Wellingtonian collects NZC’s premier community cricket award
By NZC Wednesday 13 March 2024, 10:00 pm

Petone-Riverside CC stalwart, Mark James, has collected the premier community cricket award at the 2023-24 ANZ New Zealand Cricket Awards.

A vital contributor for the past 13+ years, James’ voluntary work has been vital to the growth of a female pathway at the club.

James’ recognition highlights an outstanding group of award winners, selected for their contributions to the community game.

Find out all you need to know about the 2023-24 community cricket award winners below.



Gillette Venus Young Player of the Year  

Emma McLeod, St Matthew’s Collegiate School 

Emma McLeod’s Venus Cup campaign was one for the history books, earning her joint-MVP honours with Rishika Jaswal. Until the 2023 tournament, no one player had recorded a century at the tournament. Remarkably, Emma scored two – one of them a blistering 133 runs off just 65 balls against Christchurch Girls, featuring 24 boundaries. In just four innings, Emma totalled 276 runs at an average of 92, with a strike rate above 150. Proving her all-round prowess, Emma also picked up 5 wickets with her leg-spin.  

McLeod’s efforts saw St Matthew’s Collegiate emerge as Venus Cup champions - a meteoric rise for the small Masterton school. The championship rounded off a memorable year for the rising star, in which she represented New Zealand U19 Women, and debuted for the Central Hinds. 


Gillette Venus Young Player of the Year  

Rishika Jaswal, Takapuna Grammar School 

Takapuna Grammar’s Rishika Jaswal put together a strong 2023 Venus Cup campaign with both bat & ball to earn joint-MVP honours with Emma McLeod. The young leg-spinner finished as the equal highest wicket-taker with nine wickets at an incredible average of 8. Jaswal also tallied 120 runs at an average of 40, finishing as fourth highest run-scorer for the tournament. 

Jaswal made her debut for the Auckland Hearts earlier in the season, taking two key wickets against Northern Districts at just 17 years old. Since then, Jaswal has recorded 6 appearances for the Hearts – accumulating 8 wickets and proving herself as strong young talent on the rise. 


Gillette Young Player of the Year  

Jordan Van Zyl, Westlake Boys High School 

Jordan Van Zyl led an impressive campaign for Westlake Boys at the 2023 Gillette Cup. Van Zyl was Mr. Consistent for the Aucklanders - scoring three half-centuries, averaging 49 runs, and finishing as the tournament’s leading run-scorer with 247 runs. Van Zyl flaunted his ball-striking ability by clobbering 35 boundaries, including a tournament-leading 12 sixes.  

After going unbeaten through four matches, Westlake pulled up short in a nail-biting final match against Christchurch Boys’ HS. Van Zyl gave his side every chance, scoring an important half-century in that match. 


Club of the Year  

Old Boys Collegians Cricket Club 

Old Boys Collegians Cricket Club were formed in 2004/05 after the amalgamation of two prominent Christchurch clubs – High School Old Boys and Old Collegians. Throughout the years, OBCCC have proven themselves as a progressive, forward-thinking cricket club, who are passionate about club cricket.  

In 2018, the club developed a strategic plan focused on Cricket; Culture; Community and Club facilities. OBCCC worked hard to secure funding and design a “home” the club could be proud of. In 2021 they opened a state-of-the-art net training facility that is freely enjoyed by all community members and a year later OBCCC opened The Jim Wakefield Pavilion. The new pavilion provides club members place to finally call “home”, after nearly a decade without one due to the Canterbury earthquakes. 

OBCCC are one now of the largest cricket clubs in the South Island, with approximately 650 playing members playing in almost 60 different OBCCC teams - with 44 x Junior teams, 3 x Senior Women’s teams and 9 x Senior Men’s teams. With the future in mind, OBCCC has built a connection with St Margaret’s College to grow the game by recruiting & retaining more girls into cricket, especially as they progress from school to club cricket. 

