Ray still a cut above the rest
RAY Haylock would be the first to tell you he is not in it for the attention.
He just loves his cricket — has done since he started playing as a 14-year-old in Gin Gin in 1954.
Today he mans the mower at Salter Oval, cutting the grass to a length that ensures a well struck shot is rewarded every run it deserves.
He has devoted continuous service to the region as a selector, umpire, club treasurer, vice-president and president over a period of 20 years.
He is a life member of Combined Country Wests, Bundaberg Cricket Association and Queensland Country Cricket.
Three years ago his efforts were recognised with an OAM, but more recently he received perhaps the most coveted accolade yet.
Haylock was awarded a limited edition International Cricket Council centenary medal — one of 100 in Australia and 1000 worldwide.
“It’s pretty special, something only a few worldwide get and it’s a one-off. It’s tremendous really,” he said.
Haylock was presented with the medal at the Gabba during the recent Test match by ICC director Jack Clarke.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport. Not only is this recognition for the 50 worthy winners of the medal nationally, but recognition for the thousands who contribute to making cricket Australia’s favourite sport,” Clarke said.
Only six were awarded in Queensland — Gympie’s Jim Geiger was also among the recipients, for his involvement since 1948, including 50 years straight as president of Gympie’s Wests Cricket Club.
“He’s been here since day dot, so it shows what sort of company you hold with this award,” Haylock said.
The volunteer groundsman said only Richie Giles remained involved from his playing days, and acknowledged how much the cricketing landscape had changed in that time.
“But it’s my passion, and I hope I’m still out here mowing the grass for a while yet.”
As for the future of Australian cricket, Ray seems to think we are in safe hands.