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Pawson, 44, says he made the decision to call it a day on his time with the side after their heart-breaking semi-final loss to High School Old Boys last month.
He was honoured with a framed jersey at the club’s end of season prize-giving.
“I think I need to put something back into my family. It’s the right time as well, we’ve got a young team, I think that’s the ideal time for someone to come in with a fresh voice,” said Pawson.
“For 20-odd years, my poor wife hasn’t known anything but cricket and rugby.”
Pawson coached the premier team in 121 matches. Over his seven years, the side failed to make the semi-finals only once. Working with the title-winning 2013 side, which he coached with Steve Ellis – who he describes as a “great mentor” – was a highlight. He also has fond memories of the 2016 side which won the opening round-robin competition.
He admits saying his final goodbye to the team and being presented with the framed jersey was an emotional affair in which more than a few tears were shed.
“I didn’t know it was going to happen. My manager Wayne Turner started crying and he set me off,” said Pawson.
As a player, Pawson played 67 matches for New Brighton between 2000 and 2007, predominantly at first-five. He didn’t win a title as a player, but says his one “claim to fame” was slotting a match-winning drop-goal on full-time against a HSOB side containing the likes of Andrew Mehrtens, Aaron Mauger, Daryl Gibson and Ben Hurst in 2000.
He was a player/coach for the New Brighton reserve title-winning side in 2006 and coached the team to another title in 2012 before taking up the premier coaching role. Pawson’s other passion is cricket. He played more than 300 games for East
Christchurch Shirley until retiring in 2011. He then went on to coach the side in 2012 and 2013. He spent many years opening the batting at club level with Michael Papps, although in his early playing years he was known better as a medium-fast bowler, which saw him make a handful of appearances for Canterbury.
“I was actually part of a Canterbury under-20 side, where I was one of three pace bowling options alongside Chris Martin and Shane Bond . . . a couple of those guys turned out alright,” he said.
Pawson’s said he will still be a regular sight at New Brighton games on Saturday afternoons, but it will definitely have a different feel and he “won’t know what to wear” after two decades of pulling on a playing jersey or donning the coach’s jacket.
His future coaching ambitions are still well and truly on the table. Pawson has previously been hesitant to put his name in the hat for rep coaching duties in the past following long seasons with New Brighton, but with more time on his hands it may now be an option.