A planned growth in women's and girls’ cricket has hit all the projected targets with the appointment of Rebecca Yee as the full-time BOPCA Women's Development Officer a major factor. The Go Girl program in schools has received enthusiastic support and the Western Bay of Plenty Trillian Trust Girls Festival days have seen record numbers attend at both the Term Four and Term One finales. Term One of the 2018 School Year saw the Trillian Trust Girls Festival days held in Rotorua and Taupo for the first time, with over one hundred girls participating in the Taupo tournament. There was a significant girl’s participation at the Eastern Bay of Plenty Mini World Cup.
Rebecca has also coached the Bay of Plenty Secondary Schoolgirls and Under 14 Girls teams at ND and Invitation tournaments. The girl’s representative competitions are important components of the Bay of Plenty Cricket age-group pathway.
The Bay of Plenty Senior Men's side had a roller coaster ride during the Fergus Hickey Rosebowl, the Brian Dunning White Ball T20 tournament and in the Hawke Cup defence. The season opened with much promise, with the Bay team finishing second to Counties Manukau, at the ND Twenty 20 tournament held in Taupo during December. The final match where Bay of Plenty were right in the mix for title honours resulted in a tied result with long-time rivals Hamilton.
Another encounter that went down to the wire, was the Hawke Cup first defence of the season against Counties Manukau played at the picturesque Te Puke Domain. The Te Puke Cricket Club pulled out all stops to ensure that the wicket provided a comparable test for both batsmen and bowlers alike. Te Puke Cricket members greatly assisted with making sure that the players in the NZ Cricket minor association showcase, had an enjoyable experience at the home of cricket in Te Puke. The game was an absolute thriller, with the Bay of Plenty five game tenure of the Hawke Cup coming to an end, and with the visitors from Counties snatching a dramatic two run victory.
The remainder of the Bay of Plenty Fergus Hickey representative season, was punctuated by mini batting collapses followed by second innings revivals and solid bowling performances, which put the Bay team back in contention. Bay of Plenty finished the ND two-day competition with an outright loss to Waikato Valley and the loss of first innings points against Northland and Hamilton, with the encounter with Counties Manukau rained off without a ball being bowled. Three shining lights, were as rare as hens’ teeth, Twenty 20 (122no) century blasted by Joe Carter and a fighting knock of 100 not out from Stephen Crossan that kept the Bay in the game against Waikato Valley. Sean Davey also played a key role in the narrow Hawke Cup loss taking a five wicket bag.
A first-up victory over arch rivals Hamilton, was the highlight of the Bay of Plenty Development team Basil McBurney Trophy campaign. Under the guidance of new coach Russell Williams, his charges got home by two runs from the Waikato based second eleven. While the Hamilton victor was to become the team’s only season victory, they were in contention in all the matches, with two losses being by two runs and five balls respectively.
The Bay Development teams’ philosophy has always been about providing the provinces’ promising young talent with the experience of playing senior men's representative cricket. During the Bay Development campaign, Ben Pomare, Dominic Crombie, Fergus Lellman, Iman Singh, Camron Riley, Josh Earle, Craig Baldry, Daniel Price, Marcel Collett and Tim Pringle played for the Bay second eleven, while still enrolled at secondary school.
Bay of Plenty age-group sides were again competitive in the ND age-group competitions in November and December 2017. The ND Senior Secondary competition played at its usual home base in Gisborne, resulted in the Bay of Plenty Coastland side drawn from the Western Bay of Plenty, defeating Hamilton in the two-day playoffs to finish third, with the Lakeland representatives finishing sixth. The Coastland victory over the Waikato City side, was the second time in the tournament that they had despatched their long-time rivals.
A feature of the ND Junior Secondary competition was two centuries and a five wicket bag produced by two Coastland all-rounders. Tim Pringle blasted the tournament top of score of 173, with Niven Dovey achieving the rare feat of a century (119) and a five wicket (5/5) haul. The two Bay of Plenty Primary teams achieved their core aim of introducing the youngsters to Northern Districts representative cricket.
All the hard work and toil put in by Rebecca Yee, paid dividends, when the Bay of Plenty Under 14 Girls finished second at the Kaipara Flats Invitation tournament in December 2017. Another group of Bay of Plenty Secondary Schoolgirls have started the tournament cycle when they finished fifth in the ND Secondary Schoolgirls championship played in Tauranga City.
Rebecca Yee and new Lakeland Cricket Development Officer Brent Jones, invested time in growing girl’s cricket in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Taupo regions, which was reflected in the numbers that took part in the Girls Cricket Festivals and the Eastern Bay Mini World Cup.
