In an age where loyalty is a rare commodity, it’s great to see that partnerships can endure.
Almost 25 years ago the Willows Cricket Club was formed. Mike Dormer, one of the founders, shared a brief history of the club’s relationship with Runacres and the story of the club.
“My relationship with Runacres actually began in 1978, when I introduced Independent Fisheries to the brokerage, whilst in my role as a Director at Independent Fisheries,” Dormer commented.
“The enduring outstanding service Independent Fisheries receive from Runacres, still to this day, is testament to the dedication and commitment of the brokers, which is why they were one of my first contacts when we set-up the Willows Cricket Club.”
Founded in 1994 on a farm near Loburn in Christchurch, the club is focused on fostering youth cricket and the traditions and enjoyment of game itself. Working closely with secondary schools from Wanganui Collegiate all the way to Southland Boys, the Willows is renowned for developing many of New Zealand’s up and coming fist class players.
“The support of sponsors like Runacres has allowed the club to flourish and we are grateful for their support. I first approached Anthony Runacres in 1994, explaining our plans to establish the Willows. He immediately agreed to support us, and the local insurance brokerage has continued to do so ever since,” said Dormer.
David Crick, Managing Director of Runacres is both humbled and proud of the long-standing association with the Willows, commenting, “it’s fantastic to see locals who are willing to contribute so much to developing young kiwi’s whilst upholding traditional, holism values”.
About the Willows Cricket Club
The club’s objectives are two-fold: encouraging players in secondary school first elevens to play cricket with and against experienced players; and offering quality cricket to cricket lovers in a country atmosphere, where families may come to watch and picnic.
Old-fashioned values are promoted through the club, using the game of cricket and associated traditions to encourage the boys to develop their game, life skills and generally become well-rounded contributing members of society.
The club, through supporters, provide Youth Development tours to Sri Lanka and India. These tours provide a wonderful opportunity for selected players to play cricket overseas and they return to New Zealand with their horizons widened and a greater understanding of different cultures and so they will be able to contribute more within their own communities.
The model indeed works, with many of the players having gone on to become first class players themselves and continuing to give back. A shining example is that of Cricket Live, which was set up by Willower Alex Reese after a trip to India with The Willows. Cricket Live’s mission is “to use cricket as a vehicle to develop the life skills and education of underprivileged children from marginalised communities in Sri Lanka and India and provide them with a pathway for their futures.” https://www.cricketlivefoundation.org/
Each year, the Club undertakes many fantastic initiatives including awarding two promising players a full scholarship to Matfen Cricket Club in Northumberland county, England. During their 6-month stay, the players gain life skills through work experience at the Matfen Hall Hotel and golf club as well as playing for the club. Another popular bi-annual event, the Governor General’s weekend sees players and supporters come together to enjoy a match between the Governor General’s youth XI and a team of past New Zealand XI, alongside a prestigious gala dinner held the night before.
As the club gets ready to embark on their 25th season, we wish them all the best and look forward to the next 25 years.