Northants Steelbacks Visually Impaired Cricket Club have enjoyed one of their most successful seasons ever in 2012.
They had their highest National League finish since 2006 as they finished 5th., just one point behind 4th. They also reached Twenty20 cup finals day, eventually being edged out in the third place play-off against Hampshire by 3 wickets. The side also reached the quarter finals of the National Cup.
In these top level competitions Northants defeated South Wales, Yorkshire, London & Berkshire as well as drawing with Hampshire, and in another match against South Wales. As well as playing well the team played with an excellent spirit and were rewarded for this by winning the Best Team Spirit award.
The VI Steelbacks also won the National Development Tournament for the second time in three years, this was with a very young side with just two players aged over 22; this tournament saw the side beat Berkshire, Nottingham, London, Yorkshire, Somerset and Durham.
The Team also had a number of players nominated for national awards and ended up claiming 2 of the 8 on offer. Mark Horbatowski won the “Most Promising Player” award for a massively improved season that saw him smash his first century, he finished the season with 327 runs at an average of 46.5 as well as claiming two catches. Mark’s sight didn’t deteriorate until he was in his 30’s and he also lost a lot of movement in his left arm and leg, so to fight back and perform so well this season shows the talent Mark has for cricket.
The other player from the club to win a National Award was Dave Gavrilovic; Steelbacks’ captain won the overall award for Best B1 (Totally Blind) Player of the Year and in the process became the first Northants player to win one of the two overall Player of the Year awards. Amongst his achievements this season Dave hit his highest ever score v Hampshire; took 2 catches in the same match for the first time v Yorkshire; and finished in the overall top three run scorers, wicket takers & catchers in the B1 sight category.
So all in all it was a very promising season for Northants and the side will look to build and contend for a major trophy in 2013.
Mark Horbatowski won the Most Promising Player award
Chris Norman & Matt Horspool receive the Spirit of Cricket Award
Dave Gavrilovic won the B1 Player of the Year Award