Cricket snowballs across summer

Cricket lovers throughout the Far North were delighted to learn a limited 50 over cricket match will take place between senior men's teams representing Kaitaia and Kerikeri on Kerikeri Domain on New Year's day.

The Cricket in the Park match on Tuesday, January 1, is being organised by Peter Barnett who's promising both sides will be out in force with each player wearing white duds. The visiting Kaitaia team will be made up of players from Honeymoon Valley and Jim Roberts' Mangonui cricket sides while Rob Drummond will organise the hosting team.

"It will be fantastic," Barnett said. "There should be lots of tourists around and we hope to see people watching the game with a bottle of wine or a thermos of tea, cheese and crackers, the real thing - bring a blanket, sunblock and picnic and enjoy the cricket."

He said there would be stalls offering food and drink and the one-day game had received strong sponsorship support from a couple of local businesses and had already generated huge interest in the wider community.

Barnett's crusade to resurrect Far North cricket has begun to gain some serious momentum.

His annual campaign began by holding a six-week tournament for year 5/6 and 7/8 players at Arnold Rae Park on Saturday mornings which regularly attracted 40 to 50 children earlier this summer. He also organised a one-day tournament at Taipa on December 8 which was contested by year 4 to 8 players from Paparore, Kaitaia, Ahipara, Kerikeri and Riverview primary schools.

Barnett was encouraged by the support he received from local schools and said he had plenty of other plans up his sleeve. Next year he wants to get secondary school cricket up and running in Term 1 for years 4 to 9, with the year 9s playing the 'proper' version of the game - with pads, gloves, helmets and a hard ball - and contested by student teams from Kerikeri, Taipa, Kaikohe and Kaitaia.

He will also continue his efforts to re-establish a regular senior competition, get senior women's cricket running, set up indoor cricket during winter and look at having a Golden Oldies game.

"It's really starting to take off. You'll see a real groundswell amongst people keen on playing in the next two or three years. It's all happening from the grassroots."

For any enquiries relating to local cricket, contact Peter Barnett (027)726-2854.

- Northland Age

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