Taranaki Cricket chairman John McElroy and operations manager Travis Stewart. Stewart is moving on from the role after 15 years. (file photo)
It hasn’t felt like a job. That’s how Travis Stewart sums up his tenure at the helm of the Taranaki Cricket Association (TCA).
The 43-year-old is standing down as the operations manager after 15 years and believes it’s time for someone new to take the association forward. He leaves the organization with a healthy balance sheet and strong relationships between the TCA and clubs.
Stewart joined the TCA in 2007 after a meeting in garage of then-chairman Neil Sulzburger. He admitted he didn’t know what to do on his first day of work but changed the organizational structure over the years, which was reliant on volunteers.
“The board was very operational. Each director had a portfolio, from rep, club and junior cricket,” Stewart said.
“Over time, it moved towards more of a governance board.”
After being fresh off the floor in the Kingsway Teamwear sales team, he was the only staff member at TCA. Now the organization employees three staff across the development and school support areas.
He molded the job into his own and he crafted the job description, which will give the new person structure, he said.
Stewart also represented Taranaki 73 times between the 2002/03-2011/12 seasons. He scored four hundreds, with a high score of 186, and took 130 dismissals as wicketkeeper – third overall in Taranaki.
Stewart smiles when he reflects on his highlights, including hosting Twenty20 domestic finals at Pukekura Park.
“Watching those events run smoothly and successful and having NZC (New Zealand Cricket) applaud us for the job [is a highlight],” he said.
While he was coaching, he recalls Blackcap Will Young and Central Districts’ (CD) Tom Bruce coming through the age groups.
Former CD batsman Dean Robinson had already come through by then but remembers Kaylum Boshier, Tom McDougall and Jordie Barrett.
“We developed some really good cricketers.”
With a gap-year lined up and no plans for work yet, Stewart is thankful for his opportunities.
“It’s been a great lifestyle and it doesn’t feel like a job when you’ve involved in a sport you love.”
TCA chairman John McElroy thanked Stewart for his service and was impressed with his match-day hosting.
“His knowledge around first-class cricket and his contacts are imperative to making our first-class scene as successful as it is. CD want to bring games here because we can run cricket – that’s all Travis.”
He said the role has changed from operations to a general manager title with plenty of interest.
Applications close at the end of February.
– This content has been brought to you by Sports News Taranaki.