Colin Mann. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
A former international rugby prop with little cricket background has won a prestigious New Zealand Cricket Award.
Masterton Intermediate School teacher Colin Mann, who won the Best Female Strategy Award for the 2019-20 season, is the second Wairarapa Cricket identity to be recognised for work in developing female cricket.
Wairarapa Cricket operations manager Simon Roseingrave won the equivalent award for the 2014-15 season.
Mann, a 63-year-old from Zimbabwe, played 12 tests for his country at loosehead prop and was on target to play in the 1991 World Cup only to be ruled out by injury.
He moved to New Zealand in 2005 and arrived in Masterton in 2014 when he joined MIS.
“We moved here for a better lifestyle. There was nothing for my kids in Zimbabwe” he said.
“We came over for a holiday and to see some friends, and three months later we were back here. New Zealand offered everything we ever wanted.”
But it wasn’t until he moved to Masterton that he got involved in cricket.
“I played social cricket at high school but had always enjoyed the game,” he said.
“When I arrived at MIS in 2014, there was nothing really for the girls.
“There were a couple of teams but nothing for the 200 girls, so I started getting the girls involved in the practices and playing,” Mann said.
“We practise on Tuesdays from 3pm to 4.30pm, and we play matches on Thursdays from 3pm to about 6pm. This term we had 38 registered girls.”
Mann said it’s not only about getting the girls to play while at MIS.
“The boys get club cricket when they leave here, but the girls get nothing, and it’s great to see them still playing.
“The MIS First XI recently played the Wairarapa College Second XI and every single kid was MIS or ex-MIS.”
“One of the first girls I helped coach was Kayarna Jones-Dennes, who played for the New Zealand Maori Secondary Schoolgirls team last month.”
Mann was modest about his achievement.
“It’s not an award for me. It’s for Wairarapa Cricket. If I didn’t have their support it wouldn’t have happened,” he said.
“Simon and [female development officer] Melissa Hansen have been fantastic. If I need their help, they’re always there to help.”
Mann was also full of praise for his school.
“MIS is a great school and the cricket has been very successful.
“[Principal] Russell Thompson is brilliant. If you’re keen he’ll find a way to do it and back you all the way.”
Roseingrave said the award is the result of a lot of hard work and that Wairarapa Cricket were incredibly proud of his achievement.
“It is well deserved. Colin has done a fantastic job getting the girls playing. It means an awful lot to him, and he was almost in tears when we told him of the award.”
Mann won the Wairarapa Cricket Volunteer of the Year for the 2018-19 season.
The award continues a great run of success for Wairarapa Cricket at the national awards.
Doug Bracewell won the Sir Jack Newman Trophy for services to junior cricket in 2019, and Red Star were named the club of the year in 2018.