Something had to give, says Mockford
On Monday, Ian Mockford will finish up in the role of Southland Cricket Association general manager. He talked with The Southland Times yesterday about why he has resigned, the challenges he faced and where he sees cricket at the moment.
Ian Mockford said he had reached the point where he couldn't separate where his work started and when his life outside cricket began.
With that on his mind, he decided enough was enough.
He was Southland Cricket Association's general manager, played cricket on Saturdays, coached his boys' teams and found himself in charge of looking after the grass wickets at Hamilton Park as well.
Something had to give and he decided he would resign from his Southland Cricket Association role and head back to teaching.
"I'm still passionate about cricket in Southland but I've got to the stage where when you're working in it, you've got boys playing, you coach and I play on Saturdays as well, I don't know when my job and my life starts and stops."
He also felt that with him stepping down it would give the association the chance to review the administration structure, something he thinks needs to happen.
"It will give the Southland cricket board a chance to look at where they're at and where they want to go and what the key roles are, and just make sure things are working the best way they can," Mockford said.
While he acknowledged he was in a paid position and the buck stopped with him, he did believe more volunteer support would help cricket prosper.
"My concern in the period of time I've worked for Southland Cricket is there's some really good useful board members that are really passionate about what they do, and do a bloody good job, but we've also got other board members that potentially come to meetings and don't do a lot else."
Mockford felt he departed from the Southland Cricket Association with cricket overall in pretty good shape.
He believed the biggest concern was probably with schools cricket, and not because kids were not interested in playing, but more because there was a struggle to find teachers and parents willing to help organise the teams.
"Schools seem to be a hard sell; they pull back from entering teams because they can't get parents and that to run it, so that's an area of concern."
He felt the biggest positive was probably in the club grades, where there were 19 teams across the senior and combined country competitions.
This season those grades have included the introduction of a few teams made up mainly of school-age players, which Mockford felt had proved to be a reasonable success.
"I think it's been fantastic. Waikoikoi have got a whole lot of young fellas, Albion have got a lot of young fellas, the Southland Boys' teams have had to battle away but I think they are going great guns, so we've just got to keep working hard with those kids."
He felt the success of the small rural club of Waikoikoi should be put up on a pedestal and used to show other clubs how to build for a better future.
"While I think our club cricket is really good at the moment, I do fear a little bit for the future - that there are some older teams out there that when their players go, what happens to those clubs," he said.
"I've always said that, for me, Waikoikoi are probably the blueprint. For a little small country area they seem to be the most organised, the most efficient the most well-structured group of people, and I think a lot of clubs could learn from them."
While Mockford has stepped down from Southland Cricket as the general manager, he plans to stay heavily involved with the sport, in particular by helping the Albion club in Gore continue to improve.
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