Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Cricket Mini World Cup a great success

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Bay Oval was taken over yesterday by hordes of Year 5 and 6 cricketers all trying to win the WBOP Mini World Cup title.

That honour went to Greenpark School for the second year running after they defeated Bethlehem College Primary in the final, with Papamoa Primary School taking out the Best Dressed Award after competing as Fiji.

The 23 teams involved played in the colours of the world's cricketing nations in one of the most anticipated events on the primary school sports calendar.

The Mini World Cup was initiated by Bay of Plenty Cricket in 2004.

St Mary's School won the inaugural cup in 2004 and have gone on to win the tournament on five further occasions.

Greenpark School, Bethlehem College Primary and St Thomas More have won it twice with Pillans Point Primary the other winner over the years.

"I think a lot of the [Mini World Cup] success is to do with Don Warner (Western Bay of Plenty Cricket Association) and the job he does in the schools generating interest," Bay of Plenty Cricket Association's cricket development manager, Tai Bridgman-Raison, said.

"Through Sport Bay of Plenty we have a really strong relationship and we have good communication with the schools. They come along and have a really good experience and that makes it really easy to get them back in future years.

"The youngsters enjoy dressing up and we have prizes for best dressed team and things like that which just adds to that festive atmosphere."

Bridgman-Raison said the numbers participating at the Mini World Cup reflected the growth in cricket at junior levels.

"We have seen significant increases in our junior numbers in recent years and that is a flow on affect from the World Cup we have been able to maintain and also grow on.

"All the teams want to play on the [Bay] Oval. It is a big drawcard."

The players involved yesterday just loved it.

Bradley Muller, 10, from St Mary's, playing in the colours of Nepal, said it was great so many schools were involved.

"I like that you can get out of school and escape to cricket, instead of being stuck inside doing writing and reading. I like most how you can hang out with friends and stuff."

His team-mate Tayte Marsh, 11, said the rules were slightly different for the Mini World Cup.

"I like how we can just keep on batting and we only lose four runs when we get out. It is not so much about winning or losing - it is just about having fun."

Bethlehem College Primary players Logan Murray, 11, and Jake Riley, 10, enjoyed playing in the Scotland uniform.

"I like playing different places and acting like you are Scotland but it is not as good as the Black Caps or South Africa," Logan said.

"Everyone just comes together to play a good game of cricket I guess, with nice short pitches which is quite fun," Jake added.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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