The Wellington cricket community’s most dedicated volunteers have been recognised for their commitment to the game in Cricket Wellington’s first ever ‘Volunteer XI’.
The initiative, led by the Cricket Wellington community team, aims to highlight the importance of volunteers to the cricket community by selecting a team of volunteers who have been nominated by clubs and schools from around the Capital.
Opening the batting are Eastern Suburbs’ Paul Bracewell and Taita District’s Shaun Gillespie.
Bracewell has worked long and hard ensuring junior players enjoy a fantastic cricket experience, including coaching, fixing bats and arranging trainings for kids without fuss. He has also supported Cricket Wellington in developing the highly successful Emerging Players Programme for year eight students, which Cricket Wellington has since expanded to include over 70 participants.
Vice-president of Taita District, Gillespie has been the cricket manager of the club since 2011 and has helped manage all aspects of cricket from social through to premier grades. Gillespie is also the premier team’s reserve captain, a role he has held since 2012, and was recently presented with a special cap to recognise reaching 250 games for the club.
Hutt Valley High School’s Angus Devine, Eastern Suburbs’ Terry Hills and Wellington Collegians’ James Lawler make up a solid Volunteer XI middle order.
Devine has coached at Hutt Valley High School for the last eleven years and took over the head coach role of the 1st XI in 2011. Devine’s position is unpaid, but he volunteers his time for the betterment of the players. He juggles coaching while teaching full-time and is also a year level dean to 350 students. Devine took the HVHS 1st XI to the Gillette Cup finals in 2012. This achievement was extra special as HVHS were just the fourth co-ed school to make the finals in the competition’s 22-year history.
Hills has been volunteering at Eastern Suburbs for 12 years and has done everything from managing the club’s database, registrations, and marketing to the technical focus of the junior club which has allowed the coaches to focus solely on coaching the players. He was also a team coach and manager for six seasons before focusing on his administartion roles.
Lawler is a tireless advocate your youth sport at Wellington Collegians. His commitment to the club has been recognised with the Year 7 prize in his name which is awarded to a player who epitomises cricket’s values the best. He has also supported the club’s premier team as their scorer for several years.
Naenae Old Boys’ Marty Vekony and Stokes Valley’s Mandi Lanceley take-on the allrounders spots.
Vekony was instrumental in the planning and delivery of the Naenae Festival of Cricket, which provided junior members of the community an opportunity to form a relationship with cricket and their local club. Marty could be found at Naenae Park every Friday night rain or shine, championing the community to get involved.
Lanceley has been on the Stokes Valley committee as junior convenor for the past four seasons. Accompanied by her fellow supporters and committee members, she has been vital for the club’s growth in female participation with junior girls numbers now in excess of 10 to 15 girls playing across the grades offered within the club. Lanceley has also taken it upon herself to mentor her successor who will take on the role of junior coordinator as she transitions in to the youth space.
The bowling quartet is made up of Taita District’s Ann Batson, Petone-Riverside’s Mark James, North City’s Michelle Maisura and HIBS’ Grant Wall, while VUWCC’s Barrett Mexted rounds out the squad.
Batson has scored for over a decade at Taita and has scored over 1500 cricket matches in her career. Not only does she score for the premier side, but she also provides sweet and savoury baking every week and brings English teas from her home county of Essex to Wellington.
James has been a vital part of the Petone Riverside Cricket Club for the past 10 years; coaching since 2011 and as junior convenor since 2012. Mark’s valuable coaching and administration efforts have seen playing numbers in the Petone area increase from eight teams in 2011/12 to 18 teams in 2020/21. Mark’s greatest contributions within the club have been in the female space. Under his guidance female playing numbers in the junior/youth and premier women programmes have increased from one player in 2011/12 to 40 players in 2020/21.
Maisuria stepped up as junior convenor to fill a significant gap in North City’s junior committee. She picked up the ropes very quickly and calmly and competently works through the necessary tasks of junior convenor while maintaining a positive outlook. She is very well connected within the local Tawa community and is able to quickly build trust and relationships with players, parents and community groups. With the club’s chair she jointly ran a very successful Christmas family event and has facilitated many fundraising barbecues in the club’s drive to upgrade their net facilities.
Wall takes on the role of team manager for Hutt International Boys’ School. He sets up the tents and pickets, ensures the covers are off and the gear bag is ready to go. He transports tents, chairs and sunshades to other venues to ensure the team is comfortable and, at his own expense, provides ice, water, energy drinks, Up and Go and snacks for the 1st XI team at games and at trainings.
Mexted manages the premier VUWCC squad which involves organising players in the top two sides, organising lunch for the premier side each Saturday and covering the scorer’s role when the scorer is away for premier matches. Mexted has also taken over the role of clubrooms manager where he makes sure the clubrooms are tidy and the bar is always fully stocked. He is always the last to leave on a Saturday night to ensure that the clubrooms are tidy.
Cricket Wellington general manager Liz Green said the Volunteer XI initiative was a fun and engaging way to celebrate the Capital’s most dedicated cricket volunteers.
“Cricket doesn’t happen without the tireless work from our many volunteers,” she said.
“We’re delighted to be able to recognise some of our most valued volunteers, who’s work behind the scenes often goes unnoticed – but not by us.
“Congratulations to all of the volunteers selected in our Volunteers XI!”
All twelve members of the Volunteer XI were awarded with tickets to the recent BLACKCAPS v Bangladesh ODI at the Basin Reserve and were treated to morning tea and beverages by Cricket Wellington. They will also get to attend Cricket Wellington’s Celebration of Cricket awards ceremony next weekend.
The wider cricketing community will be invited to vote on who is named the captain of the Volunteer XI through the Cricket Wellington Facebook page tomorrow.
*Note: batting order selected at random
Cricket Wellington Volunteer XIAnn Batson (Taita District)Paul Bracewell (Eastern Suburbs)Angus Devine (Hutt Valley High School)Shaun Gillespie (Taita District)Terry Hills (Eastern Suburbs)Mark James (Petone-Riverside)Mandi Lancley (Stokes Valley)James Lawler (Wellington Collegians)Michelle Maisuria (North City)Barrett Mexted (VUWCC)Marty Vekony (Naenae Old Boys)Grant Wall (Hutt International Boys’ School)
Article added: Tuesday 06 April 2021