OPINION: Manawatu Cricket development manager Dave Meiring received an interesting email recently from the parents of a child who went through the Manawatu Cricket Association's Have-A-Go programme last season.
The family moved to Australia and at the beginning of the season went through the Australian version of the programme. Their feedback was that the MCA's programme was vastly superior in quality and enjoyment for them as parents, as well as for their child, which was great to hear. The 2013 Have-A-Go programme starts at the beginning of next month so any parents who want their 5-8 year olds to have some great fun learning the great game from quality coaches should get in touch with Dave Meiring at the Manawatu Cricket office.
The eight-week programme is largely subsidised by New Zealand Cricket and the MCA so it costs only $30 per child and each player receives a bat, ball, cap and drink bottle.
■ It has been a busy start to the year for Manawatu Cricket.
Seven teams have already trekked to Wanganui for their annual camp and the NZCT Manawatu senior men's team are preparing for their second home Hawke Cup game of the month this weekend.
Ground staff Paul Jobson and Graham Mabey, in particular, are to be commended for their commitment at the moment.
They are managing the hard balancing act of producing wickets for the senior rep matches, club cricket wickets, as well as the many tournaments we host. This week we have hosted the regional tournaments for the Air Force and the Army. Next week we are hosting the Super 8 competition on behalf of Palmerston North Boys' High School, as well as the Central Districts' Cricket Club Championship finals weekend.
Then, in mid-February, we host the national armed forces tournament, as well as the inaugural Tararua Shield finals day. In March, we also are again hosting the NZCT Cup national junior secondary schools tournament and the Central Districts Gillette Cup semifinals and finals.
With all this happening, as well as the planned renovations to Fitzherbert Park needing to be completed by the end of March, I'm sure the rumoured imminent arrival of the new Fitzherbert Park head groundsmen can't come quick enough for staff.
■ The social six-a-side competition being run this Sunday on Ongley and Manawaroa Parks should be great fun.
The competition run by Sport Manawatu and the MCA will hopefully develop into an annual event and teams have been encouraged to come up with themes that the whole side dresses up, much like people do at the Wellington Sevens. The response has been so good that we had to turn away teams, quickly reaching the 24-team limit for the six pitches available. Each team plays three matches and Sport Manawatu have organised a selection of prizes, not just to those teams successful on the field, but also for far more interesting categories like best dressed and best team name.
The best team name award has been thrown wide open after my favourite for the award, "Norfolk and Good", withdrew.
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