Alan Hunt is six months into his new role as director of cricket at Sacred Heart and has a clear vision for the sport at the East Auckland school.

"The major crux of the role was to coach the First XI, which is something I really wanted to do, but also build the numbers," says the former Auckland cricketer and highly-qualified coach, who has worked at first-class level with the Central Districts Stags.

"Historically with the cricket institute, the numbers have been relatively small, quite an elite group."

Now there are 40 boys in the institute, up from 20, all getting specialist coaching and now working after school, unlike in previous years.


"We want them to stay in the game when they leave school, and obviously we want to win something along the way," says Hunt.

One day cricket may be as successful at the top end of Sacred Heart sport in the manner of the school's water polo and football sides.

"One day we might also see a former Sacred Heart player, other than Colin Snedden, become a New Zealand [test] player," says Hunt.

Recent players in the first-class ranks include Matt Quinn, Glenn Phillips and Dean Bartlett.

Sacred Heart has six cricket teams from First XI down to Junior A and B. Hunt says the overall standard is "a work in progress" but is confident that good strides are being made, but he would like to see teams less reliant on two or three players. On his wish-list, other than perhaps a main pitch with a bit more pace and carry, is an indoor facility, so he can get into more frequent winter work with his players. He can tap into club indoor facilities, but they all come at a cost.

Support from the top is welcome.

"[Principal] Jim Dale and director of sport Nick Guise are very supportive of what we're trying to achieve."

Now it is a matter of upping the results and further growing the cricket numbers at Sacred Heart.