THE WIMMERA Mail-Times scored a hat-trick, winning three awards at the Cricket Victoria 2011 Media Awards on Monday.
Sports journalist Leigh Rogers was recognised with the Country Award, photographer Kate Healy with the Photography Award for the second consecutive year, and sports journalist Justine McCullagh-Beasy was highly commended for the Country Award.
Rogers' 'A Matter of Sport' feature on Vivek Kumar, an Indian cricketer who played with St Mary's in the Wimmera-Mallee Cricket Association, was deemed the most outstanding news story, feature or photograph relating to country cricket.
The story described Kumar's journey from teaching himself how to play the sport in the streets in India, to moving to Australia and playing on proper ovals with St Mary's.
Rogers said the award was a great honour.
"I was very surprised to win," he said. "I want to congratulate Kate and Justine on their awards too. The Mail-Times is the real winner, to get two awards and a commendation from our small staff is an outstanding result.
"I want to thank the Mail-Times for giving me the opportunity to be part of their great team."
Kate Healy's photograph of a one-off match between Johnny Mullagh XI and American team Compton Homies and Popz at Harrow was acknowledged as the most outstanding single photograph or series of photographs relating to cricket in Victoria.
The photo showed Compton's Ted Hayes and Johnny Mullagh XI's Wayne Bell enjoying a laugh as they walked off the ground after Hayes dismissed Bell.
Healy attended the awards at Crown Casino's River Room on Monday.
She said she knew the photo was special when she took it.
"Mail-Times photographer Paul Carracher came up to me at work and asked if I had a front page photo of the Harrow cricket and I said 'I know the exact one'," she said.
In her acceptance speech Healy thanked the Mail-Times and Cricket Victoria.
Sports journalist Justine McCullagh-Beasy was highly commended for her 'A Matter of Sport' piece about cricket veteran Wavell McPherson, who filled a void for Brim-Kellalac Sheep Hills' A grade side days before his 69th birthday.
McCullagh-Beasy said it was an honour to be recognised by such a large sporting body like Cricket Victoria.
"I would like to congratulate Kate and Leigh on their achievements. It is a credit to the Mail-Times to have two winners," she said.
Former Mail-Times staff members Patrick O'Meara and Megan Hustwaite were also acknowledged for their work.
O'Meara received a commendation for his coverage of Vic Spirit, and Hustwaite was an award winner for her coverage of the Victoria Bushrangers.