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August 1, 2002
A journey that began for a 25-year-old Richard Hayward looking for some employment in the English winter in 1979 reaches a new level when he takes up the position of Canterbury's coaching director next month.
The former English county professional with Hampshire and Somerset, has been living in Nelson where he was the first full-time professional coaching director appointed by a district association four years ago.
It was a bold move by the Nelson association, always a front-runner in advancing cricket in its own region, and now the stage has been reached where most district associations should be employing full-time coaching co-ordinators as the result of a drive for increased coaching for districts and clubs by New Zealand Cricket (NZC).
But Hayward is moving into the next phase of cutting edge cricket with Canterbury.
"I'm really looking forward to it. It is a new challenge and something different.
"It is a step-up from what I have been doing and with Canterbury Cricket doing some very exciting things, with their new building and their four-lane indoor training facility, it is a good time to be involved," he said.
Hayward's role will be to look after coaches at all levels of the game, from junior schools with their MILO programmes through to clubs, with the new initiatives that will see all clubs have some coaching available to them through NZC's efforts.
From a broad-based role in Nelson, the job will be much more specific in Christchurch and he will not be so hands-on with teams.
In Nelson he was dealing with all representative teams from Form One through to the Nelson senior side.
Not surprisingly, given it is his trade, Hayward believes coaching development deserves a higher priority.
"Coaching education has taken a back seat to player development. But if you can't get coaches, you are not going to develop players.
"One of my aims in Canterbury will be to get good quality coaches, and lots of them," he said.
Hayward is motivated solely by the desire that young players should enjoy their game sufficiently to want to be involved in it for a lifetime.
"I am putting something back because I want people to get the same enjoyment out of cricket that I got.
"And I do worry that kids are not enjoying the game as much as I did," he said.
The lack of players mingling after games, whether due to drink-driving regulations or because longer hours of work result in players having to get home quickly after games, is a real concern to him.
"It is the responsibility of coaches to encourage mingling between sides. The most enjoyable part of cricket is meeting people.
"And I know that Richard Reid, as chief executive, is looking to improve the enjoyment for clubs down there," he said from Nelson.
"We've got to make cricket more enjoyable, and we have to keep some of the older people in the game for longer," he said.
Having players retire at 30 was not good. It affected the quality of club cricket, and then districts cricket.
The coaching side of the game started when Hayward was 25 and just starting to play professionally in England. He was looking for a job in the winter, and an uncle in Nelson happened to mention to Nelson cricket identity Jock Sutherland that he had a nephew seeking some work.
"Billy Ibadulla had just finished coaching in Nelson and they were looking for someone. Jock Sutherland rang me and over a couple of phone calls we sorted things out. I was an English Level II coach by that stage.
"I came out six years in a row. Then I bought a shop in Nelson and did some summer coaching and when Nelson appointed a full-time coach four years ago I jumped at the chance.
"It was a bit of a financial punt for Nelson at the time, they were the first district association in New Zealand to do it," he said.
But since the news was relayed yesterday that Hayward was leaving the Nelson area, he has had nothing but goodwill and support for his decision.
The only problem is that because Sutherland, his mentor, has been in England, he hasn't been able to let him know.
That apart, Hayward says he is "raring" to go in his new role.
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