He’s a man of many talents

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Mr manager . . . Pete Cartwright prepares for another evening at the cricket nets. PHOTO: HAYDEN MEIKLE

Pete Cartwright has been involved with sport for most of his life. The former gun junior tennis player has had a long association with the Albion cricket club, and was manager for the Excelsior premier rugby team last season. This summer, the father-of-one has been a fixture on the Hawke Cup circuit as manager for the North Otago cricket team. Hayden Meikle talks to Cartwright.

Q: How old are you, Pete?
I’m 38.

Q: What do you do for a crust?
I’m a meat worker at Oamaru Meats. I’ve been there maybe six and a-half years.

Q: You reached a milestone for the Albion cricket team this summer, is that right?
Yeah, 250 games. I started playing in 1999 before I went to Aussie for a couple of years. I’ve pretty much played since I came back.

Q: But you’re technically retired?
Ah, you can’t really retire from Albion until you sort of move town or leave the country. I think you’re always going to get roped into playing a couple of games here and there. I’ve had a lot of good times with the club, playing alongside good mates who I’ve grown up with. The cricket is obviously the big thing but we love having a couple of beers and telling a few yarns and having a laugh.

Q: Who tells the best yarns? Dylan Winter?
Yeah, Winter. Paul Odell, back in the day. He liked a good story and could stretch the truth a couple of times.

Q: Highlight of your time with Albion?
Winning four Borton Cups. My highest score was 117. And just meeting some good fellas. Back when I started, guys like Charlie Pitches, Lindsay Whyte – catching up with those guys is good fun.

Q: Albion is, ahem, the team everyone loves to hate. Why is that?
Is it Albion? I always thought it was Union, ha ha. Just success, I guess. I can’t think of any other reason.

Q: Everyone knows Albion as the “Mungers”. Or is it “Mungas”? What on earth does that even mean? I don’t really know. It’s possibly something that’s more about our off-field antics than what we do on the field. It’s just a name that’s stuck. We never really thought much about it till a newspaper actually used the name in a headline. That kind of got it going further.

Q: You played a handful of games for North Otago, too, right?
Yeah, way back when. Very unsuccessfully. A duck on debut and probably a pair in my last game.

Q: How have you found the role of Hawke Cup manager?
It’s great to get back into it. I did it for three seasons – 2009 to 2011, I think – but then focused on the playing side of things. They asked me to do it again when Hamish McMurdo went down south. It’s a real privilege to be involved.

Q: How would you rate the campaign?
It’s been a bit of an unlucky year, I reckon. We were a bit under-prepared because of all the rain leading up to the season. And that last-wicket partnership in the opening game against Otago Country might haunt a few of the boys over winter. If we’d taken that wicket, we could have headed down to Invercargill with all to play for. And rain hurt us against South Canterbury, so we were unlucky there.

Q: I recall you being a top tennis player back in the day. How far did you get?
Yeah, I was sort of a nationally-ranked junior. Under-12s, 14s, 16s, 18s, that sort of thing. It seems like a lifetime ago. I just played right through high school but then I came back to cricket. It was more fun, I guess. You could have a nightmare game yourself but still win.

Q: On the rugby side, you were manager for Excelsior last year. It was a rough season – can we expect a better Blues team this year?
Ah, hopefully. It was good fun last year. I know the guys have been doing some pre-season work and I think they’ll be raring to go.