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Local club delivers to junior cricketers

Local club delivers to junior cricketers

Black Caps beware – up to 1800 Kapiti Coast primary school students will get the chance to approach the crease this summer thanks to Kiwi Cricket.

Horowhenua Kapiti Cricket Association has begun delivery of cricket ‘awareness’ sessions to 14 schools on the Kapiti Coast. These ‘tasters’ will continue through the 2012-2013 cricket season but a spin off already is the excitement of up to 160 children playing Friday evening cricket at Te Atiawa Park, Paraparaumu.

The Kiwi Cricket programme funded by KiwiSport through Sport Wellington aims to initially develop children’s fundamental skills of striking, throwing, catching and running so more pupils participate in sport; ultimately growing the number of children aged 6 to 10 years playing cricket on the Kapiti Coast.

The 120-160 children captured by the sport within the past few months not only meet regularly to be coached and play Friday evening cricket, but seven teams now play in Wellington junior club competitions.

Ewen Thompson, Horowhenua Kapiti Cricket Development Officer, says the number of junior cricket players on the Coast dwindled to the extent there were few junior matches in the Horowhenua Kapiti region last season. However that is now being turned around.

“The Friday evening concept has really taken off. We had only a few junior cricket players last season but this response should see the weekly group grow to 200 by the end of this season.

“We aim to re-establish a Kapiti region junior Kiwi Cricket competition so the children who participate in this programme stay in the game,” says Ewen. “We want to increase the number of school-age children having the opportunity and playing cricket both in school and out of school. The $17,000 received from KiwiSport has enabled us the opportunity to delivery Kiwi Cricket and re-establish a strong junior cricket group.”

Since September 600 pupils at Raumati Beach School and Kenakena School have taken part in cricket awareness sessions. Other Kapiti Coast schools will follow, culminating in a cricket festival involving all junior cricketers on the Coast late next term.

The Kiwi Cricket programme is based on a New Zealand Cricket module. It also provides coach education training and resources for teachers and parents as well as cricket gear for each of the players to practice at home. Ewen says already several parents are helping coach and playing cricket with the children at the Friday evening sessions.

Engaging parents and the community to support children playing sport is one of the key aims of KiwiSport, which is facilitated by Sport Wellington and funded by Sport New Zealand.

KiwiSport Manager Peter Woodman-Aldridge says it’s great to see the initial promotion of Kiwi Cricket on the Kapiti Coast being embraced so enthusiastically. “It’s fantastic to see young cricketers given the opportunity to play and develop their skills. All I can say is those elite cricketers at 20/20 level should watch out. These Kapiti kids will be at the crease in a few year’s time.”

KiwiSport has invested $2.2 million during the past three years in community-led programmes enabling more than 109,000 children to participate in sport across the Wellington region.


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