Auckland Cricket salute David Keane

When you speak to Shore Road and Orakei grounds man David Keane one thing is clear – his passion for his work is second to none, he genuinely enjoys what he does.

Recently, Keane was acknowledged by Auckland Cricket as the ‘grounds person of the year’ for his work on the Shore Road and Orakei blocks.

The acknowledgment is just reward for a superb season behind the roller and while Keane is the first to admit his job isn’t for everyone, he says when it’s done right it can be very rewarding.

“I try and prepare a pitch that has something for everyone. If a batsman wants to apply himself, he’ll get runs and if a bowler, be it pace or spin, work hard enough they’ll get something out of it as well which is a bloody hard thing to do in a cricket wicket especially with the weather in Auckland!” Keane says.

The 2016/17 season was particularly trying for the grounds people across the region with the weather wreaking havoc on pitch preparation times.

In those trying condition, Keane has shone on the Shore Road block, drawing praise from Parnell Premier Captain Dave Goddard.

“This award comes as no surprise to me – David is extremely dedicated and puts a lot of effort into Shore Rd and Orakei. It’s great turning up on Saturday knowing that (assuming good weather) you are going to get a good fair contest on a true wicket,” Goddard says.

Praise for Keane is widespread and he says he enjoys the interaction and feedback from the cricketers.

“I make a point of talking to the batsmen to see how it played and talk to the bowlers to see if there was any seam movement,” he says.

Keane has been doing the pitch at Shore Road for four years now and has over 20 years of experience working on grounds across Auckland.

It’s that experience that he now wants to impart to other aspiring groundies.

“I get a big buzz out of teaching young guys coming through.”

“We don’t last forever, us old buggers. There was an older guy at Rec Services, John Jamieson, he taught me so much when I just started and I’m at a point now where I want to do the same,” he says.

For a job that can be both physically and mentally taxing, Keane says a passion for cricket is a must and nothing can beat a good contest between bat and ball.

“You need to always maintain a positive attitude and when things go right it can be very satisfying. If you’ve prepared a good surface and the guys turn up on a sunny day with your block looking fantastic and both teams get runs and wickets it can be a very rewarding job.”

Auckland Cricket would like to congratulate David Keane for winning ‘Grounds Person of the Year’ and thank all the grounds people across Auckland for the hard work they put in.