Joseph Price has capped off an extraordinary Australian Country Championships with a whirlwind 24 hours that saw him named player of the tournament and selected in the national merit XII after the Bush Blues miraculously claimed the overall title.
The Adamstown 35-year-old picked up the individual honours at the official presentation in Geraldton on Saturday night after NSW Country completed a late-carnival surge to narrowly finish on top of the standings courtesy of net run rate (NRR).
Price had figures of 3-12, taking his personal tally to 18 wickets, in the Bush Blues’ double-bonus-point victory over South Australia on the final day of competition.
NSW Country dismissed SA for 95 and successfully chased the target four wickets down in the 21st over of the one-day fixture.
The nature of that result, combined with a loss to equal leaders Victoria by last year’s champions Queensland and an upset win for hosts WA over contenders East Asia Pacific, saw NSW Country jump from fourth to clinch the silverware for the first time since 2012-2013.
NSW Country (1.1852) had a better NRR than Victoria (1.0729).
Both sides finished on 22 competition points, three in front of Queensland (19) and four ahead of East Asia Pacific (18).
NSW Country won their last two 50-over encounters with double bonus points after losing their opening three. Earlier at the tournament the Bush Blues won the T20 crown undefeated.
Wests all-rounder Price also scored 277 runs at an average of 25.18.
He was joined in the Australian Country XII by Bush Blues’ teammates Caleb Ziebell, leading wicket taker Cameron Sudigest and wicketkeeper of the tournament Tom Groth.
Meanwhile, the women’s title was won by South Australia with Bush Breakers pair Rebecca Cady and Naomi McDonald named in the Australian Country XII.