Junior cricket breaks record

Cambridge Thunder player Troy Colby lines up a shot during his first innings of the summer season at John Kerkhof Park in Cambridge.

Dozens of junior cricketers hit John Kerkhof Park last Saturday morning to smash out the first game of the 2020/2021 summer season, as the sport’s stellar local growth continues.

Cambridge Junior Cricket Club chairman Steve Carter welcomed the return of full-time cricket development officer Indika Senarathne, who spent lockdown in Hawke’s Bay with family and is now back in town.

“Indi’s been through all the Cambridge schools and we’ve got record registrations – we’ve pushed past 400 for the first time,” he said.

“We’ll have 140 five and six-year-olds down here doing skills on Friday night and 16 teams doing either cricket with a soft ball or introduction to hard ball cricket.”

Saturday numbers also continue to grow, with 12 teams registered this season.

“The massive growth area for us right now is the year six kids,” Carter said.  “Including the girls’ teams we’ve got seven year five and six teams, of which most are year six, so it’s a real growth of Cambridge cricket.”

He attributed that partly to the club’s move to install new pitches at John Kerkhof Park, and to increasing participation in Friday night cricket.

The junior club caters to year 1-8 players.

“Cricket at the high school’s also going well,” Carter said.  “I think we’ve got three or four teams and for the first time in many years we’ve got a second Cambridge senior team and that’s what we’ve been trying to develop – a pathway between secondary school and senior cricket.”

Interviewed on Saturday, Carter said CJCC was set to host the Northern Districts rounds of New Zealand Cricket’s knockout competitions for intermediate boys and girls on Tuesday – the New Zealand Cup and the New Zealand Shield.

Cambridge Middle School’s girls’ team had qualified for the Northern Districts shield finals but results were not available when this story went to press.

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