A GROUP of dads getting involved in junior cricket to ensure their sons get the same enjoyment out of the game they loved as kids do what they do simply because “it’s the right thing to do”.
Nick Cooper, Gerard Hannelly, Scott Larson and Steve Ryan never imagined they’d one day be recognised for it.
But on Saturday at Cook Park, the cricket-loving quartet that makes up the executive committee of the Orange District Junior Cricket Association was singled out for its efforts with the 2013 Australia Day Sports Awards sporting organisation of the year gong.
Accepted by Ryan, the ODJCA’s secretary, the award is a wonderful reward for a hard-working group of dads.
“You don’t do it to be recognised, we do it for the kids and because it’s the right thing to do,” Ryan said.
“We just want to see kids playing cricket. It’s nice to be recognised for what we do.”
The 2012-13 summer, only now midway through, has been an action-packed one for the ODJCA.
Just last month the executive went about organising and managing two Western NSW junior cricket carnivals in Orange, with hundreds of people flocking to the city to take part in the under 13 and under 15 competitions.
The tournaments were established by Quality Sporting Services director Carl Sharpe over 16 years ago and have since been conducted in Orange annually.
But with Sharpe’s retirement in 2011 and the subsequent closure of Quality Sporting Services, an opportunity become available for the junior cricket association to take over the co-ordination and management of these tournaments, an opportunity the association grabbed with both hands.
With a membership of 500 players , the ODJCA is also on the brink of enjoying the benefits of a purpose-built indoor training centre for cricket after receiving a $50,000 state government grant last year.
The sporting organisation of the year award is given to a sporting body that has gone above and beyond the normal role of administering their sport; taking steps to make improvements for their members or promote their sport to the wider community.
Few could argue Ryan, Cooper, Hannelly and Larson don’t fit the bill.
And they’re already looking at making 2013-14 better for cricketing kids again.
“We’ve had feedback from the carnival and already teams are looking at coming back,” Ryan said.
“Next year we’ll tinker with it a little bit to make it even better and when this season is over we’ll look at getting into the indoor facility.”