Sunday, May 28, 2023

NZC: Community Award Winners Recognised at ANZ NZC Awards

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Gillette Venus Young Player of the Year – Beth O’Connor:

Beth O’Connor led the way for Otago Girls’ High School at the Gillette Venus Cup – finishing as second equal top wicket-taker with 7 wickets and scoring an important 71 runs (at an average of 35.50).

O’Connor was a major factor in OGHS securing two wins and finishing third in the competition, their best placing in the Tournament since 2004. O’Connor has represented both Dunedin and Otago at age-group level where she has been a consistent performer as well as a leader with her playing style.

Gillette Venus Young Player of the Year – Kate Chandler:

Kate Chandler burst onto the domestic cricket scene in 2020 as a 14-year-old, taking a five-wicket haul in her first season for the Wellington Blaze, and scoring her first half century against Auckland earlier this year as a regular member of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield squad.

The leg-spinner has represented New Zealand at the recent ICC U19 Women’s World Cup, been a top performer for Wellington at the National U19 Tournament and for Wellington Girls’ College at the Gillette Venus Cup.

Leading the WGC 1st XI as captain, Chandler proved her batting prowess, scoring 167 runs (at an average of 41.75) including two half centuries, eventually finishing as top run-scorer for the tournament. She also grabbed 3 wickets to boot.

Gillette Cup Young Player of the Year – Tim Seeto:

During the 2022 Gillette Cup, Tim Seeto amassed a remarkable 311 runs (at an average of 155.50) in just four innings, including two centuries and a high score of 160 (second-equal highest score at Gillette Cup).

Seeto combined with Christ’s College captain, Nick Gibb, for a record 276 runs for the second wicket against Mount Albert Grammar School. Seeto also made his mark in the field, claiming three catches and two run-outs.

Seeto was rewarded with selection in Canterbury’s U19 Men’s side who competed in Lincoln in January 2023.

Club of the Year – North Waikato Cricket Club

Established in 2021 to address the lack of cricket opportunities in the Huntly and Ngaruawahia areas, the North Waikato Cricket Club has gone from strength to strength.

The club has quickly grown, with four junior hardball teams, eight junior softball teams, and work is underway to establish a girls-only team. The club also supports the delivery of the Huntly SuperSmash Hub. The club has a strong emphasis on planning and sustainability, has strong connections with local schools, and willingly supports both Northern Districts and the schools in sharing cricket opportunities.

This season, the club started their own local softball competition, allowing tamariki from schools in this often forgotten area the opportunity to play, without having to travel to Hamilton every week. The North Waikato Cricket Club has a strong focus on ensuring all participants in their community have playing opportunities, removing as many barriers as possible to allow this to happen.

Volunteer of the Year – Gareth Green:

A jack-of-all-trades, Gareth has stepped up and been a driving force behind Naenae Old Boys Cricket Club.

From being point of call for the club’s teams, to ensuring profitability of the club, securing grant funding, managing the club rooms, and providing support to the local college teams, it is Gareth’s focus on whānau that stands out.

His aim is to ensure the clubrooms are a whānau-friendly, inviting environment where people like to come. After events, such as the Naenae Festival of Cricket, Gareth ensures that the clubroom doors are open to all, the TV is on, and there is a free meal available. He has been a support to Cricket Wellington too.

Gareth understands that building relationships with the local college, intermediate and primary schools is a key priority – Naenae College has managed to form a cricket team for the first time in eight years and Gareth offered the club’s support with uniforms, gear, and training facilities.

Gareth’s contribution to his club and the wider Naenae community has not gone unnoticed.

Official of the Year – Greg Pennell:

Umpiring for eight seasons, Greg’s dedication to the game and to supporting other umpires along the way is inspiring.

Greg has been on the NDCA Regional Panel for the past six seasons and was rated the NDCA No. 1 umpire for the past four seasons.

He is regularly available and happily takes emerging local umpires under his wing, travelling ND wide to stand with these umpires in development games.

