Ser­vice to sport recog­nised by award

Otago Daily Times - - SPORT - JEFF CHESHIRE

PAUL Field­ing’s pride in the sim­ple things on a lo­cal stage have gained him na­tional recog­ni­tion.

The Lo­gan Park High School his­tory teacher has re­ceived the ser­vice to sport award from the New Zealand sec­ondary schools sports coun­cil.

It comes as a re­sult of a 30­year in­volve­ment with sport at the school, pri­mar­ily coach­ing cricket, foot­ball and bad­minton.

It is cricket where his big­gest pas­sion lies, and it is there that his proud­est achieve­ment has come.

While num­bers in the sport have dwin­dled and many schools no longer field teams, Lo­gan Park has al­ways had a team on the park.

‘‘We’ve man­aged to drum up a team ev­ery year, just,’’ he said.

‘‘We start with crick­eters, we might have one or two, then we fill it with ath­letes, we might have two or three, then we fill it with peo­ple.

‘‘Some years we just have peo­ple, but we’ve kept it go­ing.

‘‘That’s what I’m most proud of over the years, al­ways hav­ing a cricket team.’’

He be­lieved there were a lot of rea­sons for cricket’s de­cline.

Play­ing on Satur­days, the length of games, the range of other sports, the loss of cricket from free­to­air tele­vi­sion and the prospect of be­ing can­celled for rain were among those.

So­lu­tions were be­ing in­tro­duced to ad­dress these is­sues, although Field­ing con­ceded it would be a hard fix.

While it is a sport that re­quires a big com­mit­ment from the play­ers, it is ar­guably a big­ger com­mit­ment from a coach.

Field­ing has been at Lo­gan Park’s games ev­ery Satur­day for the past 30 sum­mers.

A com­pet­i­tive per­son, he en­cour­ages his teams to play to win — or give that their best shot — rather than just par­tic­i­pat­ing.

It was some­thing he en­joyed and he of­ten um­pired games and oc­ca­sion­ally stepped in on the field if the team needed an ex­tra player.

‘‘There’s noth­ing bet­ter than hav­ing a young per­son who grows and de­vel­ops a pas­sion and love for the game.

‘‘With cricket you ei­ther love it or you hate it.

‘‘You can tell with a stu­dent if they love it they’re go­ing to talk to you about it all the time.

‘‘You just think ‘there’s an­other crick­eter for life’.

‘‘. . . most of them who have car­ried on have con­trib­uted to the clubs.

‘‘They’ve been club cap­tains, they’ve been on the com­mit­tee, they’re play­ing sec­ond grade, third grade.

‘‘They’re not in the top team, but they . . . love play­ing cricket.’’

He re­mains ac­tive him­self, play­ing twi­light cricket, squash and re­cently be­gin­ning golf.

Two years ago he re­tired from foot­ball, in which he was a goal keeper for Grants Braes.

And he con­tin­ues to coach. The Lo­gan Park first XI has five year 9 pupils in its team, and Field­ing is look­ing for­ward to de­vel­op­ing them over the next four years.

PHOTO: GRE­GOR RICHARD­SON

Com­mit­ted coach . . . Lo­gan Park High School teacher Paul Field­ing has won a na­tional ser­vice to sport award for his con­tri­bu­tion to sec­ondary school sport.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.