Vernon breaks through 1000 run barrier

Riley Vernon (Ljubica Vrankovic)

Tara Murray

Gisborne’s Riley Vernon has made runs for fun this season.

Having spent plenty of time in the middle this season, Vernon in the final round of the Gisborne and District Cricket Association McIntyre Cup season hit his 1000th run for the season.

According to GDCA secretary, Rob McIntyre, who had spoken with other cricketers who have been involved in the association the last 50 years, they don’t recall anyone in the top grade achieving that feat in one season.

Vernon said he knew that his run total for the season was getting up there, but didn’t imagine he would break through the barrier.

“It’s been a pretty good year,” he said. “I certainly did know, I knew I needed 140 or something like that going into the last game.

“I didn’t think I would get 140. At drinks my brother said you need 20 more. I got about five more runs and started to think about it.

“I got there in the end.”

Vernon finished with 148 in the final game against Woodend to make it 1015 runs for the season, which included four centuries. He has also taken 18 wickets.

The 23-year-old himself puts down the run of form down to a couple of reasons.

“The first reason is I went to England in the last off season so I’ve been hitting a lot of balls,” he said.

“I’ve put a lot of hard work in hitting balls. Even when we’ve been rained off this season, I go to an indoor cricket centre with dad. I love cricket and I’m of the mindset that no one else is doing that.”

Vernon said the other reason was the environment at Gisborne.

Vernon played his junior cricket at the Dragons before stints in Victorian Premier Cricket, Victorian Turf Cricket Association and the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association.

He said with his brother Jarryd Vernon captain of the Dragons, it was pretty easy to get him to come back to the club.

Vernon said he still wants to play cricket at a higher level in the future. He’s unsure whether he’ll head to England in the off season, but will spend some time in India.

“I’ll be training and playing at the Chennai Super Kings Academy,” he said. “It’ll be an awesome experience playing and training.

“My batting coach Shannon Young, who is coach of Richmond Cricket Club, is this year having a high performance camp over there with premier cricketers and asked me and I was keen.”

Before Vernon heads to India, he is hoping for a big few weeks of finals in the GDCA.

Gisborne finished the regular season in second spot, with both the Dragons and minor premiers Romsey undefeated this season.

The Dragons had a disappointing finals season last year and are keen for redemption.

“One hundred per cent,” he said of wanting to make up for last season.

“Definitely last year was disappointing having lost one game for the year and out in the second week of finals.

“Not being able to watch [due to being in hospital] after hitting a ball into my face on the way to 200, there’s definitely hunger there to go a couple of steps further.”