Cricket balls will be raining down over Arrowtown’s Millbrook Corner ground over Waitangi weekend next year.
The ground’s hosting Queenstown Cricket Club’s inaugural Queenstown International Cricket Sixes on February 7 and 8.
Featuring six players and five overs per side, the tournament’s the idea of local lawyer and ‘chief cricket tragic’, Russell Mawhinney.
A former first-class cricketer, he was event manager for the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes while CEO of Hong Kong Cricket Association during the ’90s.
To get this first tournament up and running, entries are being restricted to nine teams at $600 a pop.
Three local teams and one from Auckland have entered already.
While it’s likely only New Zealand teams will enter this time, Mawhinney’s sure they’ll attract international teams in future years.
“If there’s one thing we can do in this town, it’s attract people for this sort of thing.”
While there’ll be a social flavour, and in fact camaraderie amongst cricketers is the tournament’s main aim, there’ll be qualified umpires, and drinking on the field’s not allowed.
Any surplus will go to a new Heartland Cricket Trust, whose aims include providing young cricketers with educational opportunities while pursuing cricket, and providing scholarships to assist a cricket academy in Sri Lanka.
Mawhinney says the sixes will also be a huge crowd-pleaser.
“It’s just wall-to-wall hitting – you’d hate to be a bowler.”