Two of the most successful players produced by Northern Districts Cricket were nominated for and accepted Life Membership awards this season. Daniel Vettori and Nicola Browne have both been presented with their awards at separate ceremonies as a recognition of their services to the game and their achievements as players.
Daniel Vettori attended the Annual General Meeting of Northern Districts Cricket prior to the first match of the McDonald's Super Smash at Seddon Park in December, where he was presented with his award. Vettori's lengthy cricketing career began after his stand out performance at the National Under 18 tournament. After playing for Northern Districts as a 17 year old he was quickly elevated to international level in the 1996-97 season, debuting at 18 years old as the youngest player to play Test cricket for the BlackCaps.
In a career that saw him play 112 Tests, 295 ODIs and 34 T20s for the Blackcaps, and 22 First Class, 44 Limited Overs and 31 T20sfor Northern Districts, Vettori's achievements included being one of only eight players in Test history to have scored over 3,000 runs and taken over 300 wickets. His 362 wicket total in Test cricket are second only to Sir Richard Hadlee for New Zealand, and his 305 ODI wickets tops the New Zealand leaderboard.
Of receiving the award Daniel Vettori said "I am honoured to be recognised by Northern Districts for my contribution. There have been some terrific people at ND who have helped my career considerably and who I owe a huge debt. Whenever the opportunity allowed I always loved playing for ND. It will always hold a special place in my heart. "
ND Chairman Martin Bradley, who presented the life membership to Vettori at the ceremony was thrilled to add the former Blackcap captain to the ND Life Membership list saying "Daniel will be remembered as one of the greatest players to ever represent New Zealand. His name is revered in cricket circles around the world for his contribution to the game, and the humble way he went about his business. Star University, Hamilton Cricket, and ND Cricket should all be proud that we all played a part in Daniel becoming the player he was, and the person he is."
Making a guest appearance at the SKYCITY Hamilton NPL competition in January, Nicola Browne flew in from Canberra to accept her award and to catch up with many of her former team mates. Showing that she still can perform, Browne top scored for the Galaxy, slamming 7 fours and 2 sixes in an innings of 66 from 59 balls, setting the Galaxy up for their first win of the competition.
Browne had an illustrious cricketing career with 133 limited overs matches and 44 T20s for the Northern Spirit, and two Test matches, 125 ODIs and 54 T20s for the White Ferns. Browne put much of her success down to the support of the Northern Districts network, valuing both players and management saying "Cliff Dickenson and Pat Malcon were two very influential people in my time with ND. Their support in my career and female cricket was always genuine and generous. Playing alongside Emily Drumm when I was younger (was a highlight), learning the craft of building an innings and watching her hit balls to all areas of the ground."
"My most memorable performance was a match verses Wellington at Bay Oval, where Natalie Dodd and enjoyed a record partnership, with us both scoring centuries. During that innings I surpassed the domestic runs record, and broke my bat. I threw my bat in the bin after and the girls got it out, had it repaired and presented it to me with all the statistics on it at the end of the season. That was quite special."
Browne has always been a strong advocate for the development of Women's Cricket, and is currently a Development Officer for the ACT Cricket Association. As the first female recipient of a Life Membership for Northern Districts Browne says that women's cricket has a way to go in regard to raising it's profile "Globally the profile is rising, and in NZ it is getting there. I feel we are about 2-3 years behind the main playing nations Australia and England. It is nice to see ND lead the way, as it has done many times with new initiatives, (such as) the introduction of the NPL."
"Naturally in the future I would like to see the opportunity for more full-time cricketers, but also an investment (like the NPL) on a domestic level where more players are being fairly compensated. I would also like to see more athletes attracted to the game, with them seeing it as a viable career path alongside other sports like netball or Olympic sports."
Mentor and former coach Cliff Dickeson and new President Jeff Freeman presented the award to Nicola at Jansen Park in front of family and players. Freeman noted that ND was "delighted to recognise in the same season ND's best ever male and female players. In a year when ND has raised the bar in their efforts for women's cricket, it is only fitting that its greatest player is recognised for her enormous contribution to the sport. Nicola will be long remembered for her ability, passion, insight and determination to make her game, the team, and women's cricket better."