An Australian Test Cricket legend has thrown his support behind a push to rename a Southern Highlands cricket oval.
Doug Walters adds his name to a long list of cricket identities and the local cricket community eager to rename Centennial Park cricket oval in honour of Brian Martin.
In a message to Wingecarribee Shire Council highlighting his support for the renaming proposal Walters described Centennial Park Oval as "Brian's second home".
"I have had the pleasure of knowing Brian Martin for many years," he said. "More recently, during my coaching classes at Centennial Park Oval, I have noticed that this oval seems to be Brian's second home as he is always there working on various projects, maintaining the pitch, the field, the nets and surrounding areas.
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"It would be very fitting to have Centennial Park Oval within the precinct of Centennial Park named in his honour as a just tribute for all the great work he has contributed to both the development and maintenance of Centennial Park Oval and the fostering of cricket in so many ways for over a quarter of a century."
Chevalier College, Oxley College, Gib Gate and the senior statesmen of local cricket from the over 50s and 60s sides have also thrown their weight behind the campaign.
"Brian has been tireless in contributing to the upgrading of the amenity," Southern Highlands Over 60's Cricket Club president David Wells said in his written submission to council.
"The quality of the infield, outfield and practice pitches are in no small way due to his efforts which are for the direct benefit of school-aged, youth and local grade cricketers.
"The entire Highlands cricket community is in his (Brian's) debt for doing so. As a direct consequence, Centennial Oval is today one of the district's leading cricket venues.
"Moreover, for many years, Brian has been an indefatigable advocate for the development of the skills of youth cricketers through his enthusiastic and respected coaching."
Highlands cricket clubs have also been quick to back the proposal, in recognition of Brian's 25 years of dedication to local cricket, including developing the oval at Centennial Park.
Robertson/Burrawang president Aaron de Jager's submission reflected support provided by leaders, members and families of the district's other clubs - Hill Top, Mittagong, Bowral Blues, Bowral, Moss Vale, Bundanoon and Wingello.
"Brian is an ornament to the game of cricket in our area and for many years has given countless hours of his time to perform many volunteer roles, not only for his beloved Bowral Blues Cricket Club, but at many other levels as well. His efforts have directly benefited hundreds of cricketers in our region," Aaron wrote.
"We could not think of a better person to have the beautiful oval named in honour of Brian Martin."
Steve Edwards, who has a 20-year history with Highlands Cricket and was Highlands District Cricket Association head coach and representative co-ordinator for 10 years until retiring recently wrote "... nothing was too much for Brian. He was very popular with the kids and head a great affinity with them. His coaching ability is without question and is demonstrated by the number of kids who have moved on to play at higher levels, as well as the never-ending queue of players seeking his counsel."
"All of this was done because of his love of the game and for his desire to help junior players reach their potential - and he has never taken a cent for any of these countless hours," Edwards continued.
"Not just content with coaching, managing and selecting, Brian has been involved with just about every cricket committee there is in the Highlands.
"The proposal to name Centennial Park Oval in honour of Brian Martin is an exceptional idea... nobody has had anywhere near the involvement of cricket as Brian and it would be a fitting way of saying to him - Thank you."
Former England Test player and long-term Highlands resident Barry Knight has also provided support, along with Cricket NSW, the Greater Illawarra Zone Administrator and juniors who have gone onto bigger things with cricket, thanks to early help from Brian, including Australian women's player Lauren Cheatle.
In all, some 100 individual written expressions of support have been received, including expressions from players, families, administrators and umpires.
Taking into account support from club, team and school leaders, the support represents hundreds of people and the vast majority of the Highlands cricketing community.
"We cannot thank people enough for putting their time and hearts into these responses," Bowral Blues Cricket Club President Ian Pope said.
"Wingecarribee Shire Council said a case had to be made for the oval naming to proceed, and the overwhelming majority of the Highlands cricketing community and beyond has spoken in spades."
Bowral Blues Cricket Club, which has applied to Wingecarribee Shire Council for the oval naming, is waiting for feedback as council staff and councillors review the submissions.
The proposal is for the oval within the Centennial Park precinct to be named after Brian Martin, meaning there would be no name change per se, i.e. the precinct name 'Centennial Park' would remain.
Dated and signed letters or emails of support can still be sent to Michael.Heinecke@norskeskog.com Correspondence can be addressed 'To Whom It May Concern'.