Greg brought Hamilton’s umpire network together – leading umpire appointments, recruitment and retention, all while continuing to train umpires.

Greg plays a significant role in mentoring umpires across ND and is a respected role model.

Community Cricket Activator of the Year – Keegan Russell:

Keegan’s work ethic, enthusiasm, and ability to work across all areas of the community game to both grow and develop it, makes him a great asset for the Community Team at Otago Cricket.

Keegan is an unstoppable force, keen to try every opportunity to enhance the game in Southland.

The Female Social League he started was a hit, having grown to include 10 teams.

Keegan’s initiative and out-of-the-box thinking led to the development of the NZC Community Activator Buddy Programme, and he leaps at opportunities to pilot new programmes.

Keegan has a natural rapport with young people, and they respond well to his engagement, regarding him as a positive role model.

Keegan is dedicated to ensuring the community of Southland has many opportunities to participate in cricket.

Best Female Engagement Initiative – MCA Girls Club:

Until 2015, girls in the Manawatu region had play with and compete against boys if they wanted to play cricket.

Thus, the MCA Girls Cricket Club was launched – a Junior Cricket Club solely for girls, managed by girls and providing specialist coaching for girls.

In 2023, MCA Girls Club has 44 members and fields five teams in the Dual pitch, incrediball and hardball competitions.

The club has also supported the growth of cricket at Palmerston North Girls’ High School which can now field first, second and third elevens, alongside a number of social teams.

The MCA Girls Club has contributed significantly to the growth of women’s cricket in Manawatu.

There is now a clear pathway for girls wanting to play cricket in a supportive, caring and fun environment.

There is also a pathway for MCA Girls to move into coaching, mentoring and managing roles encouraging them to become leaders and role models through cricket.

Outstanding Contribution and Services to Coaching – Justine Dunce:

Former New Zealand International player Justine Dunce has dedicated much of her adult life to coaching, and player and coach development.

As Cricket Development Officer for Upper Hutt United Cricket Club, she supports 50 coaches across junior and senior teams and is one of a few coaches of both a Premier Women’s and Premier Men’s team.

Justine also coaches the Premier Girls team, the Heretaunga College 1st XI Girls, the Wellington U13, U15, U19, Prov A, Boys Year 8, and in 2022 set up and ran the pre-season programme for the newly-formed Wainuiomata Women’s club team.

She launched a Winter and Skills Academy to provide players of various ages and stages an opportunity to further develop their cricket skills.

With the help of her team, Justine has engaged with 6000+ students in Upper Hutt, which has seen a resurgence of cricket at Upper Hutt College and Heretaunga College.

If that wasn’t enough, Justine is also a Cricket Wellington Female Pathway Coach, and a Coach Developer for the NZC Women in Coaching Initiative.

Justine’s commitment speaks for itself – she is an asset to coaching in the Wellington region.

Outstanding Contribution to Cricket – Harry Chhagan:

Harry has been a player and volunteer at the Pukekohe-Metro Cricket Club for the past 30 years. Now President, he continues to be forward-thinking, and always open to new ideas.

Harry has spent many hours getting people in his community playing the game, through Friday and Saturday club cricket, a Year 1-2 cricket hub, bringing girls into the club through open days and girls-only teams, and supporting the Business House Social League.

He was the main driver in organising and hosting the New Zealand Indian Sports Club National Tournament.

Harry does a huge amount of administration for his club, as well as being constantly at Bledisloe Park assisting in the practical preparations of cricket each week, and taking on the role of the Pukekohe-Metro Premier Teams Manager.

Harry is always the first person there and last to leave. He is dedicated to doing good for those around him, and goes out of his way to support cricket and the community in any way he can.

Best Diversity and Inclusion Initiative – Canterbury Ethnic Hubs:

Canterbury Cricket’s Ethnic Hubs were methodically developed in partnership with the communities that would be participating.

There was no script on how or what Canterbury Cricket would deliver, they simply set out to ask what support from CCA the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities would like.

