The Indoor Cricket New Zealand (ICNZ) Provincials programme will kick-off this weekend, with the Junior Provincials being held in Christchurch from Saturday 14th to Monday 16th July at Action Indoor Sports Hornby and the newly refurbished Howzat Indoor Sports Stadium.
The tournament is the start of a busy 12 weeks for Indoor Cricket in the Christchurch region, with the Club Nationals being held in early September, before the Junior World Series takes place from September 29th.
Unprecedented number of sides enter Junior Provincials
A record 28 sides across six pools in the Under-13 Boys, Under-15 Boys, Under-17 Boys and Under-17 Girls grades are entering the tournament, meaning at least 300 players will descend upon Christchurch for the competition. The competition will feature teams from host Canterbury, Wellington and Auckland alongside Central, Northern and Southern Districts. This is a development that ICNZ Cricket Executive Member Mark Cini is extremely pleased with, as players jostle for positions in the New Zealand sides to be named for the World Series after the tournament.
“This is a very, very encouraging sign for junior indoor cricket in New Zealand. It just represents the development that is occurring at that level and the hard work a lot of people are doing behind the scenes to make sure this is a success. I also thank all officials, volunteers and parents for their efforts”, said Cini. “Not only are the provinces sending sides but there are also development sides in the competition. It is going to be an important tournament with 80 players to be picked in New Zealand and New Zealand A sides (eight in total) following the conclusion of the tournament”.
Newly rebuilt Howzat Indoor Sports ready for first tournament
Works on Howzat Indoor Sports commenced late last year after going under new ownership. The facility now looks state-of-the-art, featuring new courts and new turf, with ample space for players and supporters alike, as well as corporate and social amenities.
“A lot of time, effort and money has gone into making Howzat great again, as it’s part of the indoor sports fabric in Christchurch. We wanted to retain the name but make it better, to attract the sorts of tournaments that we are hosting this year, including Nationals for the first time since 2010. There is still a lot of work to do but we are confident that people will enjoy what it has to offer” Cini said.
Junior World Series hosting a huge coup for Christchurch and ICNZ
While the number of teams are yet to be confirmed, sides from Australia, South Africa, England, Singapore and Sri Lanka are expected to arrive for the tournament, a massive boost for ICNZ.
“It is fantastic to be getting teams from a number of countries come for the tournament. It represents the diversity of competition and it is the commitment of these teams, as well as ourselves to keep growing the interest in indoor cricket on a global scale. I am looking forward to a fantastic two weeks which showcase the best young talent going around. It will also be a great boost to the Christchurch economy with our ability to showcase this beautiful place” Cini said.