School cricketers honour their coach
Dannevirke High School cricketers from the last decade met at the school assembly hall on Saturday evening April 7 to honour their coach Bruce Hooper-Smith.
It was a surprise for Bruce, as the official reason for the dinner being the season wind-up for the school’s 1st XI.
More than 50 past and present players and supporters enjoyed a meal put on by Joy Raffaelli and Sanjay Patel, the original captain of the team, said he had invited Bruce to come and coach in 2008.
He said the 1st XI had had a lean time and Bruce’s reputation as a nononsense cricketer and coach encouraged Sanjay to invite him to coach.
At the first practice Bruce announced “If you don’t waste my time I won’t waste yours”.
No-one’s time was wasted as Bruce put the team through rigorous skills and fitness training.
Within two seasons the team won the Manawatu competition and success continued to follow.
Sanjay said Bruce had been the most influential person in his cricketing career, teaching the skills of the sport along with other life skills such as respect, determination and reliability.
Four other players from his teams, including Josh Thompson, Eugene Pitt, Craig Payton and current captain Aaron Herbert, spoke at the event.
Dannevirke High School Principal Di Carter thanked Bruce for his dedication and passion over his 10 years of coaching and presented him with a trophy.
Then the group presented Bruce with a carved trophy made from a single log and carved by Tony Mansill with his chainsaw.
It featured cricket stumps, bat and ball with a cap on the stumps, highlighting Bruce’s role as the wicket keeper as well as the coach.
Bruce replied that he had loved every moment of the 10 years so far and having so many of his past players present was a real thrill.
“It has been a wonderful journey,” he said. “These players have become my mates.”
He thanked the school for the opportunity to coach and the facilities to train in, also identifying as significant Frank Groube for supporting with coaching and scoring, Gordon Kuggeleijn for managing and playing for the team as well as coaching players from primary level, the parents who have supported their teenagers and most of all his players who had been instrumental in so many successes.
The plaque on the trophy reads: “To Bruce Hooper-Smith in sincere appreciation for your dedication to coaching the DHS First Eleven”.
Bush away to Feilding at Johnston 1 - 1pm Dannevirke v Kia Toa at Dannevirke Rugby Park - 1pm
Bush away to Te Kawau at Rongatea 2 - 2.45pm
Bruce Hooper-Smith with his trophy and past/present Dannevirke High School 1st XI players.
Bruce reminisces about cricket events in the last decade.
Past captain Josh Thompson speaks about Bruce as a coach.
A close-up of the trophy made by Tony Mansill.