Cricket continues to grow rapidly as a sport of choice for young females to take up.
Not only are the overall numbers playing the game on a steady rise but the standard is improving, thanks to the dedication of teachers, coaches and the input from Bay of Plenty Cricket.
Proof of that improvement is shown by Tauranga Intermediate and Tauranga Girls' College teams both qualifying for the top six National Schools Championships as Northern Districts champions.
Last year Tauranga Intermediate finished third at the nationals while this will be Tauranga Girls' first time on the big stage in four years.
The two teams had to win their Bay of Plenty competition first, then finish top of the Northern Districts playoffs to make the finals.
Both the National Primary School Shield and NZCT Secondary School Girls' tournaments will be played at the New Zealand Cricket High Performance Centre in Lincoln, near Christchurch. All games are live scored at www.blackcaps.co.nz and on the Black Caps mobile app.
Tauranga Intermediate are in action from November 24-26 with Tauranga Girls' playing from December 2-4.
Tauranga Intermediate coach Jake Ryan has six girls back from the team that came third at last year's nationals.
"We have a lot of experience there and we are hoping to do a couple of places better this year and win the New Zealand champs and take out the title," he said.
"The eagerness to want to get out there and play on a Saturday [against boys] and improve themselves is a key for us.
"This is not their first chosen sport for most of these girls so we have been working on the little things first and taking it from there.
"The thing that I encourage the most is teamwork. If you can't work as a team, then it is going to be hard down the track to really bond and push towards that title."
Anna Leach, teacher in charge of cricket at Tauranga Girls', says it has been a big turnaround in performance by her team.
"All sports go through periods of popularity or not and seeing the White Ferns are doing so well that may have helped," she said.
"Also Bay of Plenty Cricket have been doing a lot with girls' cricket and really focusing and pushing it, which has helped us out and made our job easier. We have been able to offer more and do more fun stuff because we can be more hands-on with their support."
Leach says they would love to win the national title but is realistic about their chances.
"All of our players bar two are going to be here for another couple of years so we are hoping for a top three or middle of the road finish, which would be quite nice and something to build on for the next year or two."
Two Western Bay teams making the finals is a great boost to the game here, says Bay of Plenty Cricket women's development officer, Rebecca Yee.
"It is just a reflection of the hard work that we have been putting in at lower levels to build up to this level. We are so happy both the [ND] reps have come from our area," she said.
"We run a very successful primary school programme which has just grown and grown, which means there are so many more girls playing cricket."