When it comes to creating better pathways for Rotorua's young cricketers, collaboration is key.

That is the theory behind the Geyser City Cricket Club, John Paul College and Western Heights High School joining forces to create two new "old boys" teams.

Schoolboy cricket in Rotorua is far from thriving and there is a significant drop-off in numbers when players leave school.

Geyser City Cricket Club member Kane Vanner came up with the new concept which he hopes will help bridge the gap between secondary school and senior club cricket, as well as ensuring the club sides have all the players they need.


The club's two senior teams will now be known as Geyser City John Paul College Old Boys and Geyser City Western Heights High School Old Boys. They will comprise players from the respective schools as well as senior club players, whether they have an affiliation with the school or not.

"The concept is about wanting to recreate and build a pathway for cricketers in Rotorua, to perhaps pick up on something that is a little bit missing and to make it better for all cricketers coming through," Vanner said.

"Each team will have brand new shirts aligned with the school colours and with the school logos, we're all working together to put it together."

He said the ultimate goal was for young cricketers to be able to play senior cricket.

"It's what they need to be doing if they have higher aspirations. They usually go to Hamilton or Tauranga. We cannot come up with a single Black Cap - there are some that have been born here, Trent Boult and Daniel Flynn - but none of them have played their cricket here.

COLLABORATION: Western Heights High School's Sam Dunn, left, Geyser City Cricket Club treasurer Karl McKnight and John Paul College's Mark Chapman are joining forces. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
COLLABORATION: Western Heights High School's Sam Dunn, left, Geyser City Cricket Club treasurer Karl McKnight and John Paul College's Mark Chapman are joining forces. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

"A stretch goal would be if we can collectively come up with one Black Cap between us, we've been successful. But that is a long way down the track.

"In the long term we want to create coaching programmes, work on things like facilities - all those things that will help build the profile of the game and get more people playing. For now it's about visible changes and getting things under way," he said.

Western Heights High School cricket co-ordinator Sam Dunn said there had not been a visible pathway for younger players.


"Now it's really transparent. It's an exciting pathway, hopefully it pulls in some of those older guys that used to play for Heights and JPC and they'll come back to cricket.

"The cool thing is, for our school leavers especially, a lot of them drop off and don't play cricket again. So, for them to come back and automatically know 'I'm a Western Heights old boy or a John Paul old boy' - they've got that shirt, they can use it and go and play straight away," Dunn said.

Vanner said even though they were one club, people were excited about the rivalry between the two schools.

"That's actually a key word, rivalry. There's still very much a healthy rivalry between the two high schools, which is excellent. For some parents sport is a big dictator as to where they send their kids to school, the prospect of kids being able to get through and play senior cricket is good for the schools.

"It's important to make it clear, we're not excluding anyone who wants to play, anyone without an affiliation to either school will be distributed between the two sides. If it goes really well and we have more players than we can deal with we may end up with a traditional Geyser team as well."

John Paul College cricket co-ordinator Mark Chapman said there had been a lot of early interest from pupils.

"A lot we have spoken to are really keen and appreciative of the concept. It also gives an opportunity to provide cricket to Year 7 and 8s at other schools who might otherwise not be able to play.

"One thing that does it for me is the collaboration while still keeping the mana of the individual schools and the club. We're respecting everyone's history and respecting where you come from, but also we're collaborating because there's only a small pool of people who are passionate about cricket in Rotorua and we need to look after them," Chapman said.

For more information and updates on the new concept go to the Geyser City Cricket Facebook page.