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Lifetime service to local sport

Thursday, 6th September, 2018

Retired school teacher Denis Watts’ lifetime of commitment to sport in Broken Hill was recognised last night with city’s top award for volunteers. PICTURE: Emily Roberts Retired school teacher Denis Watts’ lifetime of commitment to sport in Broken Hill was recognised last night with city’s top award for volunteers. PICTURE: Emily Roberts

Longtime cricket volunteer Denis Watts was honoured at last night’s Broken Hill Volunteer Awards held at the Civic Centre.

Watts took home the top Nydia Edes Award for his services to cricket and sport in general over very many years.

He has been Secretary of the Barrier District Cricket League (BDCL) for 24 years, being elected to this position on in August, 1994. 

As secretary, he supported the initiatives of BDCL Chairman Peter Johnston with respect to:

* The amalgamation of the Barrier District Cricket League with the Mines Cricket Association in August 1996, which gave A Grade cricketers access to turf wickets at the Zinc and NHBC Ovals.

* The transfer of the NBHC Oval turf wicket to the Jubilee Oval in 2002, with senior cricket being played on the Jubilee Oval turf wicket in 2003. 

Watts was also involved in the Broken Hill-Bankstown junior cricket exchange as a part of the Sister City relationship from 1998 to 2013. 

Following the incapacity of Geoff Goulding in late 2000, he also organised the annual exchange with Chris Benham (Bankstown junior cricket) until the exchange ended several years ago. 

At one stage this involved five junior grades of cricket.

He was scorer for the Barrier Under 16 South Australian Country carnival team from 1999 (in the Barossa) through to 2014 (the last year of an independent Barrier team). 

Watts also scored for the Barrier Under 14 team from 2008 to 2015.

He has also been an officially accredited NSW Cricket Umpires Association umpire since 1989 and umpired senior and junior cricket for 28 consecutive seasons until the recent 2017/18 season. 

He was awarded life membership of the Barrier District Cricket League in 1993. In 2015 the BDCL decided to strike a medal for the A Grade Cricketer of the Year called the Denis Watts Medal.

As well as his work with the BDCL, Watts was awarded Life Membership of the Broken Hill Outback Emus Club in 2001. This organisation has provided almost $200,000 for junior sport in Broken Hill. He has been Minutes Secretary since 1994 and became Secretary in 2016. 

He travelled to the United Kingdom in 1991 as the Outback Emus umpire and has been an office bearer for 24 years.

At a club level, Watts has been Secretary of the North Broken Hill Cricket Club since 1988 and was awarded life membership 10 years later.

Away from cricket, he broadcast Broken Hill rugby league matches on 2BH from 1980 until 1989, and refereed matches in this sporting code from 1984 to 1997. 

Watts also served 25 years as a director of the North Football Club from 1992 to 2016, spending the first 20 years helping with housie. He has been timekeeper for North since 2004. He was awarded life membership in 2003 and was named Top Dog in 2013.

Watts was awarded life membership of the Broken Hill Football League in 2015. He has served as BHFC timekeeper for the Miners Cup matches on four occasions (2013-2016) in Adelaide.

He was elected secretary of the Turf Oval 355 Management Committee in 1992 and has been secretary of this committee (now the Norm Fox Sporting Complex 355 Management Committee) for 27 years.

In 2002 he was awarded a Citizenship Certificate by City Council.

Award winners

The other award-winning volunteers last night were:

Community - Individual: Charmaine Collins

Community - Group or Organisation: Rotary Club of Broken Hill South

Environment: Friends of the Flora and Fauna of the Barrier Ranges

Cultural: Marilyn Harris

Event: Broken Hill Heritage Festival 

Tourism: Broken Hill Heritage Walk Tour Group

Youth: Zahli Finch

People’s Choice: Colin Fenton

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