Dobra Dan: a warm welcome to all club members, our new members and our supporters, along with our integral and loyal sponsors and, of course, our family and friends.
I would like to also make special mention to our patron Frank (Frano) Vujnovich and our distinguished founding members John Vujnovich, Paul Vujnovich, John Arnerich and Anthony Govorko who, along with myself, got this ball rolling and put their energy and skills across their diverse professional areas to make things happen.
On behalf of the New Zealand Croatia Cricket Club executive as 2014/15 President, I have great pleasure, and it is indeed an honour, in reporting at our inaugural AGM; reviewing the positive progress of the club for the 2014/15 season in which our club became an Incorporated Society, on 30 July 2014.
I feel extremely proud to be part of the New Zealand Croatia Cricket Club. Our hardworking, passionate and dedicated volunteers – committee members, have contributed to our rapid success over a short period of time as a club.
These volunteers, together with our players, supporters and our sponsors Busck Prestressed Concrete (Whangarei), ANZ Cricket World, Kookaburra NZ, Triumph & Disaster and Hydr8; along with the kind support from family and their extended friends, make New Zealand Croatia Cricket the strong and successful unit that it is.
I am adamant that our members are the measure of the success of the club.
Anthony Govorko has been an unsung hero of our first year, to the point where I’m sure his wife Sally thinks that I am his second spouse with all the phone calls and jobs to do that he receives from me! Anthony’s passion, work ethic and attention to process along with the drive to grow our heritage are something he should be extremely proud of. He has played an important part in paving the way to what we have been fortunate enough to create in our short time of establishment – thank you Ant.
Like Anthony, the Vujnovich brothers have represented Croatia, and gave us a good template to get us up and running. John played a leading hand in driving the initial club information, our logo and uniforms, and helped drive the collective group in a strong direction, thanks to his previous experience with Croatia.
I would like to thank Paul Vujnovich for his energy in creating our Constitution, but more than that, for his real passion and resolve with which lifts us all. It’s always exciting when Paul brings his thoughts to the table and proposes new initiatives from the success and skills he has achieved across the board in business or life.
An integral part of any club or organisation is its Treasurer (bean counter), and John Arnerich’ s attention to detail has been simply superb – when it comes to ticking the boxes and doing things by the book, you wouldn’t find anyone better. As we are well aware, cricket is also a game of statistics and to have John as our trainspotter in the club goes a long way to adding to our all-important history.
I am also grateful to have the support of Margot who has travelled the country (and the world at times) to support us and who could forget that 1-0 off 0.2 balls on debut. Margot has played a fundamental part in the success of the club in achieving far-reaching media coverage, and a strong social following, from Croatia to Cricinfo, in a short space of time. These have been a godsend, not only in helping us form and convey our identity as Croatian cricketers, but enabling us to add value for the sponsors and partners who support us. At times it has felt that we have had more coverage than the BLACKCAPS and this is due to the tireless work, professionalism and coverage that we have all come to witness through her work and this is something we certainly never imagined in our short time of existence would happen. It’s fair to say we are extremely fortunate to have Margot involved with our club.
As we started to put our jigsaw puzzle together, and our committee grew, we succeeded in formalising the design and purchase of our first official playing and training strips – aided by a generous deal from Canterbury of New Zealand.
Daniel Marsic has also been invaluable, along with John Arnerich, in collating our statistics on CricHQ and creating our CricHQ official profile.
I would like to make mention of Matt Adsett for his efforts around Health and Fitness and in keeping our players on park – Matt's passion, professionalism, ethics and respect certainly rubs off on our members and this was prevalent on the two overseas tours we have been fortunate to be involved in.
We were lucky enough to form a relationship with ANZ Cricket World on our return from the Cook Islands in 2013. This translated into a maximum $5000 bespoke grant, which was an extraordinary achievement for a newly-formed club.
This enabled us to purchase our uniforms.
We have also been supported by:
- New Zealand Croatian cultural clubs here in Auckland
- The New Zealand Cricket Players Association, who kindly donated uniforms for our inaugural tour and have also provided us with significant background support
- Douglas Johnson & Co Ltd – the agent for Kookaburra, who provided us with bats and equipment which we were able to then give away and use as player of the day awards to promising young cricketers in Rarotonga and here in New Zealand
With no exception, 2015 has proved to be a successful season for our club – this has been both on the playing field and behind the scenes.
