Matt Everett's sublime 2022/23 season has been recognised by Cricket NSW after the Breelong Cricket Club representative took home the Josh Hazlewood Men's Country Player of the Year.
At the annual Cricket NSW awards night at Doltone House in Sydney, Everett was one of several Western Zone winners on the evening and was rewarded for his achievements at every level.
Representing Breelong, Gilgandra, Western Zone and NSW Country across the season, the wicket-keeper/batsman was given the honour after being judged to have the best performances for a country player in 2022/23.
Rubbing shoulders with some of Australian Cricket's biggest names on the night, Everett admitted it was a special moment for him.
"It's something that's a massive honour and privilege to win," he said.
"It is always nice to be recognised for having a decent season and I thoroughly enjoy contributing to some team success."
Originally from Tamworth, Everett made the move to Sydney and joined Randwick-Petersham in the NSW Premier Cricket competition, opening the batting with David Warner on several occasions before moving out west.
Linking with Gilgandra in the Brewery Shield and Country Plate, it didn't take long for Everett to make his mark on the Western Zone, being selected in the NSW Country side during the past two seasons.
Individually, Everett's best performances came for Western Zone during the Country Championships at Orange, a three-day carnival where he broke the record for runs scored, making 289 runs across three matches at an average of 144.5.
But as humble as anyone on this side of the Blue Mountains, Everett admitted he has been fortunate to be part of some impressive teams.
"I've been lucky to be part of some great teams this year," he said.
"I love my time representing Western Zone and NSW Country, plus to be part of the season that Gilgandra has had was pretty special."
Gilgandra established themselves as a dominant force in Country Cricket after winning the NSW Country Plate at Homebush earlier this year, before taking out the Macquarie Valley Brewery Shield against Cobar.
Rewind five or so years, Gilgandra Cricket pulled out of the Brewery Shield and representative fixtures in general but the association has come leaps and bounds since.
It's Gilgandra's revival in Country Cricket which makes Everett very proud.
"Putting on the bush blue baggy is always a privilege but winning the country plate with Gilgandra after not having a rep team for numerous years prior was really good to be part of," he said.
Elsewhere on the night, Narromine Cricket Club were named Club of the Year for their efforts during the season while Dubbo Junior Cricket Association were given the award for Women and Girls Initiative of the Year.
Cowra's Daniel Hughes won the Steve Waugh Medal, the top prize for male cricketers for the season and also took out the Michael Bevan One-Day Player of the Tournament award.
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