Jess Watkin named Central Districts’ player of the year

Jess Watkin, captain of Central Hinds, in action. © Getty Images

Jess Watkin has been named the Super Smash player of the year award in the Central Districts Cricket Awards on Friday (May 8).

“I knew about the player of the year award, because I had to do the [acceptance] video, so I found out on Sunday, had to do the video on Monday night,” said Watkin.

“I didn’t expect a call about it, because I thought we were still having our prizegiving, just pushed later on, so I didn’t even think about it. There’s definitely other people that could have got it as well, so I think I was pretty surprised.”

Watkin scored 385 runs in nine matches in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield at an average of 42.77. She scored a ton – her career-best 158 – and a couple of half centuries as well. In the Super Smash, she tallied 275 runs from 10 outings, which was her best in a season.

“Jess also moved into a captaincy role for the first time at this level, co-captaining the Super Smash campaign with Hannah Rowe,” said Jamie Watkins, Central Hinds’ coach, on Watkin’s growth. “This leadership contributed greatly to the more competitive season — Jess’s positive mindset and lead-from-the-front approach inspiring the squad.”

Watkin acknowledged that there were stiff contenders for the award in Rowe – who was the leading wicket-taker in the Super Smash – and Natalie Dodd, the wicket-keeper, who had a good season as well.

“I was even with the runs for one-dayers with Natalie Dodd,” she said. “When you look at it, I only got one [big] score and that was pretty much it.”

Central Hinds just missed out on making it to the play-offs in the Super Smash with a loss to Otago Sparks. But the Shield campaign was a more disappointing one for them, given that they were the defending champions but failed to make the play-offs this season.

“We were pretty stoked with the Twenty20, because last season we literally didn’t win one game, so it was pretty cool to see,” said Watkin.

“Myself and Rowey were leading the team for that, so there was a lot of changes, and I think the team adapted pretty well. But the one-dayers, obviously last year we won it, so we were pretty disappointed with how we went this season, but we’ve still taken a lot of good things out of some of the performances, so it wasn’t like a write-off.”