Three pristine practice wickets were unveiled at Tauranga Domain on Saturday in a major boost for young cricketers in the region.
The new facility has been relocated to the Cameron Rd end of the domain number two sports fields. With cricket numbers booming, the extra bowling and batting lane will be well utilised as the new cricket season approaches.
Otumoetai Cadets president Campbell Wilson said the opening of the new practice nets laid with top class, artificial grass would kick-start the club's 40th-anniversary celebration this season.
"Our nets have been in need of repair for a long time. I don't know how long they have been here, they could have been here for the whole time the club has been here," he said.
"There was a bit of chat between [former player] Paul Wills and the [Tauranga City] council to look at a couple of other things and it came about through there. It was an idea then put forward to change our nets, which was the best option."
The area where the old nets were located, close to the Takitimu Drive boundary edge of the domain, suffered from shading and dampness which adversely affected how they played.
"It should now make it easier for players training. The old nets were basically covered in shade and a lot of wind that used to come through and cause havoc with batsmen and bowlers," Wilson said.
"It will be a very easy facility to use. A lot of work has gone in to get it to this stage."
One bowler who knows all about running in for years on the low bouncing, old nets is Black Caps pace bowler Trent Boult.
Boult, who began playing for Otumoetai Cadets when he was still at Otumoetai College, made the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon at the new nets on Saturday.
"I have played a bit of cricket over the years but some of my favourite memories still are in these clubrooms and out on that field. I have ties to the club from when I was 14 when I first played for them," Boult said.
"It is good to come back and see the club grow. It is exciting to see the club moving in a new direction with a few new junior members on the books."
Otumoetai Cadets will be holding a major dinner on November 25 for all past and present members of the club to celebrate the 40th anniversary.
Wilson said it was a massive year for the club and they wanted to make it as big as they could.
"We have been pretty successful. We have won 10 Williams Cups in 40 years so a one-in-four strike rate is not too bad. Throw in making the national club champs as well so we want to make it pretty special this year.
"We now have four senior teams on board and two years ago we only had two. Numbers wise we are in a massive growth phase and a pretty strong junior side of our club that has been very much pushed by Grant Manners."