Chuffed. That was the down to earth reaction from former Taranaki Cricket Association chairman Neil Sulzberger after he was awarded the Bert Sutcliffe medal. The medal, presented at the New Zealand Cricket Awards on Thursday, recognises service to the sport by an individual.
Sulzberger, who was involved in cricket in Taranaki and Central Districts for five decades as a coach and an administrator, found out six weeks ago that he was to receive the medal.
"It's been a well kept secret," he said. "I had no idea though what I was going to say because I did not know what the questions would be." Sulzberger made special mention of his family, especially his wife Jill, for supporting him as he tackled different roles within the game.
He retired before last season from his position as chairman of TCA and admitted he found it different being on the sidelines of Pukekura Park without a number of jobs to do.
Sulzberger was given a table of 10 at the national awards which he shared with his family and TCa president Neville Frampton.
TCA spokesman Travis Stewart believed the award was thoroughly deserved.
"The award is a great honour and recognises Neil's contribution to not only Taranaki Cricket, but also to Central Districts Cricket and New Zealand Cricket," he said. "The Bert Sutcliffe Medal is the pinnacle for volunteer awards in New Zealand cricket," he said. "It will take pride of place along side the ICC Centenary Medal Neil received in 2009 for his contribution as a volunteer to cricket in NZ."
Sulzberger said he only ever got involved in cricket to help others.
"You don't look for recognition, you just go and do what you have to do and do your best with it. It's about providing opportunities for other people."