FOUNDER of Bathurst’s Tiger Titans cricket team, Ross McCreath, has won an award and bagged R50 000 prize money in the National Youth Development Agency’s inaugural South African Youth Awards.
The ceremony was held at Gallagher Estate in Midrand last Saturday.
The NYDA South African Youth Awards recognise individuals or organisations that have made a meaningful contribution to youth development. Nominees have to be between 14 and 35 years old and residing in South Africa.
“These are the first ever national awards solely dedicated to recognising outstanding achievements by young South Africans,” the NYDA said in a statement.
Eighteen-year-old McCreath was a finalist in the health and wellbeing category of the awards. He was nominated by the President’s Award, a youth empowerment programme in which the Tiger Titans have been involved.
McCreath, who is presently spending a gap year doing odd jobs in London, was not able to attend the function, but his mother Anne asked Martin Scholtz, chief executive of the President’s Award, to attend on his behalf.
Contacted by TotT, Ross said: “I feel very privileged as I know the other nominees are fantastic people doing extraordinary things.
“It makes me feel very proud of what the team – my mother, father, Duzi Mkalipi, and Gladman Xali – have done for the Tiger Titans. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg regarding their cricket talents, ambitions and success as we still have a long road to walk until I feel the club is where the dream is.”
“It was a big surprise to all of us,” said mom Anne. “When I told Ross he had won he said it was fantastic.
“At the end of last month we knew he was shortlisted and I was asked to supply documentation proving the project and provide Ross’s ID. About 10 days before the function I was told he was a finalist and asked if someone would attend on his behalf,” said Anne.
For the health and wellbeing category 47 people were nominated. The panel of nine judges, which included chief executive of Love Life Grace Mhlaba, education analyst Graeme Bloch and chief executive of the Bembani Group Titus Baloyi, decided on McCreath, who formed the Tiger Titans to give the youth in Nolukhanyo township in Bathurst something to do during the school holidays.
“His club gives youth access to pro-trials and also gives them a chance to experience life beyond township boundaries,” the NYDA stated.
“Up until Martin phoned from the function we didn’t even know what he had won,” said Anne. “We thought it could just have been a certificate. We didn’t even know there was prize money.”
Last year the Tiger Titans won the Murray and Roberts’ Jack Cheetham Award, after being a runner-up two years before that. Two years ago McCreath was also invited to address sports dignitaries at a dinner put on by the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award World Fellowship at Lords’ Cricket Ground.
Anne said her son had met up with a lot of people he first met at Lord’s and has done a lot of networking in London.
“He hasn’t forgotten about the club,” she said. “From London he’s organised a charity golf day for the Titans in Johannesburg in September.”
“We need more support from EP and Cricket South Africa,” said Ross. “We have gone five years with minimal help and we have done fantastic things and if you ask those who have watched a Tiger Titans cricket game they will only say positive things!
Ross will return to South Africa next month for the new cricket season. He does not yet know what he will do with the prize money.