A pair of cricket stalwarts have been given the ultimate honour for their contributions to the sport in North Otago.
At the recent North Otago Cricket Association annual meeting, Duncan Drew and Mark Julius were made life members for their years of service as both players and administrators.
Drew, a wicketkeeper-batsman, won 89 caps for North Otago between 1994 and 2018 and played an integral part in the side’s first Hawke Cup win in 2010 when he scored 102 against Manawatu in North Otago’s 159-run victory in Palmerston North.
He also represented Otago in four first-class matches, including in a tour match against an England XI at Queenstown that featured the likes of Mark Butcher, Graham Thorpe, Andrew Flintoff and Andy Caddick.
Julius played for North Otago 11 times between 1983 and 1989, and was involved in an administrative capacity both during and after his representative playing career as an association board member and chairman.
He was also on the Otago Cricket Association board from 1989 until the mid-1990s, and was a long-serving administrator with the Oamaru club.
Julius, a medium pace bowler, said it was a huge honour to be recognised by the association, the second-smallest in New Zealand behind Buller.
“It’s really humbling. My footsteps feel really small compared to Peter Cameron, Ted [Tempero] and Russell Payne, who were instrumental over so many years in how big their contribution has been to North Otago.
“To be included with that group and Duncan is really humbling.”
He said his career highlights included Borton Cup wins with the Oamaru club in 1984-85 and 1987-88 and nine wickets – five in the first innings and four in the second – for North Otago against Central Otago in Alexandra in 1989.
He also claimed nine for 17 against Union in 1987, but was denied the chance to take all 10 Union wickets after it declared its innings early.
Drew said the accolade was “definitely an honour” and looked back on his playing career and administrative roles with fondness.
He said the 2010 Hawke Cup win and a second in 2016, a 133-run victory over Buller at Westport, were his proudest moments on the cricket field.
While he played for North Otago, Drew also at times acted as team manager and a selector.
He said a big part of being an administrator was guiding young players.
“It’s important to create pathways for players to represent North Otago then Otago, first at age-group level.
“We just want to help out the guys get as far as they can, whether it’s getting guys into the Otago teams, club cricket or age-group cricket. It’s great to see kids participating.”
He and Julius join A. Keith (1946), William Uttley (1950), Robert Bean (1965), Murray Reid (1975), Edward Tempero (1988), Russell Payne (1991) and Peter Cameron (2017) as life members of the association.