Was Ben Judd Wistow’s Best Bat?
The evidence places Ben on a level with other top batsmen before or since in terms of `A” Grade long service and consistent run scoring per season; and also the winning of trophies of which he won the `A’ Batting Aggregate six times and five `Averages’ awards. Though unable to play for the association team for several seasons due to work commitments he eventually played in the Meyer Shield in 2007/08, the season he thought of as his personal best.
The quality that sets Ben Judd ahead was his unflappable calmness in the pressure innings of finals, particularly Grand Finals where he scored a century on two separate occasions, to almost single-handedly `take the game from the opposition’!
Never one to wear a helmet Judd wasn’t troubled by the bouncer as his innings was based on a sound defence, mixed with smooth stroke play, all around the wicket. His trademark was timing and placement between the fielders which seemed to inspire his batting partners to play with more confidence.
Ben’s family lived at Nairne and he began playing, at age 14, for the Nairne CC Colts, progressing to senior cricket and ‘A’ Grade there in 1987, aged 16. Ben decided to join some ex school friends at Wistow CC for the 1996/97 season where he played until retiring in 2010, although he did play several ‘fill-in’ games afterwards
During Ben’s career he played in 12 finals matches including six grand finals, winning four premierships – all top highlights for him.
Ben said of his five centuries, the Grand Final 106 against Bremer/Callington at Milang was memorable as was his Grand Final 120 not out against Hahndorf at Langhorne Creek. He well remembers his highest score of 169 not out against Nairne at Nairne and his century against Mount Barker at Mount Barker as a 40 year old. This was a period complimented by, not only a handy batting order but also a good bowling attack.
Worthy of mention was the arrival, in 2002, of Monarto speedster Brayden Leckie who, for the short time of five seasons, impacted on opposition batting e.g. taking 41 wickets at 7.19 runs in 2003/04 including hauls of 8/19 and 7/15!
Bowling at the other end was Steven Nettle (a junior at this time) who reaped the benefits of partnering a quality bowler. Steven was also fortunate in 2007/08 to have partnered with Andrew Frohling, a competitive ex Lobethal o.pening bowler, completing Nettle’s grooming as a key opening bowler since!