This week Oamaru Mail sports reporter James Ford talks with Valley captain Hamish McKenzie about his fondest memories of local cricket, his club and the season ahead...
When did you first become involved in cricket?
I think I was about 6 when I first played cricket at Duntroon Primary School, playing what was then known as Wednesday night cricket, or Kiwi Cricket as it is now referred to.
I played at Waitaki Boys' and then a couple of seasons while at University in Christchurch before giving the game away until I moved back to Oamaru.
What's you fondest memory of being involved in local cricket?
As a young kid playing cricket there was always a wrap of primary cricket in Monday's edition of the Oamaru Mail. To get your name in the paper you needed to normally score 10 or more runs or take a couple of wickets. As a kid being able to do that and then seeing your name in the paper was a real buzz.
Lately it would be playing in and winning the club cricket finals with Valley, Borton Cup in 2007, Dick Hunt holiday competition in 2011 and 2012.
What does your club offer the community?
Our club is a place to socialise and meet new people from the district. Normally quite rural- orientated, many of our players either farm or work in an industry servicing the rural community.
We have a very good player base which allows flexibility to people who are keen to play when they can but are unable to commit every week.
How high is the level of young talent coming through?
There is always talented players coming through the system. One of Valley's main points I feel is we have a strong primary aged membership where parents put a lot of time and effort into organising and coaching kids. This sets them up well for future coaching at high school and representative levels.
The problem for cricket is most of these kids also happen to be talented at other sports and may not continue to play after leaving school. As a club we are always keen to get these players involved at any stage as it's always good to have them play when they can.
How do you think the interest level in local cricket could be raised?
The first thing I would point out is the exceptional website at www.noca.co.nz, this contains a lot of information that many people are unaware exists.
Cricket, like most sports, struggle now to keep interest going. I don't think we will ever pack the grandstand at Centennial Park or double the amount of teams playing locally, but we can make it more informative and accessible to casual observers.
As mentioned earlier, primary school cricket used to get good coverage in the local paper as did senior cricket. I feel local newspapers struggle to grasp the concept of what they should be printing when it comes to "local" news, not only when it comes to cricket but to all local sports.
What's special about your club?
The thing I like most about our club is even though we have players from varied backgrounds, the main thing is they are all keen to play cricket and have a laugh.
We have a good network when it comes to organising players for each grade, but we also help each other find players if we are short of a team for the weekend. Players involved in the club are also happy to give up their time to fundraise or find sponsorship that goes towards running the club.
How has your team's season gone so far?
We are still searching for some consistency, as are other clubs.
Individually, players have performed well at times, but we need to put more team efforts together if we are to be competitive for the season.
We have a solid bowling line-up but need to perform more with the bat.