Careful and deliberate strategic planning has allowed the club to enjoy success both on and off the field, including seven senior titles during the 2022/23 season. OBCCC boast a strong club culture with a focus on fostering strong relationships between their senior and junior clubs, ensuring their women’s premier players are recognised and celebrated, building strong links to local secondary schools, and providing a hub for community connection. 


Volunteer of the Year  

Kath Clark, Methven Cricket Club 

Kath Clark’s commitment to cricket in Mid-Canterbury is nothing short of admirable.  

Kath is the Junior Club Captain at Methven Cricket Club but has taken on responsibility for most of the organisation of the club including the selection of teams, organisation of uniforms and gear bags, fundraising events, funding applications, running the club’s social media account, and hosting prizegiving's. 

Clark also gives much of her time to developing players – coaching teams mid-week, taking one-on-one sessions for all club members, and preparing teams for festivals. Kath also travels to Christchurch to coach the Premier Women’s Team at the Old Boys Collegians Cricket Club, which she used to represent as a player.  

If that wasn’t enough, Clark also volunteers her time at Mount Hutt College, where she formed and coaches the 1st XI girls’ team. Kath’s efforts at the school have seen 27 girls engaged in cricket. She also supports the organisation of the boys’ 1st and 2nd XIs. 

Kath is an outstanding volunteer and her contributions to the game are invaluable.   


Community Cricket Official of the Year  

Glenn Schache, NDCA  

Counties Manukau Umpire, Glenn Schache, is a reliable and valued contributor to umpiring in the Northern Districts region.  

After many years of service, Glenn is still an active Premier Club Umpire, standing every Saturday in Counties Manukau competitions. Glenn’s consistent and enthusiastic nature is something that players really enjoy – he is a guy who looks to give cricketers the best possible experience from their umpire.  

Glenn is actively involved in the recruitment, training, appointment, and management of the Counties Manukau umpires. Under his leadership, numbers are increasing, and many umpires have progressed to regional panels. Glenn runs a very active social media platform for Counties Manukau umpires as well as weekly training and reflection sessions for Counties Manukau, Hamilton, and Waikato Valley umpires. 

He is the perfect role model for new and upcoming umpires, and a knowledgeable trainer for Northern Districts.  


Community Cricket Activator of the Year  

Matt Manning, Auckland Cricket Association 

Combining his passion and enthusiasm for cricket with sound knowledge of sport delivery, Matt Manning is the perfect individual to excite young Aucklander’s about cricket. Matt has worked as an Auckland Cricket activator for a number of years, and more recently has taken the role of School Engagement Manager.  

Described by his workmates as hardworking, reliable and a team player, Matt puts others first and is always willing to pitch in and help with a can-do attitude. He always ensures those around him have a smile on their face and are having fun. 

Matt is known for being adaptive and thinking outside the box with his delivery so that all students have a great cricketing experience. This has seen students who typically sit out of activities more involved and enjoying the action. Teachers often send feedback thanking Matt for this. 

Outside of his role with ACA, Matt is heavily involved in his cricket club, North Shore, and supports Takapuna Cricket Club’s Friday night junior activities. 

Matt is an asset to cricket delivery and has had an outstanding impact in Auckland. 


Best Female Engagement Initiative  

St Margaret’s College - Christchurch 

When cricket was first re-introduced to St Margaret’s College by Amanda Hardy, the school could barely field a 9-aside soft-ball team. Fast-forward to today and cricket is thriving at the school, with over 100 students proudly leading and participating across all levels of the sport. 

St Margaret’s boast three senior teams (1st, 2nd & 3rd XI), an Intermediate Y7/8 team, and a dedicated Y5/6 team. Additionally, they have a strong group of younger girls (Y0-4) who eagerly participate in weekly Smash Play sessions. These sessions also provide a valuable first step into coaching for enthusiastic senior students who volunteer their time and effort to inspire and deliver quality experiences for their younger cohort.   

