Monday, April 22, 2024

Celebrating NZC’s Longest Serving Scorer

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Photo Credit: New Zealand Cricket

Otago scorer Helen Simpson will be the first to receive one of New Zealand Cricket’s newly minted badges to mark her tenure.

In a bid to celebrate the unsung heroes of cricket, NZC have introduced a recognition system for scorers to receive a lapel badge when they reach between five to 50+ years of scoring.

Simpson, currently completing her 54th year of scoring cricket and NZC’s longest-serving scorer, will be presented with her badge by fellow Dunedin local Suzie Bates in a ceremony at Sir John Davies Oval following the second warm-up match between the WHITE FERNS and England A today.

Simpson’s career began at Dunedin’s Albion Cricket Club in 1970 where she has since scored a host of Culling Park legends including Glenn Turner, Barry Milburn, Mark Richardson, Brendon and John Bracewell, Ken and Hamish Rutherford, Martin Snedden and Stu McCullum.

She has gone on to score at the highest level, and over the years scored three generations of McCullums; Stu, Brendon, Nathan, and most recently Riley McCullum at the National U19 Tournament in January 2023.

NZC Head of Cricket Operations Richard Brewer introduced the badges to acknowledge the valued service of scorers.

“The game would not be possible without scorers and although they don’t seek the limelight we want to shine a light on these valued members of the game,” said Brewer.

“Given that scorers don’t have similar milestones to players and umpires, we are recognising years of service to NZC rather than number of games.”

Simpson said she feels fortunate to have scored for so long, and to have worked with so many great people.

“It’s a privilege and a pleasure to have been scoring for so long,” said Simpson.

“I got into scoring when I left school as I loved cricket – but my enthusiasm for the game did not match my playing ability.

“I keep turning up because the team and associated people, have become my cricket family, and their support has been invaluable throughout the good and bad times in life.

Simpson said witnessing players achieving goals is one of her favourite parts of scoring.

“Watching a bowler take their first five-wicket bag or a batter score a maiden 50 or 100 is a real highlight.

“I was lucky enough to score the First-Class game in Queenstown when Neil Wagner took five wickets in an over.”

“It was 2011 and we were scoring on paper so it was a busy time!”

Simpson continues to score at all levels though remains devoted to club cricket.

“I must be going okay as I’m about to finish season 54 at Albion,” she said.

“I enjoy going along each week to spend the day with a group of nice young men, and the very occasional grumpy one.

“There are a lot of players who toil away week-in and week-out at club level and are the backbone of the game.

“Cricket is a great game and I hope people see there’s a pathway to contribute at the highest level, even if you’re not the best player.”

Simpson was made an Honorary Member of Otago Cricket at their 2022 AGM.

Otago Cricket life member Malcolm Jones praised Simpson’s well-rounded character and dedication.

“Helen is the epitome of a cricket scorer,” said Jones – who’s own scoring career has run parallel to Simpson’s.

“She is punctual, reliable, pleasant, friendly, helpful, unflappable, loyal, honest and accurate.

“The only time she misses a club game is when she’s appointed to NZC fixtures.

“Her service to the Albion Club, Dunedin Cricket, Otago Cricket and NZC has been simply nothing short of outstanding.”

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