Chuffed . . . Liam Direen was named Otago under-19 men's bowler of the year at the Otago cricket awards. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

North Otago cricketers are knocking down Otago boundaries.

At last week’s Otago cricket awards, St Kevin’s College cricketers Liam Direen and Ben Kay were named Otago under-19 and under-17 bowlers of the year respectively, and Otago Sparks bowler Molly Loe, of Weston, picked up the rising star award.

Liam (17), who captained St Kevin’s to back-to-back Borton Cup finals, said he was “pretty chuffed”.

“Going from kind of the smaller levels, to going to a national tournament and doing pretty well, is pretty good for a North Otago kid,” Liam said.

It was his first season being “properly noticed” and heading straight into the national under-19 tournament was a big jump. But he excelled, taking eight wickets at the tournament and 13 for the season.

Ben, who is away on the Spirit of Adventure this week, was also in the wider under-19 squad.

Liam said it was great to have more North Otago representation in Otago teams.

“We don’t get much attention, but with a new coach [Ramesh Subasinghe] being more likely to pick kids outside of just Dunedin, me and Ben are pretty chuffed for St Kevin’s and North Otago.”

Loe, who received her first full Otago Sparks contract this season, said it was great to see more North Otago cricketers getting the chance to represent their province.

I’m excited for the future of these athletes because the game is only growing.

“All keen cricketers should be aiming to play to the highest level, age group, they can because it’s surprising how far it can take you in the following years, as I have definitely learned,” Loe said.

She felt “extremely privileged” to receive the Otago Sparks rising star of the year award.

“Many other girls in the team performed exceptionally well this season that would have been very deserving of the award.

“There is a fair bit that goes on behind the scenes that spectators don’t see, so to be recognised for this season means a lot.”

Loe had a rough end to her season, after suffering a back injury and being forced to miss the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield final, which the Sparks won.

She is still recovering from her injury, but making good progress in rehabilitation and is remaining positive.

“I know there were valuable steps made in my game from a development and understanding point of view which is probably what I’m most proud of.”