The positive influence of senior girls as role models greatly contributes to the success of cricket at the school. Leadership development is emphasized with students empowered to facilitate weekly sessions for their peers to learn more about the game, take team warm-ups, organize equipment bags, and officiate in games.  

A strong partnership with Old Boys Collegians Cricket Club has been instrumental in player and coach development. The club has provided numerous support mechanisms including coach development workshops for senior students looking to grow their coaching knowledge and acquire NZC coaching qualifications.  

Providing flexibility and a range of opportunities for involvement has been integral to the growth of cricket at St Margaret’s. Embodying key Balance is Better principles, staff encourage students to develop skills in a variety of sports and ensure the scheduling of playing opportunities fit around other commitments.  

Cricket at St Margaret’s is truly a collaborative effort. It offers girls numerous opportunities to discover pathways in playing, officiating, or administrative roles as well as engaging in teamwork with their peers and forming lasting friendships.  


Outstanding Contribution and Services to Coaching  

Rob Frew, Canterbury Country Cricket Association 

Cricket in Canterbury Country wouldn’t be the same as it is today without the endless hours of coaching Rob Frew has given across all levels of cricket.  

Rob began his coaching career in 2002, coaching the Canterbury Country Hawke Cup team for an eleven-year span with Canterbury Country victorious twice during that time.  

Towards the back end of this tenure, Rob began a new coaching gig – coach of his sons’ soft-ball cricket team at Darfield Cricket Club. During this time, he ensured the boys he coached came away having developed their skills and an even deeper love for the game. 

Rob followed his boys through the age groups, coaching Canterbury Country’s U15 and U17 teams for four seasons and assisted Canterbury Cricket’s Under 17 and Under 19 winter training programs. The time commitment for all representative coaching was immense. 

The 2017/18 season saw Rob begin another coaching chapter at St Andrews College with the school’s 1st & 2nd Xl teams – highlighted by winning the Gillette Cup during the 2019/20 season.  

Rob was not only involved in higher levels of the game but also volunteered at Darfield CC’s “Superstar Academy Programme” – now called Smash Play. Rob’s five-year service to this programme helped to excite hundreds of the next generation about cricket.  

Most recently, Rob has taken the reigns as Groundsman at Darfield CC, ensuring the grounds are one of the best in the competition. Rob lends a hand at training, coaching the Premier & Senior teams - and is still playing for the senior side! 

In a full circle moment, Rob reassumed the role of Canterbury Country Hawke Cup coach and led the team to a Hawke Cup challenge against Hawkes Bay in February 2024.  


Outstanding Contribution to Cricket  

Bryan Johnston – North East Valley CC 

Joining initially as a player in 1967, Bryan Johnston’s record on the field is immense, though his off-field contribution to the North East Valley Cricket Club, and Dunedin Cricket more broadly, is perhaps even more so.  

Johnston remains heavily involved in the club as Chairman having served on the management committee since the 1973/74 season. His efforts to recruit players and fundraise are critical to the standing the club has in the community. He has also made significant contributions to cricket in Dunedin more broadly, serving on the Dunedin Cricket Association Committee for more than a decade. 

Always looking to help develop the next generation of cricketers, Johnston has been instrumental in placing North East Valley coaches in Dunedin secondary schools and has been proactive in player recruitment across all grades, which has seen the club’s playing strength grow. At the premier level, he has been instrumental in enticing overseas players to the club, some of whom have gone on to contribute to Otago Cricket in playing and coaching capacities. 

Under his leadership, North East Valley Cricket Club finances have gone from strength to strength, largely due to the countless hours he has spent preparing funding applications, negotiating sponsorship arrangements with local businesses, and making prudent investments. 

Quietly spoken, Johnston is seen as somewhat of a “gentleman” in the Dunedin Cricket Association, someone who strategizes with a high intellect and high work ethic to get the mahi done with no fuss nor fanfare. 

