The Wellington cricket community’s top volunteers have been recognised in this year’s Kāpura ‘Volunteer XI’, giving Cricket Wellington a chance to give credit to some of our community heroes.
In the third year of this initiative, introduced in the 2020/21 season by the Cricket Wellington community team, we are celebrating the volunteers nominated by our community who keep the game of cricket running smoothly across the region.
The opening partnership for the Volunteer XI is Jonno Plant from North City alongside Collegians’ Rebecca “Becs” Newell.
Jonno joined the North City Cricket Committee as an advocate for Women's Cricket and led the way for North City getting back into having a Women's team within the club competition.
This has gone from one women's team to now having a Division 2 team as well. Jonno coaches the Division 2 team plus the Hardball Girls teams and spends numerous hours down at the nets. He continues to collaborate with Cricket Wellington to share ideas and feedback around Women's Cricket.
Becs has championed the Girls program at Wellington Collegians over the past three seasons. This has led to a pathway being established for girls from mixed junior to girls’ softball, to Years 7-11 hardball and into the Women’s game. Becs is positive, tireless, unrelenting, and has worked successfully with other clubs and parents to provide additional cricket opportunities to girls.
The heart of the Volunteer XI order is made up by club stalwarts Dan Henderson and Cara Jacoby, whose reputations for cricket at their clubs precedes them.
Dan Henderson does not stop thinking cricket for Upper Hutt. He could be at work during the week, and he’d be thinking about what’s happening on the committee, how the junior club is going and how he can help to manage the prem side as well as captain and look after the reserves. He is the definition of a club man.
Hendo lives and breathes cricket. He chairs the Upper Hutt Senior committee, has a young family, still plays every weekend and has a full-time job.
Cara is a relatively recent addition to the Karori Junior Cricket Club, first getting involved in 2021 when KJCC introduced a Girls Convenor role to their committee. By the end of the season, due to her hard work and passion, the role was extended and is now called Girls’ Development Officer.
She has worked with other clubs to ensure Karori girls always have a team they can play for and has worked to form amalgamated teams where necessary. Cara organised a girls’ team to go to the Hawkes Bay Cricket Camp in January which consisted of girls from several different Wellington clubs. She is an active member of the Cricket Wellington Women and Girls Working Group and is respected and valued for her considered and measured input to all discussions.
The Volunteer XI has a host of all-rounders who provide value with bat and ball, featuring Jo Holdaway from Onslow College Cricket/Johnsonville Cricket Club, Gary Fowler of VUWCC, Craig Ballantyne from Brooklyn Junior Cricket Club, and Tristan Will from Porirua City Juniors.
Jo is the heart and soul of the Onslow College Girls 1st XI. She organises the team, transport, cakes, and does the scoring. She been on the Onslow College Cricket Committee for about 7 years and never hesitates to do the uniforms and fundraising. She also does the scoring for the Johnsonville Senior Women - even if her daughter isn't playing!
Gary “Gaz” Fowler did what every side-line commentator wishes they had the courage to do when in 2018 he leapt from outside the white line and took on the role of the coach for the VUWCC Senior Mens’ Teams. “Gaz” as he’s known amongst the players, has been a fixture at the clubrooms, trainings, game-day, and social events ever since and provided incalculable hours of coaching, guidance, and support.
He’s contributed a stubborn, immovable work-ethic to players – suitably dubbed ‘GazBall’. Above all, his unflappable passion and energy for the game, our club, and its players has been invaluable as we traverse the modern club landscape.
Craig has led Brooklyn Juniors for a number of successful seasons. Brooklyn are a club that people enjoy playing for due to their appreciation of the benefits of the game and the important things in life.
This is epitomised by Craig and led to him spearheading an effort to have Black Caps meet and train with softball players prior to the England Test at the Basin Reserve.
Tristian Will has a real passion for cricket and his passion for introducing girls to the game in Wellington is without rival. Tristan coaches and umpires a junior girls team for the Porirua City Junior Cricket Club – many of whom are in their very first season.
It’s been heart-warming to watch these girls blossom under Tristan’s encouragement and guidance. Their growing love for the game and team comradery is evident and Tristan has gradually continued their technical skills as the season has progressed. All at an achievable rate which has built their confidence.
Tristan, alongside a Cricket Wellington rep, was instrumental in organising a festival of cricket day for girls in Porirua at the end of October last year. He worked with the local Porirua schools – a mix of private and public (both low and high decile) and coordinated the promotion and running of the day. It was a masterstroke to hold the festival on a school day with transport from schools coordinated – this removed the barriers of working parents who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to support their daughters to attend.
The specialist bowlers of the Volunteer XI are well-regarded around the region as hard workers that are always in the game, no matter how old the ball. Jeremy Rijk from the Upper Hutt Juniors, Karl Dulver from Petone Junior Cricket Club, and Tim Hyndman from Onslow make up the unrivalled bowling attack.
Jeremy Rijk has been a volunteer coach at Junior Cricket Upper Hutt for 20 years. During his tenure he has coached at every age-level in junior cricket, mentoring not just his three sons but endless other children. After his sons finished playing junior cricket, Jeremy continued coaching and has been leading the Superstar Cricket programme for entry-level participants for the last seven years. The 2022/23 season is Jeremy’s final season of a stellar coaching resume. Thanks for all your hard work, Jeremy!
Karl has put in loads of hours this season out of his passion to see juniors involved in and loving cricket. Fundraising for Junior cricket at Petone Cricket Club Karl was the main driver behind organising 2 full-day Bunnings BBQ fundraisers, sourcing items for raffle prizes, and a lot of prizes for Junior club movie night, raising $4000 for the Junior Committee!
Tim Hyndman is the heartbeat of Onslow Cricket Club, and no job is too small or unimportant to him, whether it be running quiz nights for 100 people, or wiping the tables at the end of a Saturday night, Tim’s attention to detail and love for the club is incredible.
He puts in a lot of hours every week to keep the club ticking over. Tim takes it upon himself to ensure the bar is fully stocked and ready for after play Saturday. He has also used his expertise from his day job to improve the sound system and Wi-Fi within the clubrooms, as well the scoring setup in the viewing room.
Tim, a skilful bowler, also puts his hand up to play wherever there are gaps. From Reserves, down to the t20 grades, Tim has filled in for them all, when he isn’t playing for his beloved Raging Stags.
Cricket Wellington Head of Community Cricket, Matt Wills said the Volunteer XI initiative was another chance to recognise the heroes of community cricket who often work without recognition.
“Every member of the Volunteer XI is recognised across Wellington for their contributions to the game and as a community we are very fortunate to have such skilled and passionate volunteers.
We hope this small piece of recognition shows how much the cricketing community values their contributions to the great game. Without volunteers' community cricket would not exist and we are eternally grateful.”
(Batting Order Selected at Random)
The 2022/23 Kāpura Volunteer XI is:
Jonno Plant (North City)
Rebecca Newell (Wellington Collegians)
Dan Henderson (Upper Hutt United)
Cara Jacoby (Karori Juniors)
Jo Holdaway (Onslow College/Johnsonville)
Gary Fowler (VUWCC)
Craig Ballantyne (Brooklyn Juniors)
Tristian Will (Porirua City Juniors)
Jeremy Rijk (Junior Cricket Upper Hutt)
Karl Dulver (Petone Riverside Juniors)
Tim Hyndman (Onslow)
Article added: Wednesday 29 March 2023