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April 6, 2014
In the morning, Marcus North announced his retirement. By the end of the evening he was being toasted by Western Australian cricket for another reason, as the winner of the Laurie Sawle Medal.
North's award reflected the ending of his Australian first-class career on a most satisfying note, having reinvented himself as an opening batsman after losing his state team place the previous summer.
Other WA award winners included Mitchell Johnson as the Gold Cup winner for most outstanding WA cricketer across al forms of the game, Craig Simmons as the Perth Scorchers player of the year, and Shaun Marsh as domestic limited overs player of the season. Nicole Bolton won the Zoe Goss medal as the best WA female cricketer.
The WA awards night followed those for South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania, each recognising top performers for their states. Tom Cooper, most recently part of Holland's World Twenty20 squad, was named the most outstanding Redback of the season, while Callum Ferguson won the Lord Hampden Trophy as the best Sheffield Shield performer.
Shield champions NSW added a second surprise winner of the Steve Waugh Medal in as many seasons, as the young allrounder Sean Abbott was recognised for his improvement across all formats the year after Gurinder Sandhu had taken out the award. Abbott had narrowly missed selection for the Shield final, tipped out by the return of Moises Henriques from South Africa.
Ryan Carters, meanwhile, was rewarded for his move north from Victoria by winning the award as the best NSW Shield player of the summer. Establishing himself as an opener for the Blues, Carters compiled 861 runs at 53.81. Leah Poulton claimed the Belinda Clark Medal as the best NSW women's crickter of the season, in which the Breakers won their ninth consecutive national title.
Tasmania's major award, the Ricky Ponting medal, was handed to the bowling allrounder Evan Gulbis after he followed up a strong domestic limited overs showing by clouting a staggering 229 not out against South Australia in the Tigers' final Shield fixture of the season. It is the highest score by a No. 8 batsman in Australian first-class history. Gulbis then plucked 4 for 7 as Tasmnaia ended their summer with a victory.
Queensland's state awards took place on Saturday evening, with their captain James Hopes earning his third Ian Healy Trophy as the Bulls player of the season. Hopes season included a new personal mark of 38 Shield wickets at 24.28, while he also led the team to a second consecutive win in the domestic limited overs competition.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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