After participating in more than 30 Country Week competitions, local sportsperson Shane Tobin has been inducted into the exclusive "Country Week Legends" group.
The presentation was made at the Alcohol.Think Again Senior Country Cricket Week, with Tobin now one of just nine in WA to have been awarded the honour.
Tobin, now the long time Shire of Esperance Club Development officer, began playing cricket at a young age and, with a love of sport, competed in the school-based competitions at just nine years old.
“Traditionally, it was a time when you played cricket or tennis in summer and football or hockey in winter– there wasn’t as much choice as there is now,” he said.
“I ended up playing seniors quite young locally, not necessarily because I was good but because our seniors weren’t particularly strong at the time.
“I played for Ports in the senior competition.
“It was something to look forward to on the weekends.
“As a kid, you always look forward to playing and training.
“That’s what you talked about – it’s the connection with your mates and doing something you all enjoyed.
“Going to a mate’s place to play cricket during the school holidays or organising to play during recess and lunchtime on Castletown Oval.
“I wasn’t the academic type, I was always attracted to the sporting activities.”
Drawn to the competition early on, Tobin described the event as one that allowed regional players the opportunity to play at the next level.
“Country Week was really exciting,” he said.
“When the milk expiry date got to the Country Week date – I was excited.
“You’re playing against people who share that love of the game and you’ve got five games of cricket in six days.
“If you have a bad day, you can fix it the next.
“We played everywhere from Albany to Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and Bunbury.”
Whilst he appreciates the award recognition, Tobin said he simply loved the sport and was passionate about the many benefits of Country Week for sportspeople in smaller regional areas like Esperance.
“The recognition was certainly nice, but because I’ve been doing it for such a long time and I genuinely enjoy it, I don’t feel like a ‘legend’,” he said.
“I feel like I’ve been involved in a sport that I liked and have been enjoying myself.
“It certainly wasn’t a chore, I’ve loved every minute of it.
“I really care about the Esperance Cricket Association.
“I’ve always thought that the association really fought above its weight level and we got into A Grade Country Week for 15 years.
“I’ve always thought we’ve done really well and I’m really passionate about Esperance doing well at that level.
“I believe association level sport is really important to the community because you get to meet and mix with those from other teams and really break those barriers.
“There is a real flow on effect to the community, too.
“I think our biggest barrier is our distance – it’s a huge effort.
“These regional competitions are essential because they allow you to develop and play at that next level.
“You bring those skills back home and your local competition improves, too.”
Tobin extended thanks to the Cricket Association for the award nomination and his family and friends and encouraged sportspeople across the region to remain involved.
“I’d like to thank the Cricket Association for nominating me for this award, I really appreciate that,” he said.
“I really appreciate the support from Esperance Cricket Association as well.
“To me, whether you play one Country Week or 100 or 150, I just encourage everyone to hang in there and keep doing it because it’s a brilliant event.”