Hastings Girls' High School is in for a bumper cricket season next summer after one of its pupils became a recipient of a $5000 scholarship this week.
New Zealand emerging player Maneka Singh has won the annual Peter Hooton Memorial Scholarship for lower decile New Zealand schools (4 and below).
The 15-year-old Central Districts Hinds player, who has been attending a series of winter camps with New Zealand women's coach Gary Stead at Lincoln, Christchurch, since last winter, is also the captain of her school's first XI cricket team, which returned to the Bay secondary schoolgirls' competition this year.
HGHS principal Geraldine Travers said the school was proud of what Singh had already achieved with her cricket.
"I am hugely impressed that there are people out there prepared to put money into further developing the skills of talented young players like Maneka," she said.
"Maneka's winning of this scholarship has brought huge pride to our school and it was a real thrill to be able to hand the award out to her in assembly."
The scholarship will go towards buying cricket equipment for the school and help with Singh's coaching.
Singh said: "I wouldn't have known about it if our school sports co-ordinator, Ina Jones, and principal Mrs Travers hadn't brought it to my attention.
"I'd like to thank Queen Street Cricket Club (QSCC) chairman Keith Mackenzie for the funds that will benefit both my school and I," said the left-arm medium pacer, who became the youngest cricketer to make a debut in domestic cricket in New Zealand at the age of 13 years 10 months.
The late Peter Hooton, an Auckland accountant, was passionate about cricket and QSCC, where he was the treasurer at the time of his death in January 2003.
The club, established in 1989, is based on similar organisations in Australia and the United Kingdom. It is recognised as the "Cricketers' Charity" - the only organisation in New Zealand that focuses entirely on cricket to raise funds.
A major source of funding is derived from the performance of the Black Caps in test matches.
The club imposes a "fine" of the princely sum of $5 (tax deductible) on any international player who registers a duck in a test match.
Since 2007, the club's charity has pledged to donate funds to Kidney Kids of New Zealand until next year.
The club honours Mr Hooton, whose passion also was to help disadvantaged children, with a scholarship for a youngster from the North and South Islands each year since 2004 to help schools and pupils in pursuit of cricket goals and objectives.
Todd Mancer, of Dannevirke High School, won it last year.
Singh's fellow national emerging squad member Lea Tahuhu, 20, of Canterbury, just called into the White Ferns squad, also won the award in 2008.