POTENTIAL future women cricketing stars came out to play in numbers in Whanganui on Tuesday as the annual Festival of Cricket tournament padded up.

Organised by Cricket Whanganui, the Under-18 Central Districts tournament is the first of two over the next fortnight with the arrival of the under-15 regional match-ups scheduled for next week.

Newly-appointed Central Districts and Manawatu women's cricket development officer Mel Driescher said they were the ideal platforms to promote the game and hone the skills of the younger set.

The South African has been in New Zealand for the past 18 months, but was only appointed to the job last month.

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"I have a sporting background, but not specifically cricket," Driescher said. "I have played cricket, but also baseball, softball and squash."

The U18 tournament, that runs until Friday, features teams from the Central Districts region including Taranaki, Whanganui, Nelson, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Hawke's Bay.

"I ran an under-15 tournament in Palmerston North two weeks ago and that was my first. Tournaments like these are ideal platforms to promote the game and help the girls develop.

"That's what I enjoy - seeing the girls growing their cricket skills and knowledge of the game.

"I will be working with Manawatu women's cricket as well as my Central Districts duties, but the job will also involve liaising with district development officers throughout the CD patch," Driescher said.

Next week event is the under-15 girls' development tournament, which will feature teams from all six first-class regions; Auckland, Northern Districts, Wellington, Central Districts, Canterbury and Otago.

Auckland are the defending champions after convincingly beating Central Districts last season.