Gore brimming with cricket fans

Up to 700 people have converged on Gore for this week's South Island Primary School cricket tournament with the eastern Southland town brim full as a result.

It will be the 51st South Island Primary School tournament and the fifth time it will be held in Gore.

In 1963, Neville Hoskin had an idea that would help get more kids playing sport and in this instance more playing cricket.

He decided to form a South Island Primary Schools cricket tournament which, in its first year, was held in Invercargill.

Only four teams took part in the inaugural tournament but, not surprisingly, it expanded at a rapid rate.

Associations from throughout the South Island wanted to be part of the concept, and that idea in 1963 blossomed quickly to the point where it fast became New Zealand's biggest cricket event at any level as far as participation numbers go.

Ronnie Kotcamp, who is one of the small group of people to help put on the 2014 tournament in Gore, said yesterday it was great for cricket in the region to host such an event. It was just as good for the Gore area as a whole because of the spin-offs that come from having up to 700 extra people in town for the week.

"I think the community will benefit, as in the eateries, the hotels, the hostels, that's where the money is going to go," he said.

Cricket in the eastern Southland area will also receive a long-term boost as a result of the tournament.

The Southland Country Cricket Association has acquired funding to have two grass pitches put in at Hamilton Park in Gore.

All up Hamilton Park has four grass pitches to cater for the seven they need for the tournament, while one game each day will be played at Blue Mountain College.

To ensure as much of the tournament is played on grass as possible two games each day will be played at Queens Park in Invercargill. The organising group has also had a big task in arranging two umpires for each of the 35 games throughout the week.

Many past and present players and officials have put their hands up to help cover the large number of umpires needed. All 14 teams congregated on Hamilton Park yesterday for the opening ceremony. The first games will be played today and the tournament will run through to Friday.


The teams

Southland Country, Invercargill Metro, Otago Country, Dunedin Metro, North Otago, South Canterbury, Mid Canterbury, Canterbury Country, Christchurch Red, Christchurch Black, West Coast, Buller, Marlborough, Nelson.

Day one draw

(Venue and umpires in brackets)

Christchurch Black v Mid Canterbury (Blue Mountain College, Tapanui Scott Chittock/Jamie Chittock)

Buller v Canterbury Country (Hamilton Park 3, Gore Kieran Lloyd/ Rich Jury)

Invercargill Metro v Nelson (Queens Park 2, Invercargill Shaun Fitzgibbon/Ethan Yeo)

Marlborough v Otago Country (Hamilton Park 2, Gore Ian Mockford/ Jack Mockford)

Dunedin Metro v Southland Country (Hamilton Park 1, Gore Barry O'Connor/Stu Riordan)

North Otago v South Canterbury (Queens Park 1, Invercargill Callum Johnstone/Malcolm Walker)

West Coast v Christchurch Red (Hamilton Park 4, Gore Grant McCall/ Doug Gibson)

The Southland Times