The NZCPA has a strong focus on development of the game in non-traditional communities through programmes like Hooked on Cricket and the Choice Hotels Masters Series. This Sunday the series concludes with a Twenty20 match against Northern Maori at Smallbone Park, Rotorua.
Hooked on Cricket has been critical to cricket's participation in Rotorua, not only in promoting cricket as a sport, but also by encouraging kids to be active within a team sport environment. Players from the MoleMap Masters team will hold a coaching session for Rotorua's young cricketers, including those from Hooked on Cricket schools, prior to the match on Sunday.
Northern Districts Cricket has been proactive in supporting Maori cricket and have established, what is currently the only representative Maori cricket team in New Zealand. This is the third time the two teams have met in what is becoming something of an annual fixture. Northern Maori have emerged with victory over the past two years so the MoleMap Masters will be keen to secure their first win against Northern Maori to round out this season's Choice Hotels Masters Series.
Northern Maori Manager Graeme Stewart said "we think this match is important to continue developing cricket in Rotorua and to encourage both greater Maori participation and excellence in cricket in general.
"It also meshes perfectly with the NZCPA's objectives and is a fantastic opportunity to turn on a real show for the Rotorua public and to engage them in cricket."
Adding to the excitement for Northern Maori players is the chance to establish a New Zealand Maori cricket team. The ICC has invited a team from New Zealand to participate in the ICC Indigenous tournament in Brisbane during August. Other teams participating include Australian Indigenous, Papua New Guinea (winners of the ICC East Asia Pacific tournament) and an ICC EAP tournament team (made up from other Pacific Island nations).
However, to confirm New Zealand Maori's participation in this tournament a team sponsor is required.
The NZCPA, Northern Districts Cricket and New Zealand Cricket are working hard to find a sponsorship partner for the New Zealand Maori team, to not only allow participation in this tournament but also to grow opportunities for Maori through cricket participation, especially via the Twenty20 cricket format.
This is the final Choice Hotels Masters Series match of the summer and the NZCPA have put together a strong side that features a host of former international and domestic players.
NZCPA's Ewen Thompson said "the match on Sunday is really important to us as we continue our support of cricket in Rotorua and to promote cricket to young Maori players.
We hope there will be plenty of kids there for the junior coaching session on Sunday morning and lots of support for the match in the afternoon."
A key feature of the Choice Hotels Masters Series this summer is that MoleMap are offering a FREE spot check service to all spectators, families and players at each of the matches. The NZCPA are pleased to work with MoleMap in helping to raise awareness about the benefits of getting regular skin checks, especially for those most at risk such as cricketers, who spend large amounts of time in the sun.
This Choice Hotels Masters Series match will be available to be viewed 'Live' on CricHQ.com.
MoleMap Masters team list
• Glen Sulzberger (capt) - New Zealand and Central Districts
• Dean Askew - Auckland and Central Districts
• Rob Hart - New Zealand and Northern Districts
• Jaden Hatwell - Northern Districts
• Peter Ingram - New Zealand and Central Districts
• Peter McGlashan - New Zealand, Northern Districts and Central Districts
• Michael Mason - New Zealand and Central Districts
• Mark Orchard - NZ A and Northern Districts
• Bradley Scott - New Zealand and Northern Districts
• Sanj Silva - Central Districts and Sri Lanka A
• Ewen Thompson - New Zealand and Central Districts