Astute judges have been forced to sit up and take notice of a 13-year-old Whanganui allrounder at the Cricket Express Festival of Cricket at Victoria Park this week.
Charlotte Stent has stood out for the Whanganui team playing in the Central Districts Under-18 Devleopment Tournament this week, but unfortunately her improved performance has come too late to make the CD side to compete in the National Under-15 competition on the same grounds next week.
Last year at her Festival of Cricket debut, Stent was named the non-travelling reserve for the CD X1, a spot she relinquished to fellow Whanganui Under-18 teammate Jemma Tan this year.
"I wasn't playing good enough to make the CD Under-15 side again this year, but it's one of my goals for next season," Stent said.
The former Whanganui Intermediate School (WIS) student will move up a grade when she attends Whanganui High School this year and will continue to strive for selection into representative teams while not on school duty.
"I played for WIS for the last couple of years and was in the Ray White Boys Under-12 rep side that won five of our six games at the Hawkes Bay Cricket Camp. My goal is to gain selection to the CD Under-15 team to play nationals next year and to go as far as I can go in cricket," Stent said.
Her form during the Under-18 Tournament this week has been solid.
Up until Friday morning Stent was third on the tournament batting leaderboard, 15th on the bowling table, 10th in fielding and second on the MVP leaderboard.
The left arm medium fast bowler and allrounder was also fifth and the only Anndion Whanganui player on the tournament Dream Team compiled by CriqHQ as the week progresses. A separate CD side will be named following the finals today. That team will play at the National Under-18 Tournament in Wellington at the end of the month.
The Nelson and Hawkes Bay Under-18 girls were the only unbeaten sides remaining at this week's competition and would be the likely finalists on Saturday.
Teams from Wellington, Nelson, Horowhenua-Kapiti, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, Wairarapa and Whanganui with the focus firmly on developing individual and team skills over four days of play are competing.
Cricket Whanganui general manager Dilan Raj said with only the very large centres offering girls-only competition, this festival was an ideal vehicle to develop skills.
The Festival of Cricket will host the Under-15 National Tournament where teams from all six New Zealand provinces will compete.
The under-15 teams will be coached or mentored by first-class cricketers, including White Ferns.
Whanganui's own White Fern and CD Hinds allrounder Jess Watkin is mentoring both the home side age group teams over the next week, while slipping away on occasion to play for the Hinds in the Women's Burger King Super Smash.
The Hinds play the Otago Sparks in Dunedin on Saturday and then the Canterbury Magicians the following week.
What Watkin has achieved is something that the young Stent also burns to experience.
"It's great having Jess as our mentor and definitely someone to look up to," Stent said.