Hawera local Kerry Firth has won the title of New Zealand’s Favourite Kiwi Cricket Umpire in a nationwide search by New Zealand Cricket and Specsavers to reward an unsung hero of club cricket.
Competing with a very high calibre of entries, Kerry, aged 47, claimed the title having dedicated over 20 years to volunteer umpiring.
Mr Firth, a Plant Manager for Fonterra by day and avid club member of Hawera United Cricket Club after hours, says he has enjoyed a lifelong love affair with cricket and is at his happiest on the pitch.
“I am not normally speechless, but I am humbled to have been named as New Zealand’s Favourite Cricket Umpire. My focus is getting kids to love cricket the way that I do. I never expected anything like this and hope it will encourage others to consider umpiring.”
Rodger McHarg, New Zealand Cricket’s National Umpiring Manager, says, “Congratulations to Kerry and to all of the finalists. We are thrilled to be involved in this initiative to acknowledge the role of volunteer umpires in our sport.”
Graeme Edmond, Managing Director of Specsavers New Zealand says, “This competition highlights the amazing work of thousands of Kiwi volunteers like Kerry, who make grassroots cricket accessible to all New Zealanders. Their contributions are invaluable – I just wish we could reward each and every one.”
Mr Firth found out late last week that he was the winner and was almost immediately whisked up to Auckland to take up his prize in what has been a whirlwind few days for him. His prize included tickets to the ANZ ODI New Zealand vs England game on Saturday. New Zealand Cricket also organized for him to get a behind the scenes tour of Eden Park pre match day and chat to some high profile umpires as they previewed the pitch. As well as flights and accommodation, he also won $1000 prize money.