The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 captured the hearts of the country. The tournament inspired many to support the BLACKCAPS but it also inspired many to play the game.
Raroa Normal Intermediate School Boys 1st XI cricket team coach Shane Lavery, can testify the impact the tournament had on his Wellington school.
“There was a massive buzz last year, seemed to be heaps of kids playing cricket.”
Over the last couple of years there has been a huge increase in numbers of kids that want to play cricket. This year Raroa was able to put together a second XI, and Lavery believed if they really tried a third team could have been created.
Lavery has coached the Raroa Intermediate Boys 1st XI since 2007. Since his arrival the team have enjoyed sustained success, including making the National Primary School tournament five times. After losing a couple of close games at last year’s finals, Lavery and his team are striving to push on this year.
“Every year you want to have a good crack at it, hopefully we can push on a little bit. Last year was pretty close; it would be quite nice to be on the right side on a couple of the close games.”
The ICC Cricket World Cup not only created an interest for boys, but there have been vast numbers of girls that have signed up to play. Interest at Raroa has been no different, the Girls 1st XI are competing for the National Primary School Shield for the second year in a row. The visit their third since the team started.
The tournament provides year sevens and eights an opportunity to play against teams on a national level, all representing their various regions. Raroa are Wellington’s representative for both the boy’s and girl’s tournaments this year.
Lavery believes it gives the kids an experience that will last a lifetime.
“Last year’s tournament was amazing, blew all the boys and parents away. Having it down at the Lincoln grounds made it such a cool experience.”
Raroa’s boys team this year features three year eights that were involved in last year’s tournament, all three have created a buzz within the team about their upcoming trip to Christchurch.
“We had four year seven’s, unfortunately ones left, but the other three have been telling everyone about it.”
The boy’s cricket side have won the National Primary Cup twice, while the girls from Raroa have lifted the shield once. This year both teams are looking to add another national title for the Wellington school.
When asked for the key to his success, Lavery keeps things simple.
“Success breeds a bit of success, a lot of kids will come in and be amping to try and make the teams, because they know if they get there, there is quite a cool opportunity to play some good games.”
“There was a real energy at the start of this year, all the kids were really keen to try and make the team, and try well because they knew there was that carrot at the end of the year.”
Lavery doesn’t believe Raroa does anything significantly different than other schools, only that they are lucky to have a number of staff that are passionate about cricket. He also added that clubs in the area help cricket grow at Raroa.
“We are lucky enough to have a couple of strong junior clubs which we get a number of kids from. That obviously helps.”
Raroa’s teams are both already starting to get ready for this year’s tournament at Lincoln. The boy’s tournament runs from the 21st – 23rd of November, with the girl’s being played from the 24th – 26th of November.
The National Primary Shield and Cup are most players first taste of a national tournament. In a few years who knows how many BLACKCAPS and WHITE FERNS will have had their first Grant Elliot semi-final moment at Raroa Normal Intermediate School.