NORM Reeves' love affair with cricket began at the knee of his grandfather and has extended ever since.
Reeves went from learning about the game from his grandfather William Swindon, the first captain of Upper Ferntree Gully Cricket Club, to becoming a player and then official in his own right.
This year will be his 60th in the game. He started as a player in 1952 and has spent the past 26 years as president of the Ferntree Gully District Cricket Association.
At the end of this season, Reeves will cease his tenure as president and move into retirement from cricket administration.
The 70-year-old Croydon resident announced the move at the association's annual meeting, surprising many but allowing the association time to find a successor.
Reeves says he wants to sit back and enjoy more free time. "I've been in the chair for some time. I was senior vice-president for many years as well and it was just time to sit back and relax, enjoy my lifestyle with my wife," he said.
"I want to get around and watch some good cricket, pop into the city and see some games. I'll always be part of the FTGDCA, watching games with interest but now enjoying sitting back."
The association has also honoured Reeves in the best possible way, naming its premier competition after him with the FTGDCA's best sides now playing for the NR [Norm] Reeves Shield.
The announcement and the manner in which the honour was decided shocked and overwhelmed Reeves.
"Our general manager announced at the AGM that they were thinking of changing the name to fit in with the DeCoite Shield, our second division," Reeves said.
"It came as a bolt out of the blue for me, but it was brought up and clubs were asked to think about it and they all said they didn't need to and wanted to vote it in straight away. It knocked me over.
''It's just wonderful for me and for my wife and my two boys who play cricket at Upper Ferntree Gully. It's a big honour. I don't know if it should be bestowed upon just an ordinary bloke like me."
Reeves was also honoured by the Victorian Country Cricket League in 2004 with an award for services to cricket.
He said he was inspired to move into cricket administration by grandpa Swindon. "He gave me an incentive to take up the game and enjoy it. He was a pioneer in his era and decided to make contact with the local council to put aside land on Talaskia Road as a future sporting facility for Upper Ferntree Gully. It's still a sports ground."
In the late 1970s, Reeves joined the FTGDCA board and was a vice-president for several years before being asked to take on the president's role. "I was talked into doing it for a couple of years . . . I've stayed on a bit longer than that."
While Reeves' time with the FTGDCA is still considered one of the strongest competitions in the state, he said it still faced several challenges including keeping its junior ranks strong and its senior players engaged with their clubs.
"The challenges for us is to make sure we advance with our Twenty20 games and all that type of thing which is now formulated by Cricket Victoria and Cricket Australia," he said.
"Colour uniforms are coming into play, we need to show progression and keep the younger generation involved, we need to support to these ideas.
"Sport is changing, mums and dads want to go away with the kids on weekends now. If we can't offer changes to play game and play it like the big boys do then we will be in trouble."
The FTGDCA, like many other cricket associations, has lost a few junior sides this year but Reeves remains confident the association has a long future ahead of it.
He said the association still had problems finding enough grounds to play matches on. "I think we need to make sure we are well advanced in what we do. If we had more grounds we would have more clubs as well. That is another issue which faces the community today. We have a thriving community so housing and land becomes very scarce for sporting grounds."
Reeves praised the clubs across the association for their support during his time as president. "It's a good time to bow out as 2012-13 makes it 60 years in cricket," he said. "We have a great executive, great senior and junior officials and great clubs who I'm disappointed to leave."