Two White Ferns on mentoring duty at the Cricket Express Whanganui Festival of Cricket have likened the event to a high performance learning environment.

Hometown cricketer and White Fern Jess Watkin is mentoring the Central Districts side and Lauren Down the Auckland team at this week's National Interprovincial U15 Girls Tournament.

Both, in fact, are graduates of the tournament and living proof to the young girls playing at Victoria Park in Whanganui that the ultimate level can be achieved through the festival environment.

"I think I came through this under-15 tournament about 2010 and found it a great learning environment," Down said.


"It's almost like a high performance experience for this age group and a stepping stone to higher levels. It played a big part in my journey to becoming a White Fern."
Watkin, who has featured at this tournament as either a player or a mentor for the past decade, agreed.

"What I've noticed is that the girls have grown even during the short time they are here and they are implementing stuff they have learned immediately," Watkin said.

"They are actually playing proper cricket shots guiding the ball to where they want it with the bat instead of just smashing it to square, or they are bowling very good line and length."

Both CD and Auckland played each other during yesterday morning's session and instead of facing off as opposing mentors of their respective teams, Watkin and Down were more than pleased just to watch their players develop.

Auckland batted first scoring a solid 183/3 after 30 overs with Emma Irwin (53 retired), Isabella Gaze (38no) and Anna Browning (31) contributing with the bat. Best of te CD bowlers was Ella Ranson with 2/24 off five over.

In reply CD unfortunately choked and was quickly on the back foot at 13/6 after seven overs, including four ducks and giving Breearne Illing excellent five wicket bag for just six runs in her four overs. CD was finally bundled out for 34 runs in the 15th over.

Wellington bundled Northern Districts out for 109 runs and in reply reached the chase target in the 19th over, while Otago set Christchurch a chase of 138/9, a target they eclipsed by the 20th over with the loss of just four wickets. Ella Gibson took two wickets Otago wickets for just six runs off three overs.

On Day One on Tuesday CD, Auckland and Christchurch all kicked off with solid wins.
CD beat Wellington by 29 runs scoring 191/3 after 30 overs. Wellington replied with 162/4 after the allotted overs. Macy Lyford (61) and Jesse Hollard (56) both retired after setting the scene for victory.

Otago lost to Auckland after setting a paltry 106 chase after relinquishing all wickets by the 29th over. Auckland bowler Frances Jonas did major damage to Otago with figures of 4/18 from six overs.

The Auckland batters easily made 107 without loss to take the win.
Christchurch set ND a solid chase scoring 221/5 after 30 overs with openers Izzy Sharp (44), Abigail Hotton (32) and Lucy Murray (51 retired) setting the pace. ND were 135/9 in reply.

Play continued on Wednesday afternoon and into the evening beyond the Chronicle deadline.