When I think back to meeting up at a café with John Vujnovich and Anthony Govorko in the little town of old Warkworth, Northland, 18 months ago to discuss the possibility of forming the New Zealand Croatia Cricket identity, and taking a touring party to the Cook Islands, it has far exceeded expectations.
The committee has enabled a positive season, working tirelessly to ensure it ran smoothly for the club. I have learned first-hand how much hard work it takes, and I am extremely grateful for the support and assistance the committee has given me as I have transitioned into the role of Club President.
Some achievements for the club include:
- Setting up and adopting a new constitution
- Relationship-building and support from NZCPA, Kookaburra, Canterbury, Busck, Triumph & Disaster, Hyrdr8
- Establishing a committee and job descriptions
- Building a club database
- Creating a website, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook page
- Introducing a club/committee newsletter
- Creating a club logo
- Purchasing new playing and dress gear, along with equipment
- Successfully negotiating sponsorship and funding
- Introducing an initiative to have invited guests involved in matches and tours – promoting and experiencing our culture both on and off the field
- And of course, hosting and being invited to participate in 20 high-quality fixtures to date, which in a short period of time is a real credit to this club.
A significant achievement has also been securing Frano Vujnovich as our first club Patron.
- In our first year, we have played two international representative teams: AERO Cook Islands men and women.
We also played:
- Northern Districts representative side Northern Maori in Auckland and Rotorua, in double headers – Rotorua being our first win on NZ soil
- Auckland Cavaliers in Auckland
- A strong NZCPA Masters XI
- Future Auckland Aces U19’s at St Kengtigern's College
- We also headed to Northland where we played the Cobham Club XI at Cobham Oval which is also a first-class and international ground
- All these tours and matches were a HUGE success both on and off the field.
Our cultural fraternity was strongly in evidence at our fixtures against Northern Maori with a large, family-based crowd at Colin Maiden Park, and it was a proud moment to see the Croatian spirit and unity in evidence on this day – as the result there was a 10-minute segment dedicated to us on SKY Sport’s Cricket Show.
It was great to see a shot of the Croatian lamb on the spit, as well, and a wonderful spread, in true Croatian style, with all the families contributing.
Our Return to Rarotonga Tour was the evidence of the committee’s hard work bearing fruit, with the growth of the touring party from 11 players to 13. We could have had more still – had it not been for some players work and travel commitments.
I am very proud of the way we conducted ourselves on our tour in 2013. It laid the foundation, built on by our media and social media machine, to the point where our overall player database has increased from 11 to 40 playing members – something I commend you all on, you should all once again be very proud!
I would like to formally take this opportunity to advise you that I will be standing down from my position as President of the club, however I will be staying on as a committee member to continue to support and help where ever I can.
Being one of the founding members and getting the fortunate opportunity to work closely with you all and leading, along with others, many of the initiatives on and off the field, along with laying the all-important foundations and relationships that have been created, I feel that the timing is right.
I believe change in any form, be it sport, business or life for that matter, is invaluable to grow, along with a new face and a different voice that leads new initiatives and developments for the club.
Moving forward, this can only be refreshing for any organisation to keep evolving and grow from the positive happenings that we have all been part of and no doubt we can be very proud of the chain of events that have happened over the past two years.
Like anything there will always be challenges as we seek to get many more good folk involved and part of our club. Currently we have targeted the Auckland and Northern Districts catchment areas.
I look forward to seeing us spread the word so that possibly through a match being staged in the South Island or further afield or abroad, we are able to continue promoting our growth, along with promoting our all import culture.
Personally I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the committee working alongside me and for, at times, the demands and expectations that come with being a successful committee when wanting to make things happen for the good of the club and its people.
I am certainly looking forward to seeing New Zealand Croatia Cricket paving its way, as an amateur club with high respect, into a strong culture with the opportunity of fostering and developing our young cricketers of the future by continuing to promote our growth and all-important culture – and most importantly having all-important fun along the way.
I wish the new President all the very best with continuing to grow the club and in setting the benchmark for other clubs and organisations to follow, and to inspire, and more than anything to forge ongoing relationships that we have already seen can be extremely powerful and at the end of the day very special!
It’s fitting in closing my president’s report for 2015 and finish up by saying “Together We Love You All”.