Sport, especially cricket, is a lot like life, Rotorua Cricket Association chairman Steve Pittman says.

"A game of cricket can ebb and flow. Just when you think you are ahead it can change and you are behind, however as long as the game isn't over you still have a chance to play and win. Some days you win and some days lose and some days there is no result."

Northern Districts cricket stalwart Pat Malcon speaks at the function. Photo/Ben Fraser
Northern Districts cricket stalwart Pat Malcon speaks at the function. Photo/Ben Fraser

Pittman was speaking at the Rotorua Cricket Association's centenary dinner at Distinction Hotel on Saturday. About 80 past and present players, administrators and supporters attended to celebrate the association's milestone.

"We are fortunate to have had a large number of the people who have dedicated their lives to Rotorua Cricket and many of you are in the room tonight. We all thank you for your selfless commitment and dedication to cricket because otherwise we would not be here tonight celebrating our centenary," Pittman said.

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He also spoke of the need to be adaptive in dealing with the ongoing challenges involved with growing the game in the region.

About 80 past and present players, administrators and supporters were in attendance to celebrate the association's milestone. Photo/Ben Fraser
About 80 past and present players, administrators and supporters were in attendance to celebrate the association's milestone. Photo/Ben Fraser

"The current state of Rotorua Cricket isn't flash. We have seen a large decline in junior hardball cricket numbers in the last 10 years. There is resistance at both junior and senior level to commit time to play a full season of cricket, especially in the weekends.

"However, the future is not all bleak. We have opportunities to keep the game alive by being responsive to changing trends and being innovative with how we deliver cricket. We need to be more flexible and adapt to when people want to play, how they want to play and the length of time they want to play.

"People appear to be more selective with how they allocate their spare time and if we want to cater to a wider range of people, we will have to offer shorter games and also schedule them during the week. We have started this process with a senior Twenty10 competition on Friday nights. It's real cricket, with a social touch and allows those players who can play on the weekend to still play real cricket.

Stewart Edward spoke about pre-1980 cricket in the region. Photo/Ben Fraser
Stewart Edward spoke about pre-1980 cricket in the region. Photo/Ben Fraser

"Most of all we need to remember that most people play cricket for fun and as my kids always remind me, don't suck the fun out of it," he said.

There were also speeches from Northern Districts cricket stalwart Pat Malcon, about Rotorua cricket from the 1980s to the present, and Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust chairman Stewart Edward, who spoke about pre-1980 cricket in the region.

Malcon spoke about how the game had changed throughout the years and debunked some myths about bat size and the effect the shorter forms of cricket were having on the game as a whole.

Rotorua Cricket Association chairman Steve Pittman (left) and life members Jim McTamney, Clive Smith, Val McCollom and Diyal Dheda at the Rotorua Cricket Association centenary dinner. Photo/Ben Fraser
Rotorua Cricket Association chairman Steve Pittman (left) and life members Jim McTamney, Clive Smith, Val McCollom and Diyal Dheda at the Rotorua Cricket Association centenary dinner. Photo/Ben Fraser

Edward had many a story to tell about how the game worked in Rotorua 100 years ago and paid tribute to those who had dedicated themselves to maintaining the well-being of the game.

He summed up the night with: "May I propose a toast to those who played the game well, played hard, but remained friends once the stumps were drawn".

As part of the celebrations, the Rotorua Cricket Association donated $1000, made up of proceeds from the dinner and a silent auction, to the New Zealand Blind Cricket Association who have a long-standing relationship with the organisation.

The evening concluded with entertainment from comedian Gish. His unique brand of self-depreciating humour had much of the crowd equal parts shocked and in hysterics.