with Tai Bridgman-Raison, Cricket Development Manager, Bay of Plenty Cricket
When I mention to people I work in cricket, the first thing they always ask is what I do during the winter? Often it is easier to just say planning.
While the playing side of the sport might cease, behind the scenes the work continues.
Three new seasonal roles have been created for the coming summer of a Lakeland Development Officer, Western Bay of Plenty Development Officer and an Umpire Training Officer.
These new positions will complement our existing Eastern Bay of Plenty Development Officer and Women's Development Officer positions.
The roles have been created with the specific needs of the geographical area in mind.
The Lakeland Development Officer will be focused on building the junior playing base by increasing participation at primary school level in the Rotorua and Taupo areas. Our Western Bay of Plenty Development Officer will have a particular focus on increasing participation at secondary school level in the Western Bay.
Officials are an essential part of the sport yet often under resourced or overlooked when it comes to the application of funding and support.
Our Umpire Training Officer will concentrate on recruitment, retention and development of officials across the region. As well as a recruitment drive, there will be a series of workshops held across the region as a way of encouraging people to get involved.
We are starting to see tangible returns from the investment made in increasing female participation.
We are fortunate to receive support from Trillion Trust to fund our GoGirl programme which teaches the fundamental skills of cricket to year 4-6 girls.
We now have a mass of eager young females wanting to play on a regular basis, the key to capitalising on this surge of interest will be tailoring our competitions and formats to appeal to this demographic.
We are also seeing progress at intermediate and secondary school level with Tauranga Intermediate and Tauranga Girls' College both off to national finals in November as the Northern Districts representatives in their respective competitions, not to mention the Bay of Plenty secondary girls' side winning the Northern Districts Secondary Girls tournament.
At the other end of the scale, the Bay of Plenty senior men have an exciting summer ahead as they set out to defend the Northern Districts men's one and two day trophies as well as the Hawke Cup.
Bay of Plenty again has good representation on the Northern Knights contracted player list with seven of the 15 contracts awarded to Bay of Plenty players.
Local Black Caps Kane Williamson and Trent Boult continue to be fantastic ambassadors for the sport on a national and regional scale. Their feats on the international stage continue to inspire the next generation of youngsters to pick up a bat and ball.