The Tavs Tas Spirit of Cricket Award presentations are always full of celebration and reflection.
To play the game ‘hard but fair’ is a guiding principle that unites all in cricket – at all levels. For the Tavs to recognise the best and fairest in the four major Associations is one we have great pride and commitment in fulfilling.
Below are the winners of each Association in the 2017/18 season.
Robert Bilyk with Cory Griffiths, Secretary and Brandon Muir, Coach of the winning Wellington Cricket Club (Southern Cricket Association).
Robert Bilyk with Jeremy Jackson, President of the winning South Launceston Cricket Club (Cricket North).
Robert Bilyk with winning Club Devonport, 1st Grade Captain Miles Barnard, President Stephen Casey and Club Coach Stephen Lee (Cricket North West).
Phillip ‘Sunny’ Drury with Jill Taylor, President of the winning North Hobart Cricket Club (Premier League).
Tavs Tas Chair, Robert Bilyk reflects on the SoC Award’s recent history and why its values are valued so highly by the very Clubs who compete for it passionately every year.
I have been presenting the Spirit of Cricket award on behalf of Lord’s Taverners Tasmania for six years. Most of the feedback I have received over this time has been very positive. The four Associations have been very supportive of the Award, they put in a lot of effort to administer the Award’s voting system at each cricket match, tally the votes and fit the presentation of the Award into their end of season Awards Night.
The Club’s support the Award and the feedback we have had over the years is they are very proud to win the Award. It is recognised as an achievement by a Club to win the award and it gives them something to aspire to even when their cricketing talents are not such that they are competing for premierships. Clubs say – that they can use the award to target the behaviour of serial offenders within the Club and even encourage those who don’t embrace the ideals of the Award to find alternatives to playing cricket at their Club.
A few memorable stories though have been told to me over the years.
On April 2013 I presented the SOC award to Burnie Hurricanes Cricket Club at the Club’s Award Dinner. This gave me a wonderful opportunity to talk to officials about what they were aspiring to do at the Club.
The well recognised the fact that they relied on a small group of senior players to keep the Club going and realised that they needed to be more widely recognised in the local community and get more support to have a long term future in the local area. They realised that they needed to become more of a family club and so they organised some “come and try” events to get more young people involved. Young people bring their families and they realised that it is the Mums and Dads they needed to win the support of to get their young boys and girls to play at the Club. The Club therefore became a lot more family friendly and had to change their culture to appeal more to the change in demographics from a ‘blokey’ insular Club to one that was more welcoming of all community members and more accepting of a more diverse range of individuals.
They attributed this change of attitude and culture to an improvement in their on field behaviour. They won the SOC Award in 2012-13. Given their new positive outlook it did not surprise to see them win the award in the two following seasons as well.
So the SOC Award is seen as a way of making Clubs more community friendly and in turn the Clubs become a more relevant and important part of their local communities. It helps welcome new members to the Club and makes it easier for new members to integrate within the Club and embrace their culture. It makes the Clubs more diverse, as a wider range of people become involved in the Club.
At a later time a Cricket NW spoke of how Clubs had used the Award to improve behaviour. For players with the wrong attitude they had spoken of the need to improve the Club’s behaviour and used the Spirit of Cricket Award as the catalyst as to why behaviour needed to be improved. I mean better behaviour is a good thing on its own because it makes playing the game a better experience and it brings the Club’s players closer together, but the SOC Award becomes a tangible reward for that better behaviour.
A year or two later, perhaps in early 2014, I had a very interesting conversation with the umpires at the Southern Cricket Association Awards Night. The general consensus amongst the experienced umpires at my table was that the Spirit of Cricket Award had had a very positive impact on the spirit of the competition after it was introduced into the SCA competition in 2009-10.
One umpire was very dramatic in his comments. He had retired three years previously and had come out of retirement to resume his umpiring duties. He had noticed a dramatic improvement in player behaviour and attitudes in the short time he has been away from the game. He could see no other reason for this improvement other than the introduction of the SOC Award and the fact that Clubs had deliberately set out to improve behaviour in their attempts to win the Award, or at least to poll well in the Award.
Last year after I presented the SOC Award in the north West to the President of the Wynyard Cricket Club, Karla Summers stated how proud she was that the Club had won the Award because they had introduced a Spirit of Cricket Award within the Club for the teams and players to aspire to.
The whole Club had responded so well that they won their first SOC Award for seven years.
Chair – Lord’s Taverners Tasmania Branch
Below is full list of the Tavs Tas SoC Award winners since 2003/04:
|Year||Premier League||Cricket North||Cricket North West||Southern Cricket|
|2006/07||New Town||George Town||Devonport|
|2008/09||North Hobart||South Launceston||Ulverstone|
|2009/10||North Hobart||George Town||Wynyard||Lindisfarne|
|2012/13||South Hobart-Sandy Bay||Mowbray||Burnie Hurricanes||Dodges Ferry|
|2013/14||University CC||Riverside CC||Burnie Hurricanes CC||St Virgil’s Cricket Club|
|2014/15||New Town CC||Westbury Shamrocks||Burnie Hurricanes CC||MacKillop Belta’s|
|2015/16||New Town CC||Launceston CC||Devonport CC||Lindisfarne CC|
|2016/17||New Town CC||Westbury Shamrocks||Wynyard||McRobies Gully CC|
|2017/18||North Hobart||South Launceston||Devonport CC||Wellington CC|