Cricket: Mark Webb moves on

By Ben Guild

After eight years in the job, outgoing Bay of Plenty cricketing manager Mark Webb is leaving the best possible way - on top.

That sits well with Samoan Cricket's new general manager, who rates the current crop of Bay players highly.

"It's a good time to leave," said Webb.

"I think it's the most exciting the team's been for a while.

"I think we might lose a lot of these players to first class cricket - Joe Carter, Bharat Popli, Brett Hampton (who has an ND contract). These are all guys who should be playing first class cricket now."

Webb believes the disadvantage Bay cricketers have long had in making Northern Districts sides is beginning to be mitigated by James Pamment being Northern Knights assistant coach.

"He knows our players and he's a great advocate for them. They play a lot of ND A cricket, and it's just a case of keep doing it. An opportunity will come up and they will take it.

"To be totally honest, at the moment it's great that they are playing Hawke Cup for us. We want our best players playing this sort of cricket."

The amiable Webb is deferential with his praise when asked about the future of cricket in the region - especially where the development of Bay Oval is concerned.

"A lot of credit has to go to David Johnstone and Kelvin Jones for putting in those yards early on and having a vision of where Bay cricket could get to, because without these facilities we just aren't going to get there.

"I think it will attract international cricket at various levels and it's a great venue for winter warm-ups and programmes. That's what I'm going to miss - the fact that whoever gets my job won't have to put up tents every week."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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