Orange District Junior Cricket Association’s (ODJCA) tour of New Zealand is about far more than just winning, there’s just as big a focus on development, enjoyment and also on ensuring the late Carl Sharpe’s legacy continues.
The Orange under-16 side flies out for Aotearoa on Monday morning for the two-week tour of the South Island, which last year’s Western NSW Under-15 Cricket Carnival was the catalyst for.
Wakatipu become the carnival’s first international side and after enjoying themselves so much in Orange last year, the side’s coach – Russell Mawhinney – went back and established a similar tournament based in Queenstown, immediately inviting Orange to participate.
“During last summer’s carnival we had a big dinner with the kiwi guys and Sharpie was there, but he wasn’t well at that time. He and Russell, who played in the old Otago-Mitchell Cricket Council reciprocal tours, spoke and we pretty much came to an agreement then that we’d do this,” ODJCA vice-president, and under-16 coach, Matt Winslade said.
“These kids know who Sharpie was, but now they’ll have the benefit of his influence as well with this carnival, he was very passionate about making sure this started happening again.
“The boys are all looking forward to it, it’ll be great experience for them, playing in a different place and seeing more of the world a bit.”
The side – made up of Joey Kay, Jacob Weir, Caleb Cook, Ben Winslade, Bailey Ferguson, Lachlan Griffith, Ed Dodds, Will Leulf, Alex Brien, Ryan Noon, Nick Rosser and Hudson Izzard – will play their first game on Wednesday, against North Otago in Oamaru.
“They used to play there in the old Mitchell tours, so I think that’s a bit of a nod to them,” Winslade said.
They’ll follow that with a game against Dunedin Metro on Friday before an exhibition Twenty20 on Sunday, and several more games before the following Thursday’s finals.
Although the side Winslade and Phil Dodds are chaperoning is a blockbuster one, the former coach said it’s impossible to know how they’ll fare.
“We’re not sure, we can’t be really,” Winslade said.
“It’s a good side we’ve got, but we will be one of the younger sides there as well so that’ll be a challenge.
“They’ll need to adapt to different conditions, we’re hoping they can. There’s a few guys who play regular first grade here in Orange, so we’ll look to them to lead from the front.”
The side will be without Harry Pearce, who was forced to sacrifice going on the tour to represent Western Zone at the Bradman Cup.