Six years ago, Mark Macdonald was just one of the Dads who put up his hand to coach his sons’ Under 10 side, and his work to inspire a love of cricket through the Winston Hills Cricket Club has now been recognised by Cricket Australia.
On Thursday night, Macdonald was announced as the Cricket Australia Community Cricket Coach of the Year as part of the 2021 Community Cricket Awards.
The award is given to someone who has gone out of their way to make sure that participants are supported to develop both their skills and a lifelong love of cricket.
“As a club coach … for me, it’s more about creating a team ethos, making sure everyone can get a fair go,” Macdonald said.
In so many ways, Macdonald is like thousands across NSW and Australia.
A self-confessed “nuffy” whose “love” of cricket drives him to make the kids he coaches “better people”.
After completing his representative Level 2 coaching accreditation at the end of the 2017/18 season, Macdonald took on the role of club coach, facilitating the coaching development of other Mums and Dads who’ve had minimal experience in cricket.
And the club hasn’t looked back.
It has seen the number of junior teams at Winston Hills grow from six teams four seasons ago to 22.
“With the help of people such as Dean Burke and Claire Polosak at Cricket NSW, we’ve run coaching and umpiring courses for our coaches, so that they’re confident in all aspects of looking after their cricket team,” Macdonald said.
“All the stats show the number one reason for kids not continuing to play a sport is a bad experience.
“If we can minimise that bad experience by making sure our coaches are doing their job properly, then it’s a win for everybody.”
The award is not only reward and recognition for Macdonald, but importantly for the club.
“(There’s been) a fair bit of hard work over the years.”