Ray Webster was named the 1997 Statistician of the Year after the publication of the second volume of his First-Class Cricket in Australia.
ACS President Eric Midwinter said:
‘After several years in which the award has rightly and appropriately been made to practitioners resident in the United Kingdom, the President and Committee of the ACS seize the opportunity of the Association’s silver jubilee to recognise the immense value and endeavour of our important overseas colleagues. For his general devotion to the collation of Australian cricket statistics, and in particular for the welcome publication of his two volumes, conscientiously assembled and invariably useful, of First-Class Cricket in Australia , the President and Committee are happy to name Ray Webster ACS Statistician of the Year.’
Ray Webster wrote:
‘The receipt of your letter advising of my selection as the Statistician of the Year has stimulated a number of emotions, not the least of which was surprise.
‘When I embarked on the collection of scores some 30-odd years ago, there was no thought of ever doing so for purposes of publication. No doubt, like many other cricket enthusiasts, it was done for self-interest in past matches and the performances of individuals who appeared only as names in record and history works. As time passed, I realised that no complete record of the first-class game in Australia existed, particularly in respect of the details, such as falls of wickets and other sundry data, that we now take for granted. Thus an ambition was born, although still with no thought of publishing the results of the research. It was only a chance meeting with Allan Miller, whose Annual has become the most comprehensive record of Australian first-class cricket, which persuaded me to seriously consider publication. The rest is now history.
‘But to return to my emotions on receipt of your letter, I consider the award a great honour. The completion of any project is always self-satisfying, but to have your work recognised by your peers is the ultimate honour, and I feel very humble in such company.
‘I very much regret that I will be unable to attend the Annual Meeting on 28 March next but ask you to express my heartfelt thanks for the award and convey my best wishes to all fellow-ACS members. I will be there in spirit.’