, the 23-year-old wicketkeeper-bat being crowned the 2018-19 player-of-the-year.
Many actually considered the likes of Cavaliers' Ryan Kurtz and Orange City skipper Ed Morrish the front-runners for this summer's crown, but Corben's consistency for his club, Orange, the Central West Wranglers and Western Zone pushed him over the line.
In fact, neither Kurtz nor Morrish was the next best either.
In tallying 1600 player-of-the-year points Corben finished a whopping 205 in front of the second-finisher, who actually ended up being the maroons' finger-spinning whiz Mitch Black (1395).
That difference came almost entirely from the fact Corben starred in the Wranglers' run to the Cricket NSW Plan B Regional Bash finals and earned his maiden Western Zone cap too, Black not being picked in either side.
Looking at some of the names on the trophy I'm very proud to, sort of, be included in the same sort of calibre as them.Cavaliers skipper and new MVP Matt Corben
Incredibly, the top five contenders for the award were all from Cavaliers, with Kurtz (1373), reigning MVP Josh Doherty (1131) and young gun Bailey Ferguson (1122) finishing third, fourth and fifth respectively.
"I think that's a pretty incredible achievement for us as a club," Corben said, revelling in his teammates' success as much as his own.
"I'm pretty stoked. Making Western Zone and that sort of thing helps because you get points for all of that obviously but I thought it would be really close between a few guys.
"Look at Josh and Kurtzy, they had unbelievable seasons with the bat and the ball.
"Looking at some of the names on the trophy I'm very proud to, sort of, be included in the same sort of calibre as them."
While it was no secret Corben had a good season he did still fly under the radar somewhat considering a number of his teammates were regularly in the spotlight thanks to excellent showings too.
But once you've broken down his numbers in 2018-19, it becomes clear the crown has gone to the most-deserving player.
The 23-year-old finished as the ODCA's leading run-scorer and also Orange's, and cumulatively he plundered an incredible 1009 runs this summer at an average of 43.86, an aggregate that actually surpassed Doherty's effort of 936 from last summer.
He banged out one ton, a massive 178 not out against Centrals, and notched six more half-tons too, including three scores in the nineties.
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"I don't think I hit the ball any better this year than I have before, I think I've just grown into my game a bit more and I'm learning how I score runs rather than trying to score them the way Josh or other players do," Corben said, after joining the likes of Richie Venner, Stu Middleton, Dave Miller, Craig Evers, Brad Wright and Doherty as Cavaliers' winners.
"That was something Richie used to talk about a lot and, actually, I'm really proud to be alongside guys like him and Craig Evers (on the trophy) considering everything they did for Cavaliers and for Orange cricket."
Corben also claimed the representative player-of-the-year award and the top grade's fielding gong.
However, he did admit the one thing missing from his glittering season was a premiership. Orange City upset Corben's Cavaliers in last weekend's grand final, and the maroons' skipper said he'd trade any individual awards for that title in a heartbeat.
"Absolutely, I said that to the guys after [the presentation]," Corben said.
"If we had've won and I'd picked up the awards it would've been amazing but I guess, because of that grand final loss, it does feel a little bit hollow in a way."
Of the other major awards Ferguson claimed the colts representative player-of-the-year, Black shared the top grade's MVP award with CYMS' Hugh Le Lievre and Orange City's Blake Weymouth collected the Bill Trimmer Encourgament Award.
Middleton won the second grade MVP, Spring Hill's Dal Marsh as the third grade player-of-the-year and Orange City's Jeremiah Murphy won Centenary Cup's top gong.
THE MVP'S TOP 10 RANKINGS
1 | MATT CORBEN (Cavaliers) - 1600
2 | MITCH BLACK (Cavaliers) - 1395
3 | RYAN KURTZ (Cavaliers) - 1373
4 | JOSH DOHERTY (Cavaliers) - 1131
5 | BAILEY FERGUSON (Cavaliers) - 1122
6 | HUGH LE LIEVRE (CYMS) - 1030
7 | ED MORRISH (Orange City) - 930
8 | ANGUS CUMMING (Kinross) - 843
9 | FLETCHER ROSE (Centrals) - 826
10 | DARYL KENNEWELL (Centrals) - 824
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