Young Horowhenua-Kāpiti cricket players took to the field to represent their province just hours after learning of a devastating burglary that had stripped their association of valuable playing gear.
Thieves broke into the Basil Netten Indoor Cricket Centre at Donnelly Park on Friday night and made off with a huge booty of cricket gear, leaving youngsters without vital equipment for their games against Manawatū.
Horowhenua-Kapiti cricket CEO David O'Brien said the theft was senseless and he thought such a high volume of used gear would be hard to move on the black market.
O'Brien wanted the offenders to understand the damage they had caused, especially to young cricketers who made up such a large part of their focus.
Horowhenua-Kāpiti cricket had invested a huge amount of time and money in recent years to developing young players, both male and female, and had built up a large amount of high quality gear.
"We're a non-profit organisation. We exist for the benefit of the community and the development of young players," he said.
It was estimated the thieves took more than $15,000 worth of cricket gear and office electronics. While the gear was used and depreciated each season, it was extremely costly to replace.
Office equipment was stolen. The computers themselves were replaceable but the years of information that existed on file within them was not.
It didn't take a detective to figure out the offenders were cricket fans. Left behind were items that would be easily resold and harder to trace, like whiteware and machinery.
Huge and heavy bags of gear were wheeled out and other equipment was located and taken from areas of the building that he thought would have been hard to access.
That suggested the thieves would have had plenty of time to canvas the entire buidling.
"We've got no leads but are hopeful that in a small community someone might know something and we are able to recover some of it," he said.
Most of the gear was Kookaburra, a valued sponsor, and included expensive bats, pads, gloves, helmets, balls and wicket-keeping gear.
"We have been lucky to amass some really good gear," he said.
O'Brien said one positive aspect to the burglary was the help and support that the association had received once word of the burglary had spread.
He said people had wanted to donate gear and electrician Rob Easton from Corys Electrical was an example of a business that had offered services with repair work.
"That's something good that's come out of something bad," he said.
Horowhenua-Kāpiti cricket had been riding high in recent years with the new Basil Netten Pavillion at Donnelly Park and playing surface in front of the stand used for the first time this season for a first grade fixture.
O'Brien said the young players took the field on the weekend and got on with the business of playing cricket.
"No one would have known. We just got on with it," he said.
O'Brien said Horowhenua-Kāpiti cricket would look to continue that same approach as they rebuild from the setback.