Noffke named State Player of the Year
Ashley Noffke and Luke Pomersbach, who made their Twenty20 international debuts together in Perth in December, have both been honoured for their domestic form at the Allan Border Medal in Melbourne. Noffke was named State Player of the Year and Pomersbach earned the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year title.
Noffke's outstanding form with both bat and ball gave him 76 votes and he nearly doubled the tally of his nearest rival, Simon Katich (41). David Hussey, with seven votes, made up the top three.
Pomersbach collected 75 votes and was also well ahead of the second-placed Luke Butterworth, the Tasmania allrounder. Butterworth was the Man of the Match in the Tigers' Pura Cup triumph last season but he only managed 31 votes, ahead of the Victoria fast bowler Peter Siddle with 14.
Following his Twenty20 debut Noffke was handed an ODI cap at his home ground the Gabba, and he must be a strong chance for more international opportunities after his remarkable form for Queensland. Although FR Cup games are also included in the tally, it is Noffke's Pura Cup form that has earned him the most attention.
During the voting period - from January 26, 2007 to February 6, 2008 - Noffke made 734 Pura Cup runs at 36.70 and took 54 wickets at 22.03. He collected seven five-wicket hauls, made one century and six fifties, and this season is second on the competition's wicket tally and third on the run-scorers' list.
He said making his ODI debut at home was the higlight of an outstanding year. "I've enjoyed the year but there's plenty more to achieve," Noffke said. "Obviously [batting is] something that I've worked hard on, trying to get more runs and consistent runs. The next step is to be classified in the team as a batsman as well as a bowler."
Pomersbach's win capped off an eventful summer during which he made his initial two first-class centuries and starred in Western Australia's KFC Twenty20 campaign. He also suffered a one-month ban from his state for breaking a team curfew and going out drinking and the most amazing development came while he was still suspended.
When he was parking his car to watch Australia's Twenty20 international against New Zealand at the WACA Pomersbach received a phone call asking him to quickly make his way to the Australian dressing-rooms - he was to replace Brad Hodge, who had sustained a late injury. His Pura Cup appearances during the voting period brought him 648 runs at 64.80.
There was another tight finish in the Women's International Cricketer of the Year race, with Lisa Sthalekar collecting her second consecutive title. Sthalekar had won by one vote last season and this year her margin was three, ahead of the second-placed Shelley Nitschke.
Sthalekar made 558 runs at an average of 62.00 in her 14 ODIs during the voting period and she collected 12 wickets at 38.58. She also made 98 in Australia's only Test match for the year, against England in Bowral this month.
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo