Award for cricket's leading light
Monday, 15th December, 2008
Junior cricket said farewell to its biggest supporter recently when Geoff Goulding pulled stumps on a 25-year association.
December 6 was the final time Mr Goulding directed traffic from his wheelchair at Picton Oval where more than 100 children learn and play cricket in spring and summer.
Mr Goulding was a teacher at North Public Primary School in the early 1980s when he and a group of other primary school teachers decided to start up a junior cricket competition.
At the time, the youngest age competition available to kids was under 15.
"We kicked off the association in 1983," Mr Goulding said. "Then as the years went by we started going downwards (in age groups)."
They first started a hardball competition which was made up of school teams for students in Years 5 and 6. Next Lighting (Years 3 and 4) was added, then Joeys (Kindergarten and Years 1 and 2) and finally, a couple of years ago, Academy (Kindergarten).
Today the BH Junior Cricket Association boasts some 270 kids, according to Mr Goulding, who said the school-based model had its advantages, not least because of the absence of individual clubs.
"So it's not as daunting to parents to organise clubs.
"I think it's fairly worthwhile model and a fairly unique model."
Mr Goulding said he thoroughly enjoyed helping children develop their game.
"Seeing little kids start up and go through and being more confident and able to play a good standard of cricket.
"Just about every local kid that is playing senior cricket today played in our association."
Mr Goulding said that from next year he would concentrate on the hardball competition and the team that competes in the annual Bankstown sporting exchange.
"They'll still be early starts but not quite that early," said Mr Goulding, who was presented with a Pro Hart print titled "Beach Cricket" on his last day.
"I just hope every kid enjoys their cricket as much as I did."