Throughout the process CCA was guided by the community leaders, letting go of what is traditionally offered, to ensure it was suited to the needs and wants of the communities.

CCA delivered a bespoke day for each of the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities and changed their delivery approaches to respect the cultural norms of each of the communities.

These considerations included a majority of female staff (as the majority of the caregivers attending with their children would be female), an indoor venue so they could participate comfortably out of public view, offering Biryani from a Halal caterer instead of sausages and bread, and culturally-respectful clothing worn by activators and staff.

The Pakistan session saw 40 children plus their families attend, and 20 children and their families from the Bangladesh communities.

The same approach is being taken for the Sri Lankan community.

This initiative and the approach taken is a vital first step to breaking barriers for continued engagement with these communities.

Community Cricket Collaboration of the Year – Canterbury & Otago:

Over the past 18 months OCA and CCA have been working towards greater partnership and collaboration across the South Island.

This collaboration has seen improved alignment of thinking, planning, and execution of programmes across the South Island, with reduced duplication in administrative and leadership tasks.

They have successfully implemented; a Young Female Leaders course supported by two dedicated facilitators, Festival Cricket which sees localised competitions with formats that allow every participant to bat, bowl and field equally, and a shared drive in Teams ensuring everyone has access to learning and information.

This has encouraged inter-district discussions on local learnings and sharing of staff and cross-boundary work.

Having two GMs dedicate time and resource to supporting each other, and drawing on their staff’s strengths, is enhancing how both Otago and Canterbury lead the Community game.

The collaboration has helped ensure more people across the South Island can enjoy and participate in the game.

Sir Jack Newman Award – Maurice Shaw:

Maurice Shaw, fondly known back home as ‘Mo’, has been involved in the Waitara Cricket Club for nearly 40 years.

A humble man, who “does not do it for the awards”, Mo has given his time, money, and heart to his community.

At 68 years old, and still working full-time running his business, Mo coaches, umpires, and keeps the club’s grounds in pristine condition.

Mo has no children or grandchildren playing in the club – he gives his time simply because he loves what he does. Some argue that the Waitara Cricket Club would not exist if it was not for Mo’s dedication.

Over his 30-year coaching tenure, Mo has coached many children through the club, a number of whom have gone on to represent Taranaki through the age groups and have become districts players too.

Through his coaching, Mo instills a sense of pride in the kids, for themselves, for each other and for their club, and encourages them to be active members of their team.

He upholds sportsmanship and encourages all children to believe in themselves.

Mo ensures each game is a learning experience and not ‘win at all costs’. When kids want extra coaching, Mo is there for them without a second thought.

Mo goes above and beyond helping many children at his own expense to ensure they have the gear they need, and has funded equipment and sports trips many times over the years.

Mo has also provided support to Taranaki Cricket Association over the years.

He was team manager for age group teams in 2002-2006 and organised and managed the 2013 & 2014 U14 North Island CD tournaments, alongside preparing the Waitara Club grounds for play.

He was instrumental in setting up the ‘Waitara Hooked on Cricket’ days with the NZCPA and the skills centres that followed.

This programme offered cricket opportunities to children who would not ordinarily have the financial means to play.

The children had weekly sessions and were gifted gear to play with and take home.

The past year has been particularly hard on Mo, and the Waitara community, as he lost his darling wife suddenly in September.

Mrs Shaw, as she was best known, was an integral part of the Waitara community as teacher, but also a supporter of the club’s teams, showing up to watch the kids play every week and caring for their siblings on the sideline.

Everyone is hurting that Mrs Shaw is no longer there cheering them on, but despite this heartache, Mo continues to show up for the children every week.

At club prize giving, Mo presented the children with a team shirt in memory of Mrs Shaw to remind them she is still cheering them on.

Mo has done all of the above out of his love and passion for cricket and his commitment to the members of the Waitara Cricket Club.

Mo is an outstanding asset to community cricket and NZC would like to acknowledge Mo’s dedication through presenting him the Sir Jack Newman Award.


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