Stuart Whitaker is a sports reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times and a general reporter for the Bay News.

Donation to boost young cricketers

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young cricketers given a lot of gear as part of a scholarship. 29 July 2016 Daily Post Photograph by Stephen Parker
young cricketers given a lot of gear as part of a scholarship. 29 July 2016 Daily Post Photograph by Stephen Parker

Cricket

Two young Rotorua cricketers have each been given around $1000 worth of equipment and coaching to help them on their way.

The donation, to help their cricketing aspirations, has come from the Queen Street Cricket Club - a charitable organisation that has as one of its goals assisting in promoting the game for younger players.

Rotorua Boys' High School students, Brad Wiggins (15) and Tuwhakaiti Winsor (16), have new cricket gear and are being coached at the Bay Indoor Centre in Tauranga by former New Zealand A and Northern Districts player Graham Aldridge.

Queen Street Cricket Club member, Rotorua's Paddy Hayes, said the club awarded a scholarship in the name of the late Peter Hooton, a treasurer of the club, but as the high school did not have a first XI cricket team, the students were not eligible.

"So we got our thinking caps on and decided that was within (the club's) remit in terms of grants to make a donation to the two players," he said.

Brad has been playing cricket since his his final year at primary school, and plays club cricket for Central Cricket Club, while Tuwhakaiti has been playing about four years and is a member of Geyser City Cricket Club.

Brad is an all rounder, while Tuwhakaiti is a batsman.

Tuwhakaiti said the donation had helped the boys so much. Brad agreed.

"Now we are able to do stuff we were not able to do - and we have gear that can help us to a better level," he said.

The coaching will also assist in the students' progress in the game.

"It's pretty cool to be coached by him - pretty amazing," said Tuwhakaiti.

He said he hoped he and Brad would be able to take back what they learned through the coaching and pass it on to other young players.

As well as cricket, Tuwhakaiti also plays hockey, and Brad played rugby up until last season.

Hayes said Queen Street Cricket Club chairman Brian Moss visited Rotorua to meet the students.

"He had a good discussion with them and was impressed enough to say 'we are prepared to offer some assistance' and that's how it happened."

Moss said he was impressed by the boys' attitude.

"They seemed extremely enthusiastic and want to advance their competitive cricket," he said. "To try and fit in at the right level of club cricket for them is challenging. They want to advance and want to play regional cricket and were keen for some equipment and coaching to help them on their way."

It is a number of years since Rotorua Boys' High School had a first XI and
Hayes said he hoped the donation wwould help re-establish cricket as a sporting option there.

The Queens Street Cricket Club has a novel way of raising funds to enable it to distribute grants and scholarship. Each time a New Zealand test player fails to record a run in an innings, each member is "fined" $5.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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