CRAIG Williams capped a great season when he won the Cricket Player of the Year award on Saturday evening.
The veteran all-rounder played a prominent role in Namibia’s fortunes this year, helping them to a first-ever final in the Cricket South Africa 50-over competition, while his club side WHS Old Boys also won the Three Ships Whisky 50-over series for the first time.
The 33-year-old Williams was Namibia’s most successful batsman in the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup competition, scoring a total of 586 runs in 14 innings’ at an average of 48,83 with a top score of 152 not out.
That innings came in Namibia’s final match against Boland in Paarl, where Williams put on a batting masterclass, hitting 15 fours and facing 212 balls to post his highest first class score.
Williams also excelled in the CSA One-Day Challenge where he played a prominent role in taking Namibia to the final for the first time, where they lost to Northerns.
Williams was Namibia’s second best batsman in the competition behind Stephen Baard, scoring 324 runs at an average of 40,50 with a top score of 57.
After receiving the award, Williams acknowledged the help of his coaches and team mates.
“It’s nice to get an award, but I couldn’t have done it without our coaching staff and my team mates, so I’m grateful for that,” he said.
“My season was a bit up and down – I got injured early on so I couldn’t bowl much, but it made me focus more on my batting. The team did well, we reached the final of the CSA One Day competition which is a huge achievement considering that we played against some of South Africa’s best players, and we had a lot of youngsters coming through, so it’s been a good year for us,” he added.
Numerous other awards were handed out at the awards ceremony which brought Namibia’s 2016/17 season to a close.
The off-spin bowler Danie van Schoor won the Most Improved National Player’s Award after taking 22 wickets in 10 matches.
The Players’ Player of the Year award went to 17-year-old Lohan Louwrens, who made his debut for the senior side and scored a debut first class century against Boland, while he scored a total of 369 runs in 10 innings.
The senior national coach Dee Thakur won the Coach of the Year award, after guiding Namibia to their first-ever final in the CSA competition.
The president of Cricket Namibia, Richard Frankle, presented two President’s Awards – a posthumous honorary award to Raymond van Schoor for his contributions to cricket in Namibia; and the Spirit of Cricket award to the EBH Welwitschias team from the coast.
Despite being the youngest team in the Namibian Premier League, with most of their players still at school, EBH Welwitschias finished on top of the log for the first time, before losing the final to WHS Old Boys.
Hestelle Haccou won the Administrator of the Year award; Donovan Bolton won the Rookie Umpire of the Year award; Claus Schumacher won the Umpire of the Year award; Juanne Engelbrecht won the Scorer of the Year award; and Gerson Nambahu won the Groundsman of the Year award.
Eben van Wyk was the u19 player of the year; Mauritius Ngupita was the u17 player of the year; Nicol Loftie-Eaton was the u15 player of the year; and Divan La Cock was the u13 player of the year.
Adri van der Merwe and Wilka Muwatile shared the Women’s Development Player of the Year award, while Hannelise de Klerk was the Junior Female Player of the Year; Yasmeen Khan the u19 Female Player of the Year; and Irene van Zyl the Senior Female Player of the Year.
Wilhelm Tuhafeni won the Kwata Administrator of the year award; Shinime Shiivula Primary School from Ondangwa won the Kwata School of the Year award; Albert Mbwembwe won the Development Officer of the Year award; while the coast won the Development Region of the Year award.
There were also numerous awards for the best batsmen and bowlers in the various league competitions.
Gareth Cloete and Ben Shikongo were the best batsman and bowler in the 50-over Premier League competition.
Wessel Myburgh and Hendrik Geldenhuys were the best batsman and bowler in the Premier League T20 competition.
Nicky Buys and Colin Peake were the best batsman and bowler in the First Division 40-over competition.
Nicky Buys and Helmut Mack were the best batsman and bowler in the First Division T20 competition.
Kobus Kruger and Petrus Smit were the best batsman and bowler in the Second Division 30-over competition.
JP Conradie and Albert Maartens were the best batsman and bowler in the Second Division T20 competition. http://www.namibian.com.na/54952/read/Williams-is-Player-of-the-Year