STONEYFORD’S Dom Dare’s remarkable cricket season has the teenager as a clear favourite to end his brother Joe’s reign of Bill Johnston Medals.
Seven respected Division One players expect the 18-year-old to poll highly on Friday night for Colac district cricket’s highest honour.
If the Maroon Caps wicketkeeper-batsman claims the award named after famous Australian Test cricketer and district export Bill Johnston, Dom will end Joe’s run of three-straight wins.
Three top-grade captains have signalled another Dare, Stoneyford skipper Levi, who won the medal for the 2009-10 season, to be Dom’s biggest challenger.
The two Dares have produced the most Division One runs this season, with Levi also taking 33 wickets to land him the Colac Herald CricketStar crown.
He has produced 942 runs this season, which includes a 209-run knock and three others scores exceeding 140.
“He’s had a season like I’ve never seen in my time of playing top-grade cricket,” Jackson said.
“It’s an amazing effort, and he deserves to win based purely on the numbers he has produced with the bat.”
“He’s had a great year with the bat and it would be good to see him cap it off with the medal,” City United skipper Sam Cardinal added about his grand final opponent.
Warrion skipper Jarryd Cranwell said Levi’s ability to consistently perform would be hard to look past, despite Dom and Joe’s heroics with the willow.
“I think Levi deserves the medal after a super consistent season,” he said.
“He’s been making a lot of runs and somehow managed to get quite a few wickets off his shortened run up.
“Dom’s had a massive year with the bat and Joe’s been pretty good also, but the big fella should poll votes in just about every game and end up on top.”
Levi said Dom was a worthy recipient to become the third member of the family to win a Bill Johnston Medal, but his teammates could deny him the award.
Joe has scored more than 500 runs, youngster Jesse Williamson has had solid individual games, while Levi has produced the most dominant numbers with bat and ball.
Levi said Irrewarra’s Jeff Percy could also be a chance to win the medal almost a decade after he claimed the award, in 2006-07.
“I think it’s between Dom and Jeff Percy for mine,” he said.
“Dom obviously had an outstanding year but we have a few guys in our side that might rob him of some votes.
“I think Jeff was the reason behind Irrewarra’s early-season form and also finished off the season with big performances. So I think it will come down to the last rounds between those two.”
Alvie premiership captain Luke McLennan and Birregurra skipper, and the eldest of the Dare brothers Rueben, couldn’t divide the award between Levi and Dom.
But Rueben said his opening bowler, Saint Jack Melican, was a chance to claim the accolade in his debut top-grade season, while Colac West skipper Dylan Flanigan also rated the young gun’s chances.
“If I had to pick one, Dom has had a few more standout innings with the bat,” Rueben said.
“But Jack Melican is a dark horse.”
“Jack’s done a great job with the ball for Birre and also contributed well during the year with the bat,” Flanigan added.
Cranwell said Apollo Bay co-captain Jack Pascoe was also an outside chance, while Colac skipper Aidan Spence picked Stallions opening batsman Danny Allan to fare well in the award.