Junior cricket numbers boom in Kapiti

BEN STRANG
Last updated 13:52 29/11/2012
jnrcrick

One for the future: Kenakena School's Liam Holliday smashes the ball during his team's match on Friday.

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Kapiti is possibly the fastest growing region in the country for junior cricket, with more than 1000 children picking up a cricket bat for the first time this year.

Junior cricket in the Horowhenua Kapiti region has been restructured over the past two years, with Kapiti and Horowhenua now split into two.

A Friday night Kiwi Cricket competition started last month at Te Atiawa Park for keen Kapiti cricketers, and has seen about 150 to 160 kids take part each night.

Horowhenua Kapiti Cricket Association executive officer Pods Hood said about nine or 10 junior teams used to play in the region from Paraparaumu, Waikanae and Otaki.

"So you had about 100 kids playing in that area, and that was it. We've restructured things a bit and now we get 150 to 160 kids down there playing on a Friday night," he said.

"Basically, in the Horowhenua Kapiti region we've always struggled to get even four teams in any one grade, and that meant that the teams had quite a difference of ability."

From the Friday night competition in Kapiti, six teams have been heading into Wellington on a Saturday as "Kapiti rep teams", and having success in Wellington competition.

The same is happening in Horowhenua, with teams playing in the Manawatu competition.

Hood said regional development officer Ewen Thompson (ET) has been making a huge difference to junior cricket and is in the middle of a campaign bringing cricket to schools.

"We're working with Kiwisport, and have this programme in schools in Kapiti," Hood said.

"ET has been to Raumati Beach and Kenakena School so far and will be going to Waikanae next. He runs a six week course, getting kids into cricket.

"The goal for the whole thing in Kapiti was to reach 500 kids and already we have 550 kids doing the programme in only two schools."

By the end of the programme, Hood said Kapiti could have up to 1200 children playing cricket, which would make it the fastest growing region in the country.

The in-school programmes are free for children and Thompson teaches them the basics of batting, bowling and fielding.

The association has been giving away caps and bats through the programme and is having to order more to cope with demand.

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- Kapiti Observer

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