Mark Divehall has played cricket for more than three decades, so it's no surprise he's all for making the sport more accessible for his community.

He lives in Pāpāmoa and has three young children - but the closest cricket clubs are at Mount Maunganui and Te Puke. This was his motivation for helping set up a new cricket club in the growing suburb of Pāpāmoa.

Currently the "de facto president" of the club, Divehall won't know what official role he will play until Thursday night when the Papamoa Cricket Club holds their inaugural AGM, but he's looking forward to seeing the sport flourish throughout the Western Bay of Plenty.

"It's a 'build it, and they will come' scenario sort of thing," Divehall says.


The three primary drivers of the new club, all of whom are heavily invested in Pāpāmoa cricket, are Divehall, Paul Dunn and Andrew Jacob. Over winter, with the support from both the Bay of Plenty and Western Bay of Plenty cricket associations, they were able to get things started ahead of the looming official cricket season.

The Papamoa Cricket Club will be based at Pāpāmoa's Gordon Spratt Reserve and organisers hope establishing the club will mean exposing the sport to more people by making it more accessible to new people, particularly young children and those living in the seaside suburb.

Western Bay of Plenty Cricket manager Don Warner, Papamoa Cricket Club committee member Paul Dunn and
Western Bay of Plenty Cricket manager Don Warner, Papamoa Cricket Club committee member Paul Dunn and "defacto president" Mark Divehall. Photo / George Novak

Gordon Spratt Reserve is well set up for cricket, with four artificial wickets already established by the Tauranga City Council and plans to put in a grass wicket on the Alice Johnson Oval.

Divehall, who has had a long association with the Mount Maunganui Cricket Club, says he would love to see cricket grow, "and why not do it in Pāpāmoa".

He says driving children around the district to play sport can be a difficult task for some parents so having an option close to home may give the sport, which he describes "a game built on tradition, a wider appeal".

His children, aged 6, 3 and 10 months, are yet to play cricket - and Divehall has no idea if they will want to - but if they do decide to, he says the option will be right at their doorstep.

He says there are already fantastic clubs in the region and the Pāpāmoa club will build on what's already available.

WBOP Cricket Association cricket manager Don Warner says the club plans to start the season with about five junior teams, four Pāpāmoa College sides and two senior cricket teams.


He says attracting more younger players from the area will help develop the sport in the region and potentially create longevity among those who play.

"Pāpāmoa's still growing," he says.

Two years ago the NZ Cricket Super Stars Cricket Academy, which focused on teaching juniors basic skills, was set up at the Gordon Spratt Reserve to coincide with Western Bay Cricket's awareness school visits to Pāpāmoa schools.

This will continue at the site with the hope many of those interested youths will join the Papamoa Cricket Club, Warner says.

The Papamoa Cricket Club AGM will be held at Papamoa College at 7.30pm on Thursday.