At the Christchurch Metropolitan Cricket Association AGM on Tuesday 13 October, seven new Life Members were inducted into the Association for outstanding service to grass roots cricket in Christchurch.

Life membership is a special honour bestowed on a few individuals who have committed a lengthy contribution to the game and there is no doubt that the seven who were honoured this week, have achieved that requirement, racking up over 300 years of combined service to local cricket.

The names of Heather Steele, Gary Saunders, Alan Jamieson, John Grocott, Mike Johnston, Derek Burrell and John Thompson have now formed an exclusive group.

Heather Steele joined the Christchurch Suburban Cricket Association as publicity officer during the 1980’s and went on to serve the Association for 30 years holding positions of secretary, executive officer and treasurer.  She is also a Life member of the Suburban Association and is still actively involved with the Sumner Cricket Club and Canterbury Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association.

Alan Jamieson joined the St Albans Cricket Club as a player during the 1960’s.  He soon joined the committee, becoming Club Captain in 1973 and President in 1980, a position he still holds today.  Alan was a member of the Women’s Cricket Advisory Group for 15 years, is a Life member of his club, and an Honorary Cricket Member of Canterbury Cricket.

John Grocott joined East Christchurch Shirley as a player in 1956 and played for the senior team until 1978.  In 1959 he pioneered the Saturday morning East Christchurch Shirley junior programme, which he continued until 1971.  He obtained his Level 2 coaching certificate in 1968 and continued working with club juniors in the Have-A-Go until recent seasons.  He was a selector for Canterbury Plunkett Shield, Rothmans and Brabin Shield teams during the 1970’s and he won the Sir Jack Newman award for services to junior cricket in New Zealand in 2009-10.

Mike Johnston joined the staff at St Andrew’s College 15 years ago and took the role of 1st XI Coach and Director of Cricket.  During this time he has grown the number of cricketers at the College and maintained St Andrew’s Cricket as one of Christchurch’s top cricketing schools.  He has also coached a large number of Christchurch Metro rep teams and has been an influential mentor to hundreds of young cricketers.  He has also coached a number of Canterbury underage teams.

Derek Burrell joined the Sydenham Cricket club in the early 1970’s before moving to New Brighton in 1980.  He played for the Senior A team for over 20 years.  For 11 seasons he captained the Suburban Representative team, and when he finished playing, he became a representative selector.  He has held a number of positions on the New Brighton committee and he is still an active member of the club today.

John Thompson joined West Christchurch University in 1958 as a player, and continued playing until the 1990’s.  In the 1960’s he was appointed to the Hagley Park Grounds Committee and his passion for turf management has remained strong, being head groundsman at Burnside Park for a number of seasons; he is still involved in an advisory capacity.  In 1972 West Christchurch University joined Burnside to form Burnside West Christchurch University.  John was on the committee for forty years and served in all senior posts.  He is a Life member of Burnside West and Canterbury Cricket.

Gary Saunders joined the High School Old Boys Club in 1966, playing a number of years in the Premier Grade, before stints away in Wellington and Nelson before starting with 1988 Merivale Papanui.  He played the next 17 in the Senior A grade, being one of the best performed bowlers in the grade during this period.  Gary joined the committee in 1994 and served in several senior positions including Secretary and President.  He won the Peter Russell Trophy for service to Suburban Cricket in 2009-10, serving as President of the association from 2006-2012.  He was also the driving force behind the centenary celebrations for the CSCA in 2005 and is a Life member of Merivale Papanui.


These seven join Roger Georgieff as Life Members of Christchurch Metro Cricket.

LM 2

CMCA Life Members (Left to Right)

Roger Georgieff, Heather Steele, Derek Burrell, John Grocott, Gary Saunders,
Mike Johnston, Alan Jamieson, John Thompson