Bryan’s significant and ongoing service to the North East Valley Cricket Club and wider Dunedin cricket community has contributed to growth in the game that has not gone unnoticed. 


Best Diversity and Inclusion Initiative  

Suburbs New Lynn Cricket Club 

Over the past few seasons Suburbs New Lynn Cricket Club has implemented changes to their club offerings to ensure it is a place for all to enjoy cricket. 

Since the implementation of a women and girls strategy and the appointment of a Women’s Cricket Development Manager, the women & girls programme has gone from strength-to-strength. Looking at their local community, Suburbs New Lynn engaged the female students from a local Islamic School, IQRA. None of the girls had ever been offered cricket as a sporting option, but many took the opportunity to get involved in the club’s “Girls Smash” programme led by players from the club. 

Community initiatives such as this have directly translated to success of the women’s programme and playing numbers at the club. This season represents the first in club history that a Premier Women’s team could be fielded – who recently finished third in ACA’s T20 competition. 

Aware of a change in the ethnicity and gender of their membership, Suburbs knew it was important their club evolved as well. Now as a matter of course, halal and vegetarian food are served at all times within the club; a dedicated prayer area has been established for those who wish to use it; and they monitor the membership of their committees to ensure that their different groups are being represented. 

Additionally, SNLCC have recently partnered with Ellerslie Cricket Club to deliver “CricStars” – an adaptive cricket programme for tamariki and rangatahi with physical or intellectual disabilities. 

Suburbs New Lynn Cricket Club are showing true leadership in ensuring their club is an inclusive place for all to engage in cricket.   


Community Cricket Collaboration Initiative of the Year  

Pakistani Association of Canterbury New Zealand & Canterbury Cricket Association 

The collaboration between Pakistani Association of Canterbury New Zealand (PACNZ) and Canterbury Cricket has helped to provide multiple opportunities for the wider Pakistani Community to be involved in cricket and has seen increased female engagement. 

What started as a one-sided, ‘deliver to’ approach quickly morphed into a collaborative approach that saw the two parties work together to plan and implement engagement opportunities. The collaborative approach has allowed both parties to be aware of what the community needed to make events successful.  

With 4 events delivered over the past two seasons and more in the planning phase, CCA has said the collaboration with PACNZ is key to providing meaningful cricket opportunities for the Pakistani community in Christchurch.  

While cricket might be what brought people to the event, they leave with a deeper, cultural connection to their community.  


Sir Jack Newman  

Mark James, Petone Riverside Cricket Club 

Mark James has been a vital part of Petone Riverside Cricket Club for 13 years, coaching since 2011 and the Junior Convenor since 2012. Mark is currently Co-Chairman and Female Cricket Coordinator for the club.  

Described as an incredibly supportive and encouraging coach, Mark’s greatest contributions within the club have been to the female game.  

Under his guidance, female playing numbers in the club have increased from one player in 2011/12 to 50+ this season. Petone Riverside now boast a strong Premier women’s team, and visible talent coming through their Division 1 & 2, youth and junior sides. 

Mark is constantly putting in work for the female teams - making sure they have players, equipment, uniforms, and coaching support required. Mark runs programmes for junior players, allowing them to ease into hard-ball cricket, as well as coaching two women’s teams himself. Mark created (and still helps to run) the “Superstars” programme at Petone for entry-level cricketers. 

Described as potentially his biggest achievement, Mark has created a culture that is enjoyed by the wider Petone Riverside community, who often come together through shared BBQ’s and other initiatives at the club. 

Through his genuine care to better women’s cricket in Wellington, Mark has single-handedly formed a sustainable pathway at Petone which will continue to nurture cricket long after he has moved on.  

On top of his work for Petone, Mark is a part of Cricket Wellington’s Female Working Group, working to develop the pathway for women’s cricket in Wellington.