11 January 2024

The Year 7/8 Cricket Festival – A Beautiful Cricket Story

The year 7/8 cricket festival got underway at Mandeville and Burnside Park this week with 20 teams competing from across the Canterbury region.
One particular game caught the eye of the GM Community as two teams were laughing, congratulating each other and preparing for a post-match group photo!
A CJCA team were playing a Buller side, realising early on that there was a mismatch about to occur, the players, coaches and management came together to discuss what changes they could make to ensure the cricket experience for all was the best it could be.

With support from Liam Foulkes the Canterbury Country coach developer, the teams decided to retire CJCA batters after 20 balls, let all 10 Buller players bowl, and regardless of wickets CJCA players supported Buller to see out the allotted overs.
Not only did the players take on this challenge, but there were high fives from fielders to batter for quality shots, on-field peer lead coaching and positive banter that made the game sound like a busy school lunch hour!

You could see Parents with a slight tear in their eye, watching their children lead and behave in a supportive, collaborative way, that is beyond their years.    The scenes at the end of the game did not elude to who won or lost, it simply showed 20 year 8 boys who had an amazing life experience that they all helped create.

Cricket is a game of fine margins, tactical awareness and hard slog – it’s also a place that, given the opportunity, players, coaches, families and volunteers can use to create lifelong memories, friendships and experiences that change people’s lives.

A huge congratulations must go to the wider Canterbury district staff, coach developers and festival organisers, who have taken on age and stage requirements, understood balance is better and worked hard with coaches and volunteers to work in partnership to create these opportunities for our young cricket players!