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Crossing codes .. North Otago development officer for cricket and hockey Ethan Booth (centre) is joined by (from left) North Otago Hockey president Jared Ovens and son George (2), and North Otago Cricket administrator Jacque Crombie, and Otago Cricket general manager community cricket Andrew Petrie. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

A national youth sporting representative has been given the opportunity to give back to the North Otago community in more ways than one.

Ethan Booth has taken up a role as a sporting development officer, working with both North Otago Cricket, in association with Otago Cricket, and North Otago Hockey. It was the first time the position had been created.

Originally from Dunedin, Booth (20) moved to Oamaru six months ago, and worked as an Otago Cricket Association development officer in North Otago.

He would now transition into the North Otago Hockey development officer role for the winter sport season, while planning and preparing for the next cricket season.

Booth is no stranger to either sport.

He made the New Zealand under-19 hockey team, and was part of the under-21 development side this year, and he played under-19 cricket for Otago.

“I always wanted to give back, especially with hockey. I’ve been very lucky with what I’ve been taught and the opportunities I’ve had with different coaches, and it’s a good way to give back to the community,” Booth said.

The two sports were similar in terms of hand-eye co-ordination which helped “keep both sports alive in their off seasons”.

North Otago Hockey president Jared Ovens said it was fantastic to have someone of Booth’s calibre in the role.

Booth would take hockey programmes in nine primary schools, but “the sky’s the limit”.

“Kids are what keep us going. They follow through, and it’s good to see them improving and hopefully, we get some Black Sticks out of them,” Ovens said.

“It’s not only going to benefit the young ones – it’s going to benefit all players and the coaches.”

Otago Cricket Association general manager of community cricket Andrew Petrie said the role created some sustainability for the region’s sports.

“It’s having time to plan that continuity and working with the schools. If he’s already going to be working in the schools with hockey, then that’s really going to help,” Petrie said.

Otago Hockey and Otago Cricket had started working closely together, and this role was another layer to the partnership.

“It’s about supporting both of the sports. A lot of sports are now more interchangeable.”