Twenty years ago Rotorua man Crispian Stewart took on the experience of a lifetime, playing for the Parley Cricket Club in England, and now his 13-year-old son is set to do the same.

Crispian was the first overseas player to play for the club and in May next year Cohen, who is a John Paul College student, will become the first junior overseas player.

Cohen will be a Parley Cricket Club player from May to July and will have the opportunity to play 12-15 matches each month - subject to selection.

He said he was excited about the opportunity to travel overseas and play cricket during New Zealand's winter.


"It will be fun to play in England, I'm just excited," Cohen said.

For his John Paul College team he usually bats at number three or four and bowls medium-pace.

"It will be good to play somewhere different and with different people."

The club's newly designed Junior Cricketing Scholarship Programme is aimed at creating an international experience for interested up-and-coming junior players. It is an extension of their senior international club player programme with a vision of further developing international relationships and enhancing the visiting player's experience as well as that of those he or she joins at the club.

Crispian, who described himself as "just a handy club cricketer", enjoyed success at Parley when he played senior cricket at the Dorset club in 1997 and 1998.

The club, in the southwest of England, had teams in the Saturday premier division and Sunday second division while he was there and Crispian played in both, as well as short-form games during the week.

"I just got a semi-contract to play for two seasons. They had actually just merged two clubs and they wanted to try and do something a bit different to try and galvanise them, so they looked for an overseas player," he said.

"I loved it, it was awesome. They just do cricket so differently - it's a different culture. There's the ladies who bring out the tea and cucumber sandwiches, there's the kids that play all day and there's the old stalwarts that played 30, 40, 50 years ago - they come and watch and critique your game, it's really neat.

"All the grounds are really unique, there's really tiny grounds, big grounds, there's just so much history."

Parley won the Sunday competition in 1997 and Crispian was an integral part of the team, scoring 537 runs in 12 innings, at an average of 48.82 and taking 35 wickets for 355 runs in 127 overs of bowling.

He was also one of the side's top all-rounders in the Saturday competition, scoring 287 runs in 13 innings at an average of 23.92 and taking 27 wickets for 350 runs from 99.5 overs.

"It's a bucket list thing to do almost, for a reasonable cricketer, it gave you that keen cricketing option and it was kind of my OE I suppose, because I was in my mid-20s.

"[Cohen going over] is something I've been talking to them a little bit about and they want to try it. It's their first time and it's a neat fit around my connection with the club - it's pretty cool."

Crispian said John Paul College had been "really supportive" of Cohen spending a term in England and he would still do some school work via correspondence.

John Paul College cricket co-ordinator Mark Chapman said Cohen's upcoming trip was "awesome" from the school's point of view.

"We're always trying to develop our young cricketers and for one of our students to have this experience is huge, it doesn't normally come around until they've left school.

"I think all the experiences he's going to have, he can bring them back to his own team - it's a win-win for all of us really. Cohen himself is a bit of a role model amongst his peers and if they can see him pushing himself out of his comfort zone he'll take a lot of them along with him," Chapman said.

Cohen said his ultimate dream was to play for the Black Caps and his favourite player was Kane Williamson.

"He's just a very good player, he's good under pressure," he said.