DEAN Tyson wasn't the only North Nowra-Cambewarra Cricket Club legend to be honoured at their recent presentation.
The event also saw stalwart Graham Lowbridge become the club's sixth life member, joining the likes of Noel Goodger, Alan Muggleton, Tim Bricklebank, Mark Kemsley, Greg Stephenson and most recently Tyson.
"I had a bit of a suspicion something was up with some comments I heard but was shocked when the announcement was made," Lowbridge said.
"I feel extremely honoured to have my years of service recognised.
"I actually surprised myself and got a little emotional as I didn't expect the impact the announcement would have, which speaks to how large a part the club has played in my life and the positive impact cricket has had on my psyche.
"It's important to acknowledge how lucky I am to have enjoyed the support of my wife with my cricketing pursuits over so many years.
"Without her recognising the importance of cricket to my life, making afternoon teas and at times working alongside me in administrative roles, it would have been so much more difficult."
Lowbridge first joined the Berne Regan Sporting Complex-based club ahead of the 1997-98 season, when his family moved from Sydney to the Shoalhaven.
He initially joined as a player but as his children grew older, Lowbridge transitioned into coaching and club administration roles - before working with both the Shoalhaven District Junior Cricket Association and Greater Southern Zone.
Some of those roles included Norths committee member (five years), Norths MyCricket co-ordinator (five years), Norths Milo Cricket co-ordinator (three years), Norths third grade skipper (eight years), Norths second grade captain (one year), Norths junior coach (15 years), SDJCA representative coach (eight years including Southern Zone and Orange carnival), SDJCA president (two years), SDJCA recorder (three years) and Southern Zone administrator (two years).
"The club has always had a strong family first ethos, as well as producing competitive junior sides which continues to this day," the 53-year-old said.
"What I have particularly noticed over recent years is a growing desire to translate that into successful senior teams as well.
"With a number of premierships in recent seasons, I'd have to say that vision is shaping up nicely."
During that time, Lowbridge has created plenty of lifelong memories, including skippering the club to two third grade premierships (2008-09 and 2010-11).
"There have been so many great memories over the years including winning a third grade grand final outright after trailing by 40 odd on the first innings, as well as playing against and coaching junior players the calibre of Kaleb Phillips, Matt Gilkes and Nic Maddison," Lowbridge, who finished second in the SDCA third grade bowling ranks in the 2020-21 season with 27 wickets at 9.8, said.
"However the most special memory of my time at Norths is playing cricket with two of my sons, Ryan and Angus.
"In fact, there were a number of times wickets fell: bowled Lowbridge, caught Lowbridge with Lowbridge as captain.
"My funniest story was playing at Milton Showground around 13 years ago when a Norths batsmen hit a six which landed in the caravan park, before bouncing completely through the open windows of a car parked near the ground before rolling on its way - I've ever seen anything like it."
On top of that, Lowbridge will be the first to admit how big of an impact the club has had on his life.
"I travel to Sydney each week and work a fairly stressful job in IT," Lowbridge, who is also a level two coach and NSWCUSA umpire, said.
"Cricket and the club I play for has been my stress relief valve for so long that it has become part of who I am.
"I am without a doubt a cricket tragic, being involved in all aspects of the game, but above all, it is the camaraderie and friends I have made along the way that has made it so special to me.
"I have formed lifelong friendships over my time at Norths with past and present players such as Al Muggleton, Bob Ducie, Greg Stephenson and Paul Davidson to name just a few.
"Cricket has allowed me to push myself to perform, given me the opportunity to share my love of the game but also enjoy a break from the rigours of my professional life.
"My Grandfather played with Don Bradman at the St George Club in Sydney and while I didn't have any famous teammates, apart from the one and only Bob Ducie, cricket is such a part of who I am."
Lowbridge, who has played 266 matches across 23 seasons seeing him claim 461 wickets at 17.45, score 1502 at 6.6 and take 116 catches and two stumpings, now plans to continue to pass on his love of the game to future stars, to ensure Norths' future is bright.
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