The record number of teams that entered the GoGirls Sixes played at Bay Oval and Blake Park yesterday is another clear indicator of how popular cricket is among girls in the Western Bay.

The 26 Year 4-6 teams representing schools from Pahoia to Pongakawa made it the biggest school cricket festival run by Bay of Plenty Cricket.

Bay of Plenty Cricket's women's development officer Rebecca Yee developed the GoGirls Sixes idea from Northern Districts.

"We took their idea and kind of put our own spin on it," she said.


"We have two tournament days where other regions only have one. So this is our term four six-a-side one, which is our fun, festival day. It is short and sharp whereas in term one it is eight-a-side."

This term Yee has visited 15 schools on an awareness drive.

"A lot of hard work has gone in to this. I go to three or four schools a day. I am doing that every day of the week for the first six weeks of term. Sessions go up to an hour," she said.

"It is paying off hugely. Sport BOP has helped us get the word out a bit more this year which is good, but we have some really good schools who keep coming back year after year so that's a sign that love the programme.

"They have a good time, they learn quite a few motor skills and also teamwork and communication.

"In the last two years there has been massive growth. This is the first time we have used both fields and it has really stepped it up a notch. Even with our hardball programmes I am going into more schools and the game is definitely growing for sure."

Northern Districts women's cricket officer, Kari Carswell, said: "It is awesome to see so many girls out here playing cricket and enjoying the day.

"Modified formats are something that we are looking to push more and more of with the smaller sided games. It is fun, it is interactive and there are not huge amounts of standing around waiting for your turn.

"This is what we want and we want to replicate it throughout the whole of Northern Districts and not just have it in the Bay."

Pillans Point Primary School, where Black Caps captain Kane Williamson began playing cricket, stood out for more than just the calibre of their skills with their three teams dressing up in style to add to the festive nature of the day.

Yee is also excited about a new initiative she has put together for Year 7-9 girls later in the summer to come.

"The Junior NPL [Northern Premier League] is for girls aged 11 to 13 and we are going to run that in February and March next year. Hopefully a lot of these Year 6 girls will come into that. It is a harder ball, real bats, front pad and we will play it here (Bay Oval).

"There will be four teams of eight-a-side and we are the first district association to do this. We created it cause we had a gap in the market so this is what we are trying to fill it with.

"We will have the same teams as the women's NPL that launched here at the end of October with team names of Junior Power, Junior Velocity, Junior Galaxy and Junior Sonic."

GoGirls Sixes
Most Runs: 1st Greenpark Diamonds, 2nd Greenpark Poumanu, 3rd Greenpark Gems, 4th Pongakawa Black, 5th Tahatai Princess Warriors
Most Improved: Pahoia School
Spirit of Cricket Award: Bethlehem College Primary five