Matthew Perri’s remarkable season in the North Metro Cricket Association Jika Shield has earned the Rivergum star the Bill McFarlane Medal.
Perri made nearly 700 runs and taken 27 wickets during the season, there was little surprise when he was named the association’s best player for the first time.
Perri finished on 18 votes, three clear of Rosebank’s Rocky Sharma with Holy Trinity’s Finn O’Sullivan a further three votes back.
While thinking he was a chance to take out the medal, Perri said it was still overwhelming when his name was read out.
“It felt pretty good,” he said. “I thought I was a chance to win it and it’s pretty special. It’s the best season I’ve ever had in A grade.
“It’s sort of a consolation for not winning the grand final.”
Unlike many players who put plenty of hours in ahead of pre-season, Perri said he had only attended one or two training sessions before the season started.
Football had taken precedence in the lead up to the season as he helped Leitchville-Gunbower to win a second straight premiership.
“I don’t do much normally to start the season,” he said of his cricket. “I normally start the season off slowly without having the practice behind me.
“I started playing shots straight away and they paid off. I normally aim to make around the 400-mark of runs for the season – to get nearly 700 runs I could have never imagined.”
Perri is the second Kookas player to win the Bill McFarlane Medal, with Alex Jesensek claiming it in 2013-14.
Perri said it was special to share that honour with someone who achieved so much with his cricket.
“AJ is just a freak,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to play with him – he’s great to watch.”
Perri’s medal win came after the Kookas played off in their eighth straight grand final, in which they fell short against arch rival Rosebank.
Perri said one of the big keys for the side was the friendship factor that keeps everyone coming back.
“Several of us played in under-13s together and have keep playing together since,” he said.
Perri hasn’t had long to recover from cricket, with the football season getting underway this weekend.
He will be playing for Wallan in the Riddell District Football League.