On the 28th and 29th of June Ed and myself were invited to attend the South Island Community Cricket Conference, hosted by Otago and Canterbury Cricket Associations.  As someone new to working in this space, I found it a really good learning experience.

We solved problems in groups, for example how to run a festival for a large number of teams where grounds were limited. Pooling experience worked to form a plan for how we might solve a similar problem in our own district. I liked hearing how other districts did things differently and comparing them to how we operate. Meeting all these people was also an opportunity to strengthen the bonds between our District Associations. Now if I have questions I have more people I can ask for advice.

There was a Balance is Better presentation with some crazy examples of why this practice is needed, such as Under 11 rugby players being put on meal plans and 5 year olds being sat down for hour long whiteboard sessions. They showed research on how kids mature at different times, so all players should get similar opportunities and amounts of attention. Otherwise you risk burning out the “stronger” players and neglecting “weaker” ones. This standard and the new festivals allow players who wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity in the past to have time in the middle. The result is more teams at festivals, more kids getting opportunities to play cricket, and stronger club competitions.

Some presentations around the Women’s Cricket World Cup next year and the Cricket is Back start of season campaign from New Zealand Cricket helped to teach us about what kind of advertising is most effective to amp up excitement for cricket. Discussing this with other districts helped too, as their experience with activation days and marketing for cricket was good to learn from. I now have a better idea of what to do in Marlborough to kick things off strongly.

The group of people at the conference all had different backgrounds, some in cricket, some not, and it was great to see the diverse views of everyone, and see what could be applied to our district for the coming season. Cricket is evolving and changing and it is exciting to be a part of it.

~ Eden Pettigrew, Community Cricket Development Manager