Tournament a “real coup” for Cambridge

Waikato Valley heads off the field for a well earned drinks break.

While the Black Caps were crushing England in a commanding first test performance at Mt Maunganui last month, future cricket stars were making their own mark here in Cambridge.

In a “real coup” for Cambridge Junior Cricket Club, the Northern Districts intermediate boys’ representative tournament was played at John Kerkhof Park this week, attracting eight teams from Northland, Counties, Hamilton, Waikato Valley, Bay of Plenty and Poverty Bay.

“In the past this tournament has been played at the University of Waikato, so it’s really exciting for our club to have the tournament hosted at our grounds,” said CJCA chairperson Steve Carter.

Waikato Valley wicket keeper Baxter Smith encourages his teammates in a game against Northland.

“It highlights that John Kerkhof park is now recognised as a premier location within Northern Districts for these type of events.”

Carter said the club had put in a huge effort – with “incredible support” from Cambridge Junior Football Club – to create a new junior cricket ground at the Vogel St park, incorporating four new concrete pitches installed at the beginning of this year.

“It’s all been part of our drive to make local cricket really family-friendly a give it a real community feel,” he said.

“One thing that makes the park so attractive as a tournament facility is that we’ve laid the pitches out close together so you can have four games going simultaneously and everyone can see each other, which creates a great vibe.”

He said it was unusual for a club to be able to host a major tournament.

“Usually it’s an entire city or an association hosting an event like this and teams have to be distributed across multiple venues, so to have all the games here in one place makes our facility really attractive to tournament organisers.

“That’s good for our club and good for Cambridge, because we’ve got around 90 players arriving here needing food and accommodation this week.”

Waikato Valley coach Lachie Holt agreed.

12-year-old Waikato Valley batsman Flynn Morey prepares for an innings against Northland on Monday morning.

“It’s really awesome to have this tournament at John Kerkhof; the facilities are really good and it’s cool to see such a new ground having such high-level cricket from all over the Northern Districts area,” he said.

“It’s really cool to have a ground like this where all the teams can play and see each other at the same time.”

The  tournament was a homecoming for Holt, a former local cricketer who attended Cambridge High School from 2012-2016.

Now living in Hamilton, he has just finished his training as a primary school teacher and may head overseas next year “to play a bit of cricket”.

He said Waikato Valley had “a really good team this year” and it was great to see his players having fun and showing positivity on the pitch.

This season’s Waikato Valley line-up includes three Cambridge players – bowling specialist Tom Rutter, wicketkeeper-batsman Baxter Smith and all rounder Ryan Metcalfe.

Rutter goes to Cambridge Middle School and plays for the Cross Auto Electrical Cambridge team, while Smith and Metcalfe attend St Peter’s School.

Results from the Northern Districts tournament, played between Sunday and Wednesday, were not available as this paper went to press, but will be posted at ndcricket.co.nz/tournaments.

Waikato Valley’s Cambridge representatives (from left) Ryan Metcalfe, Tom Rutter and Baxter Smith.

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