Funding shortfall dilutes development scheme

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 16/10/2012

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Cricket Wellington's parlous financial state has caused it to ignore the recommendation that clubs hire development officers for this summer.

The 13 clubs contesting this season's premier competition went to exhaustive lengths to meet the participation agreement, which included the appointment of a development officer to be joint-funded by themselves and CW. Only seven clubs could initially satisfy the CW board that they would meet the criteria, with the other six given extra time to get up to speed.

It was all part of the "One Club" blueprint, which was designed to build sustainable organisations in touch with their communities.

But because of the $142,000 loss CW posted for the last financial year, the rollout of development officers has been limited to just six clubs.

That any received the promised funding from CW for the new role is thanks to the Infinity Foundation.

Clubs had until May 1 to apply to participate in this summer's competition and, on reflection, CW development and operations manager Bryan Dickinson said it was never practical that more than a few would end up with development officers.

"So we flipped it the other way round because neither the clubs nor Cricket Wellington were going to be in a position to have that done before the criteria [deadline]," Dickinson said. "At this rate it's still going to take up to two or three years for us to build up everyone to having one."

"So we flipped it the other way round and said here's the criteria, get the clubs across the line and then approach those clubs and see which ones want to take up the opportunity."

Taita, Onslow, Wainuiomata, North City, Johnsonville and Collegians are the six clubs which will have part-funded development officers this season, despite the fact every club is meant to have one.

"You're right and that did confuse a couple of clubs, but this was a more realistic way of going about it," Dickinson said.

"It wouldn't have happened [otherwise]. We would still be scrambling with the criteria if we had tried to do the development officers first."

With limited funding available, the job then was to ascertain who was interested in a development officer.

A number weren't, while two clubs decided to find their own, independent of CW.

"If we'd been able to commit more funding we would've liked to have done more but, at the same time, because it's a new programme, six is a really good number to make sure it works this year," Dickinson said.

"The last thing we wanted was to have 12, 13 clubs all up and going straight away and then not be able to provide the oversight and the backup in its first year.

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"So six ended up being a really handy number that we can make sure is successful this year."

The 13-team competition starts on Saturday with two rounds of Twenty20 matches.

Teams play another two matches on Monday.

- Wellington

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