The return of one of Dargaville High School's favourite sons, Dion Nash, caused a stir within his old stomping ground yesterday.
Almost as much as the opening of Dargaville High School and Northern Wairoa Cricket Club's long-awaited, and much needed, cricket pavilion which drew a good crowd to the school's sports field.
Dargaville's cricketers finally have somewhere to call home with the new pavilion, which stands as a dedication to local cricket legend Ross Condon.
Nash, a Dargaville High old boy, was proud to grace the opening of the facility, which sits next to the batting cages where he, and many before and after him, cut their teeth.
"Cricket's a proud tradition here so it gives somewhere to focus that attention. It's all about an atmosphere and a culture. If you feel like you're part of something special, that motivates you to stay on track.
"To come and see it and be part of the unveiling is awesome, it's just what Northern Wairoa and Dargaville needed."
The Ross Condon Pavilion was made possible behind the scenes thanks to Northland cricket stalwart Joey Yovich and the Northern Wairoa Cricket Club's successful application to ANZ's Field Your Dream promotion.
"It's about creating something for our youth, it's pretty special when you can have the club at the school and can have that link, which we've tried to create," Yovich said.
The club was keen for a new pavilion and wanted the opportunity to honour Condon, a lifetime club member who passed away at 68 before Christmas. Condon was involved in almost everything to do with cricket in Dargaville.
He was groundsman, player, coach, selector, club president, secretary, and together with wife Judy, chief fundraiser.
With the help of volunteers and local tradesmen, an old disused prefab was moved on to the site. Inside boasts Condon's cricket bat and gloves, and various club trophies and memorabilia.
Nash has donated his Northern Districts playing jersey and Black Caps blazer.
Northern Wairoa Cricket Club president James Nyssen said the club and school's cricketers are taken aback by the new facility: "[Condon] really was the father of cricket in Dargaville. He was fiercely competitive on the field, but also very encouraging off it."