She won’t like reading this, but Canterbury’s Catherine Campbell could be considered the Mother of New Zealand Cricket (NZC).
As well as a successful twelve year playing career with the WHITE FERNS, which included four World Cup appearances, Campbell has stayed in the game and is currently General Manager of Cricket Operations for NZC.
Today (Friday September 22nd) marks her 20th year working for the organisation.
Campbell's involved in organising all of New Zealand’s elite cricket - and this season that equates to over 300 days of play.
“You’ve got to plan well and be very detail orientated,” said Campbell, who is based at NZC’s High Performance Centre in Lincoln.
“Sometimes I do think ‘ohh my god how am I going to get all this to work’, but you do make it work and that’s through trusting people and having good systems.
“There’s always a solution to a problem and at the end of the day - it’s not life or death.”
From BLACKCAPS and WHITE FERNS internationals, to men’s and women’s domestic seasons, to age group and A programme fixtures, as well as liaising on the ICC Under19 Cricket World Cup, Campbell oversees it all.
“I love the game and the people involved in it - at all levels.
“I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve had a sick day. I love coming to work and I like the people involved in cricket - it’s a great time.”
NZC CEO David White paid tribute to Campbell’s outstanding contribution to the game.
“On behalf of NZC, I’d like to congratulate Catherine on her 20 years of service,” he said.
“For us, Catherine is quite simply a cricketing treasure. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that you can only get from an extensive career of playing and administering the game.
“It is tremendous to have someone of her calibre leading our cricket operations and I know she is widely respected by players and officials. She is also held in extremely high regard by other cricketing nations and at the ICC.
“It’s a privilege to work alongside Catherine and comforting to know our game is in such safe hands," said White.
New Zealand Cricket President Debbie Hockley said Campbell deserves all the recognition she receives for her 20 years of hard work.
“I had the honour of playing alongside Catherine in our international careers and it’s fantastic that we can both still be involved with New Zealand Cricket, particularly in such revolutionary times,” Hockley said.
“Catherine is a total professional and works extremely hard behind the scenes to deliver summer after summer of seamless cricket.
“Seeing her in a position of leadership within the organisation is exciting and I know everyone really values her skills and experience.”
Campbell played 85 ODIs and 9 Tests for the WHITE FERNS between 1988 and 2000 and was renowned for her miserly off-spin bowling, which consistently conceded just over two runs per over and earned her the nickname ‘dot’.
The 2000 World Cup triumph in New Zealand is an obvious highpoint for Campbell, not least because she had a role to play off the field as well as on it.
“The whole thing was really surreal,” she recalls.
“With my role at New Zealand Cricket I had spent the year organising the event and then stepped away with about a week to go to play England in a warm up series.
“The whole thing was so well followed, there were so many people watching it and we did well… It was a great time – everything about it”.
The game’s changed a lot since then.
Women can now play professionally full-time, with 15 national contracts awarded annually to our top female players.
“The game’s certainly transformed. It’s much more of a partnership now between all the various stakeholders.
“It’s changed for both males and females. When I started playing the guys weren’t professional either.
“But the women’s game has made huge strides. The opportunities here and overseas have grown and the standard of play has improved.
“Right now, if I was a talented young female athlete with decent hand-eye coordination - cricket would be right on my radar.
“The opportunity to consistently play for your country in big world tournaments as well the opportunities in overseas leagues make it a very desirable career path.”
And who knows where the career path could take you…