The seventh annual Queenstown Schools Cricket Carnival, running next week, includes two sides from across the ditch.
One’s from New South Wales’ Orange District Cricket Association, which has a reciprocal arrangement with Wakatipu High School (WHS), who’ll also be fronting up again.
The other, a newcomer, is from The King’s School in Sydney, whose leading player, quick bowler Fergus Fergusson, is one of NSW’s top schoolboy cricketers.
Carnival organiser/founder Russell Mawhinney notes the school’s ground even has a grandstand — ‘‘it looks like Lord’s’’.
Also competing are Dunedin’s Otago Boys’ High, John McGlashan College and Taieri College, Timaru Boys’, Southland Boys’, who won last year, and Christchurch’s Christ’s College, St Bede’s College and St Andrew’s College.
Christchurch Boys’ was a late withdrawal, but has been replaced by a useful ‘Renegades’ team comprising cricketers from Otago Country, Dunedin’s King’s High School, Timaru Boys’ and Christchurch’s St Thomas of Canterbury College.
Mawhinney says the schools who come back each year ‘‘get a lot out of it for the rest of their cricket programme’’.
It also helps WHS’s players ‘‘because they’re getting exposed to some good cricketers’’.
This team’s missing its top two players, Mason Clarke and Hugo Bogue, who’ll be on Otago under-17s duty, ‘‘but there are still some good players there’’, Mawhinney says.
The carnival’s being held over six grounds — three at the Events Centre and the others at WHS, Jack’s Point and Millbrook.
Monday and Wednesday feature 110-over declaration games, with more points this time for outright wins and fewer for first-innings results, two T20 games on Tuesday and 40-over games on Thursday.
Mawhinney says he’s grateful for financial support from Aotearoa Gaming Trust, Community Trust South, the local council and WHS.
Former WHS player Angus Herron, who’s studying sports management and working for Otago Cricket, will be the tournament controller.
Mawhinney notes there’s already strong interest for next year’s Carnival from as far afield as India.