Cricket Blitz is com­ing to Auck­land

Central Leader - - SPORT - By BEN ROGERS

It only took one game, but now Sam Bon­nici wants to join a club and play cricket.

The Three Kings School stu­dent took part in Auck­land Cricket’s new­est form of the game, Cricket Blitz.

‘‘I liked field­ing and bowl­ing the most,’’ he says.

‘‘It was quite hard but we got used to it and we won our game 90 to 58.’’

Cricket Blitz is an eight-aside game with sim­ple rules and min­i­mal equip­ment that can be played af­ter school in just 90 min­utes.

Auck­land Cricket has set up lo­cal com­pe­ti­tions all over the city with schools tak­ing on each other on a weekly ba­sis.

Close to 160 schools have reg­is­tered for Cricket Blitz as sup­port for cricket reaches fever pitch with the Cricket World Cup start­ing to­mor­row.

Three Kings School sports co-or­di­na­tor Brian Keith says the Blitz ver­sion of the game makes it more ac­ces­si­ble.

‘‘The whole point of it is to get peo­ple who wouldn’t usu­ally play cricket in­volved with the sport. It’s like a proper com­pe­ti­tion and proper T-shirts.

‘‘It’s nice and ac­ces­si­ble and sim­ple for the kids.’’

Black Caps open­ing bats­man Martin Gup­till is also sold on the idea and thinks it is a great way to en­cour­age young play­ers into school cricket.

‘‘It’s some­thing dif­fer­ent and pro­vides kids who might not have given cricket a go or who’ve given it away, an easy way of get­ting out there and hav­ing a hit.

‘‘Th­ese kinds of ideas are what we need to make sure that we have that next gen­er­a­tion of cricket-lovers and sup­port­ers com­ing through.’’

Cricket Blitz will have age groups from year 5 to 13 and rules have been tweaked to make sure ev­ery­one gets a go.

The games will con­sist of 16 overs per innings with play­ers bat­ting in pairs for four overs then swap­ping re­gard­less of whether one of them gets out.

All play­ers bowl a min­i­mum of two overs, there are no lbws and the bat­ting side loses three runs for each wicket taken.

‘‘It’s re­ally fun and it’s cool to play other schools,’’ Sam says.

‘‘I like get­ting wickets, but I also like hav­ing a bat and hit­ting the ball.’’

Auck­land Cricket Club devel­op­ment manager Adrian Dale feels that Cricket Blitz is com­ing at the right time to pro­vide an at­trac­tive al­ter­na­tive to get chil­dren play­ing cricket.

‘‘We have to think of ways of mak­ing our game more ac­ces­si­ble and more at­trac­tive for kids to play and Cricket Blitz is a great way of do­ing that,’’ he says.

‘‘We’re pretty con­fi­dent that it will be suc­cess­ful and it’s fan­tas­tic to have Martin Gup­till give it his back­ing.’’

The tour­na­ment runs through­out Fe­bru­ary, cul­mi­nat­ing in a fi­nals day in March.

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to watch a video on the rules of Cricket Blitz.

Photo: BEN ROGERS

Cricket Blitz: Sam Bon­nici, 10, is new to cricket but al­ready wants to join a club.

Se­ri­ous slug­ger: Ge­or­gia Faunt works on her bat­ting tech­nique.

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