Brett has made a sterling effort in helping to revive junior cricket in the Lakeland region and he has played a very big role in supporting and assisting the Lakeland age-group representative teams. The appointment of the Lakeland Cricket Development Officer, heralded a unique partnership with Upper Central Zone Rugby League, whereby Brent works with promising cricketers in summer and has the same role with rugby league in the winter months.
What a summer we have had at the Bay Oval. In just over a decade the ground has been transformed from a wasteland into an international cricket venue. The investment of the Bay Oval Trust, in the first cricket venue to install LED floodlights in the world, paid immediate dividends with full houses for the four international contests between the Black Caps and the West Indies, Pakistan and England.
The icing on the cake was the allocation of seven matches in the ICC Under 19 World Cricket Cup held in New Zealand during January and February 2018 including the opening game of the tournament and the grand final. The luck of the draw saw tournament winners India play all three qualifying matches at the Bay Oval and then return to defeat Australia in the title decider.
India looked like the potential champions from their opening encounter where they comprehensively outplayed Australia in pool play. Many of today’s super-stars have played in Under 19 Cricket World Cup tournaments over the years, with a number of youngsters who performed at the Western Bay of Plenty international cricket ground likely to become household names in the future.
Bay of Plenty Cricket senior and junior prize- giving recognized individual highlights during the recently concluded season. Bay of Plenty Cricket Player of the Year, Jono Boult, had an outstanding season where he took the most representative wickets (23) and finished second with 294 runs to Joe Carter on the batting. Coincidently Jono was awarded the Bay of Plenty Crickets big prize on the same night that younger brother Trent won the Sir Richard Hadlee medal awarded to the New Zealand Cricketer of the year.
One of the greatest strengths of Bay of Plenty Cricket is the identification and development of the BOPCA rising young talent. One player who put his hand up for future career advancement was Tim Pringle. The (now) Tauranga Boys College, Year Eleven student, surpassed Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson as the youngest player to make his BOPCA senior men's debut when he took to the field against Northland in Whangarei aged fifteen years and 92 days.
Fellow Tauranga Boys College student Dominic Crombie, grabbed a rare as hen’s teeth hat-trick for the Bay of Plenty of Development side against Hamilton. Tauranga Boys College First XI batsman Taylor Bettelheim posted the most runs (215) at the recent ND First XI Cup Finals week, in four turns at bat, which included two centuries. Tauranga Intermediate batsmen Utsav Kumar (95no) and Luke Spargo (90) took their team a ten wicket victory, in the final of the BOPCA National Primary Cup final.
Hand in hand with the BOPCA player pathway is the same pathway available for our coaching staff team. The last two Bay of Plenty Senior Men's coaches have grasped the opportunities available on the New Zealand Cricket pathway, to take the step up to major association and international coaching. James Pamment had plenty of success with Northern Districts major association sides and also assisted New Zealand representative teams, before making the jump up to the Mumbai Indians fielding coach in the current Indian Premier League.
Following in James footsteps, is Graeme Aldridge, who has earned quick promotion from his initial Northern Districts appointment as the fast bowling coach. Seconded to the New Zealand Under 19 team as a quick bowling mentor, Graeme has earned promotion to Interim ND First Class coach with the advancement of James Pamment to the IPL.
These promotions in turn lead to the advancement of Charles Williams as the Bay of Plenty Senior Men’s coach in the 2017/18 season.
The foundations of playing the game in the Bay of Plenty lies firmly with club cricket both in the Baywide game and with regional competitions. Thriving Rotorua & Taupo and Western Bay of Plenty grassroots cricket are the entree to the three Baywide competitions. Baywide honours were spread in the recent season, with Otumoetai Cadets annexing the Baywide Cup and representing Bay of Plenty in the ND Club Championships. Mount Maunganui won the Twenty 20 title with Greerton taking out the big Baywide prize of the Williams Cup.
Bay of Plenty Cricket fans can look forward to a smorgasbord of top flight cricket at the Bay Oval next season. The Western Bay of Plenty venue is the Northern Districts alternate home venue, with the Burger King Super Smash proving very popular when it came to town during the holiday season. It is certain that the Bay Oval will be on the NZ Cricket radar when they host tours by Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India next season. Local cricket fans can't wait for test cricket to come to the Bay Oval with the added prospect of pink ball day/night test cricket possibly finding a home here in the Bay in the future.
Chris Rapson – Bay of Plenty Cricket Association CEO – April 2018
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