Cricket pitch efforts earn award

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In the peak of summer, you find Ricky Whyte out maintaining North Otago’s cricket pitches every night – mowing, watering and rolling.

On Sunday, his countless volunteer hours were recognised as he was named Volunteer of the Year at the Otago Community Cricket Awards.

Whyte has been involved with Albion Cricket Club for the past 16 years – playing for the men’s senior team and volunteering around the club to ensure the cricket grounds are top standard for competition.

For the past two years, his volunteer work has also extended to looking after the North Otago cricket pitches.

Whyte, with wife Tina and son Hunter, travelled to Dunedin for the Otago Community Cricket Awards on Sunday night having been told he was receiving an award.

But he had no idea what it was for, or who had nominated him.

“Up until then, I knew nothing . I had no idea what the award was,” he said.

“I was pretty surprised, really. I guess a bit of recognition is always good, even though I certainly don’t do it for that.”

Whyte said he dedicated so much of his time to maintaining the cricket pitches of North Otago for the love of it – even if it was hard to please everyone sometimes.

“I just enjoy it – and I’ve played cricket all my life, I guess it was just another thing I learnt to enjoy during it,” he said.

Other North Otago winners at the Otago Community Cricket Awards included Tom Dempster and Llew Johnson, for performances at national tournaments in their respective age groups and Derek Walker who received an officials award for his commitment to umpiring, as he closes in on 100 first class and List A fixtures.