The Bay of Plenty Cricket Lakeland region, comprising Eastern Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Taupō, will focus on developing the junior game in the 2018/19 cricket season.

Simon Eves has been appointed the BOPCA Lakeland cricket development officer and will start the development of the junior game in the region in term four, continuing next year in term one.

BOPCA cricket manager Tai Bridgman-Raison says the priority is to develop a strong junior base, which in time will filter through to the senior clubs.

"The focus of the Lakeland development role is to increase participation in cricket at primary school level, by delivering the New Zealand Cricket suite of young player programmes."

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Eves holds a New Zealand Cricket level one coaching certificate and has experience coaching junior cricket from his time playing club cricket in Auckland, before he moved to the Bay. He is a current junior club coach at the Te Puke Cricket Club and delivered the Western Bay of Plenty cricket awareness programme in August and September.

The key component in the Lakeland junior development programme is the New Zealand Cricket Superstarter programme, an all inclusive, skill-based, fun programme for potential cricket players of all abilities.

"It is an easy to understand set-up-and-play method, for involving children in a range of fundamental development skills such as throwing, catching and striking the ball," Bridgman-Raison said.

Aimed at Year 4-6 students, the programme comprises four modules of the fundamental movement skills of striking, throwing, catching and bowling the ball. At the end of each Superstarter programme the youngsters receive a certificate to acknowledge their skill level achieved on the day.

An important follow-up to the Superstarter programme is the Bay of Plenty Cricket regional cricket festivals, where the programme graduates get to utilise their new-found cricket skills in competition.

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