Sydney University batsman Greg Mail has been awarded the O’Reilly Medal for the best player in Sydney grade cricket for the 2011-12 season after eclipsing the all-time run record.
Mail gained 27 votes to clinch the award, three votes ahead of UNSW’s David Dawson, and nine more than Anthony Clark from Fairfield-Liverpool.
The award completes a successful personal season for the former NSW player, who has amassed 12,438 runs to become the highest run scorer in 119 years of grade cricket.
“I think it’s a privileged award, there is a good list of players who have won it,” Mail said at the awards dinner last week. “Part of having a strong Sheffield Shield team in NSW is having a strong and competitive grade cricket competition, so to figure among the better players in that competition is a nice achievement.”
Despite his continued good form, Mail said he would not come out of retirement to add to the 72 appearances he made for NSW in a 10-year representative career.
“I’m not playing to collect awards and chip away at records, the times that you remember are the titles that you win,” he said.
“I won’t be returning to any high level cricket. But I plan to continue to play club cricket for as long as I enjoy it.”
Mail surpassed Greg Hayne (12,354 runs) when setting the new mark during the Limited Overs semi-final loss to Fairfield-Liverpool.
His 137 against Hawkesbury the weekend before the semi-final saw him join Warren Bardsley and Victor Trumper as the leading century-makers in Sydney First Grade cricket with 36.
Mail is also the only player in 119 years of Sydney Grade Cricket to score double centuries in consecutive first grade matches. Three seasons ago he scored 214 not out against Randwick-Petersham and backed that up the next weekend with 212 against Northern District.
The back-to-back double hundreds put him in elite company. Only two other players had passed 200 twice in the same season: Don Bradman made 246 and 201 in the 1931-32 season, and former NSW player Norbet Phillips made 243 not out and 200 in the 1929-30 season. But neither made them in consecutive matches.
While he has been a prolific scorer at grade level, Mail also enjoyed a healthy, 10-year first-class career with NSW before announcing his retirement. After making his debut in 1999, he played 72 matches for the Blues, scoring 4085 runs at an average of 32.16, including nine centuries – one in each innings against South Australia – and a highest score of 176. He was a member of the Sheffield Shield-winning sides of 2002-03, 2004-05 and 2007-08.