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 8 times and 9 Average 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. In addition to his numerous WCC batting trophies, ‘Juddy’ was also the Association leading runscorer on 3 occasions – 1996/97, 2003/04 & 2009/10 – a great indication of his longevity as a consistent ‘A’ Grade runscorer.
The quality that set 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, Juddy wasn’t troubled by the bouncer as his batting 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. Also a gun fielder, Ben’s fielding in the slips cordon was a sight to behold.
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. An extremely talented footballer, Ben played 110 games for Sturt in the SANFL between 1990-1997 and was twice drafted by AFL clubs, first by Carlton with pick 67 in the 1989 AFL Draft and then by Melbourne with pick 39 in the 1992 Pre-Season Draft, however, on both occasions he chose to remain in South Australia. Towards the end of his SANFL career, Ben decided to join some old school friends at Wistow for the 1996/97 season where he played ‘A’ grade until retiring in 2010, although he did play several ‘fill-in’ games afterwards and in more recent seasons has turned out to play with his sons for Wistow’s archrivals at Hahndorf.
During Ben’s ‘A’ Grade career at Wistow, he played in 13 finals matches in ‘A’ Grade including 6 grand finals, winning 4 premierships – all top highlights for him. Always rising to the challenge of finals, Juddy scored 529 runs @ 44.08 across those 13 matches, including 2 centuries which both came in successful grand finals.
At the time of his retirement, Ben found himself in 7th place on the WCC career runs leaderboard, 2nd for highest career batting average (narrowly behind contemporary and fellow club legend, Wayne Willis) and 2nd for most career centuries – all of this despite placing just 40th on the list of most senior matches played.
Ben said of his 11 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 a few years later. 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.
Four-time A Grade Premiership Player – 1999/00 (top scored – 106), 2002/03, 2004/05 (top scored – 120*) & 2007/08
1996/97 Association A Grade Batting Aggregate – 394 runs
2003/04 Association A Grade Batting Aggregate – 482 runs
2009/10 Association A Grade Batting Aggregate – 421 runs
1996/97 A Grade Batting – Aggregate & Average – 394 runs @ 43.78
1999/00 A Grade Batting – Aggregate & Average – 493 runs @ 30.81
2003/04 A Grade Batting – Aggregate & Average – 482 runs @ 53.56 **Stats are incomplete for this season**
2004/05 A Grade Batting – Aggregate & Average – 569 runs @ 94.83
2006/07 A Grade Batting – Aggregate & Average – 518 runs @ 43.17
2007/08 A Grade Batting – Aggregate & Average – 404 runs @ 36.73
2008/09 A Grade Batting – Aggregate & Average – 216 runs @ 27.00
2009/10 A Grade Batting – Aggregate & Average – 442 runs @ 36.83
2011/12 A Grade Batting – Average – 48.00 (240 runs)
113 senior matches (all but two in ‘A’ Grade)
4,429 runs @ 40.26 (4,379 runs scored in A Grade @ 40.55) including 18 half-centuries and 11 centuries