This year’s unseasonably wet conditions may have created some logistical challenges for the annual Hawke’s Bay Cricket Camp organisers, but the weather has not dampened the spirits of the participants.
Across Hastings and Napier over the month of January cricket pitches are ringing to the sound of bats and balls as competitors from 218 teams (39 from Hawke’s Bay, one from the South Island and the rest from other North Island regions) take to the pitch for the competition and training event run by the Hawke’s Bay Cricket Association.
First established in 1979 the cricket camps have been organised by the Association since 2002, and have been a successful breeding ground for a number of first class and New Zealand cricketers.
Competitors are aged up to 17-years-old and there is a high emphasis on enjoyment and participation, as well as coaching and development.
In Hastings, Hastings District Council continues to support the event with reduced fees for the use of sports grounds including at Frimley Park, Windsor Park, Cornwall Park, Memorial Park - Haumoana, Anderson Park and Flaxmere Park.
Cricket Association chief executive Craig Findlay said the calibre of the facilities was a big factor in the ongoing success of the competition, which continued to attract increasing numbers of entries each year.
“This event has built up a great brand over the years – people know they are going to come to Hawke’s Bay and play cricket – they keep coming back because they know they are going to have really good, high quality facilities.”
He said this month’s event had been anything but normal, compared to other years where people were sheltering from the sun under gazebos and the grass in the parks was brown.
“I’ve done this for 22 years and have never experienced anything like it before. People have been so resilient though, every single team along with the parents and supporters have had no complaints, they’ve played in the rain, and when we’ve had to cancel games they have found other activities to do in and around Hawke’s Bay.”
This extra-curricular activity, as well as use of local accommodation, retail and hospitality meant the benefits of the competition extended beyond those taking part.
Mr Findlay said that based on research conducted a few years ago, more than $7 million in economic benefit resulted from the 8500 visitors the event brought to the region, equating to around 25,000 visitor nights.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was wonderful to see all the people at the parks around the district, and the boost to economic activity the event generated.
“It’s great to have all these visitors enjoying themselves, making use of our wonderful parks and taking in some of what Hastings and the wider Hawke’s Bay has to offer.
“Our parks teams work very hard to ensure all our grounds and facilities are in good condition, and they have been doing a fantastic job over the last few weeks despite all the rain.”
The event runs from January 5 to January 24.
20 January 2023
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