Allen claims Sullivan Medal

Gisborne’s Michael Allen. (Shawn Smits) 203926_01

Tara Murray

A simple text message last Monday night was how Gisborne star Mick Allen found out he had won the Gisborne and District Cricket Association’s Sullivan Medal.

With the association’s regular awards night cancelled due to the growing COVID-19 pandemic, the award winners publicly announced on the association’s website and social media on Tuesday morning.

Allen said the message was unexpected.

He was on his way home from catching up with teammates after Gisborne was declared the McIntyre Cup premiers.

“I was in the car when I got it, it was the last thing I was thinking about,” he said.

“I had not too bad a season, even though I missed a couple of games due to weddings.

“I was bowling more than I ever have, which is a bit of a shock. Batting-wise, I tapped off a little bit towards the end.”

Allen finished on 20 votes, five votes clear of Bacchus Marsh’s James Lidgett and Sunbury United’s Dilan Chandima.

Allen also claimed the batting award, having made 599 runs at an average of nearly 75.

Returning to the game after a year off, Allen said that and moving to a new club had refreshed him.

“Coming to Gisborne I didn’t have to worry about captaining or coaching,” he said. “I was just able to play.

“I’m a little bit fitter now too.”

Season highlights included Allen making 183 against his old side Riddell, the highest score of his career.

Gisborne coach Gavin Mackay said Allen had been incredible on and off the field.

“I wrote him a letter this morning to not only congratulate him and thank him,” he said.

“He has had a massive influence at the club and is truly invaluable.

“He does a thing called Mickey’s lap and takes a youngster around the oval and chats with them about the game and what they can do in certain circumstances.

“We’re blessed to have him.”

It’s not the first time Allen has claimed a cricket competition best and fairest award.

In 2005-06 he claimed the Ryder Medal, the highest honour in Victorian Premier Cricket.

He then became part of a rare club when he won the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association RM Hatch Medal in 2012-13 while playing with Melton.

Allen said he would appreciate those accolades more once he finishes his career.

Winning the Sullivan Medal capped off a weird day for Allen, with the news the GDCA grand finals won’t go ahead due to the coronavirus.

Allen said he hadn’t seen anything like this before.

“I would have preferred to play and win one,” he said. “I would much prefer to win it properly.

“You can’t argue though that we were the best team all year.”

Allen said he would definitely play next season.