Ex-White Fern sparks junior push


Pushing junior cricket in the Wakatipu is a key focus for the Queenstown Cricket Club’s new club manager.

Former White Ferns and Otago Sparks leg-spinner Emma Campbell is encouraging parents to bring their five to 15-year-olds to the Queenstown Events Centre nets next Thursday between 3.30 and 5.30pm to register with the club.

Membership ranges from $70 to $100 for a 14-week season, which Campbell promises will include good coaching and playing opportunities.

Campbell, who’s also signed on for another season coaching for the Otago Country Cricket Association, detects increased enthusiasm for the game following this year’s Cricket World Cup.

“Mums are saying, ‘I never was into cricket but I loved that [New Zealand versus South Africa] semi-final’.

“Even through winter, you’ve seen kids out with backyard cricket sets, which doesn’t normally happen.”

Up to year 4, youngsters play soft ball cricket, then for years five and six, seven and eight and nine and 10 there are hard ball competitions.

Boys and girls compete together, though there are also girls-only teams.

In her Otago Country role, Campbell’s also taking the sport into schools.

During visits she’ll be handing out NZ Cricket giveaway bags including an Otago Volts ball, sunglasses and a colouring-in book.

She’s encouraging local youngsters, too, to join a school holidays cricket programme at the Events Centre on September 28 and 29.

Campbell’s hoping to introduce a six-a-side social competition at Wakatipu High. Meanwhile, pre-training for Queenstown Cricket Club senior players also starts at the Events Centre next Thursday, from 5.30pm.