Ray Heaps, whose role as a cricket administrator has resulted in the awarding of an Order of Australia Medal.
Ray Heaps, whose role as a cricket administrator has resulted in the awarding of an Order of Australia Medal.

Cricket in the genes

By ANITA HULM of The Daily News

RAY Heaps puts his love of cricket down to genetics - his grandmother was mad keen on it.

"She used to go to matches in Sydney in a horse and cart and watch what she called colonial cricket," he said.

Mr Heaps, now living in Kingscliff, but formerly of Lismore, was awarded an Order of Australia Medal on Monday for his service to cricket as an administrator.

And just as his grandmother instilled a love of cricket in him, he has done the same thing for his daughter Michelle who played cricket in northern NSW.

He can remember bouncing a ball into the concrete seawall at Cronulla where the family earned its living operating the beach kiosk.

Mr Heaps went to Sydney to receive his medal and to also tell Michelle face-to-face as the award had been a secret up until the announcement.

When Mr Heaps' grandmother died in 1940, he had already been well and truly bitten by the cricketing bug.

At the tender age of 19 he was nominated for president, secretary and treasurer of a new club which was being formed, but he turned them all down.

"There were blokes there aged in their 30s and 40s and I did not think I had the skills to do it," he said.

It was when he moved to northern NSW with his job as a commercial traveller selling Cherry Ripes and Freddo Frogs, that his administrative work began in earnest.

He was "pitchforked" into the role of president at the Eastern Districts Cricket Club in Lismore and the club enjoyed great success.

Some of his other roles included being president of the Far North Coast Cricket Council from 1975 to 1994 and a delegate to the NSW Country Committee of Management from 1986 to 1996.

He was also president of the Lismore and District Cricket Association for 17 years, eventually becoming a life member.

Mr Heaps has also played an important role in making sure the history of cricket in the area has been documented in various books and documents.

He says his greatest achievement in his cricketing career has been the organisation of a Sheffield Shield match in Lismore in 1975.



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