By CHRIS KARAS
A BUSY life is a productive life – that is the motto for North Ryde RSL Cricket Club’s indefatigable player-administrator Kel Gray.
Having chalked up nearly 40 years service to the sport, evergreen Kel continues to thrive as an all rounder on the field in the Northern District Cricket Association and a damn good official off it in his dual role as club president and secretary.
The tireless Gray, 48, had plenty to celebrate recently when he helped North Ryde win the Northern Cricket Union first grade premiership on turf and chalk up a career milestone of 10,000 runs.
It has been an incredible journey to date for the widely respected stalwart who began his career with North Ryde RSL as an 11 year old in the Gladesville Junior Cricket Association under the coaching of his father Des, a former grade cricketer with Randwick.
Gray represented Gladesville as a fresh faced leg spinner in the U/14 Harold Moore Shield junior representative series before graduating to the fifth grade ranks with North Ryde in the Northern District Cricket Association as a 17 year old in 1987.
Kel has just completed his 28th season in the Northern District Cricket Association which includes 15 with North Ryde RSL and 13 campaigns with The Ranch.
He also played two summers with Gladesville Sporties in the Gladesville A Grade competition in 1992-93 and 1993-94.
A stylish batsman, Kel’s highest score is 157 – ironically while playing for The Ranch in a semi final against North Ryde RSL.
Another career highlight for Gray was earning the Player of the Test Match award against Norton Oakes with scores of 79 and 32 not out in England that helped North Ryde reclaim the Ashes.
Gray is a two time winner of the John Prowse NDCA Cricketer of the Year award; three time recipient of the Graham Cummins NDCA First Grade Cricketer of the Year trophy and twice has finished the leading top grade wicket taker in the Association.
With 584 career wickets – including 365 in first grade – and 10,000 runs under his belt, the gun all rounder ranks alongside the Association’s all time greats.
While Kel is highly regarded for his on field achievements, its his administrative skills that have impressed keen judges over the past two decades.
He has spent over 20 years as an NDCA executive member – serving as a club delegate, former Association president and as the current Senior Vice President.
Gray was the co founder of The Ranch Cricket Club where he held all positions and has spent nine seasons on the North Ryde RSL Cricket executive.
Kel was involved with the inception of the Northern Cricket Union (turf competition played between Northern District and Northern Suburbs Associations) and is the current President.
He represented NDCA, spoke at Council meetings and liaised with Councillors to help secure a turf wicket at Marsfield, which was the first in the area for over 20 years.
Kel also secured a grant from the NSW Government for turf cricket wicket covers for ELS Hall No.3, Marsfield Park and Eastwood Oval.
When not dealing with cricket matters, Kel can be found coaching his three daughters Brianna, 15; Karli, 12 and Ellie, 9 in netball with wife Julie at North Ryde RSL Netball Club.