Unique Kiwi kids’ cricket programme celebrates tenth anniversary

More than 50,000 New Zealand children have participated in a unique cricket programme over the last ten years – with many more lined up to enjoy another summer of the sport.

A joint initiative between New Zealand Cricket and Nestlé New Zealand, MILO Have-A-Go Cricket is celebrating its tenth anniversary this summer (2009/2010) with a further 6,000 children expected to enjoy a season with the bat and ball.

The introductory programme is open to all 5 to 8 year old boys and girls through primary schools and cricket clubs across the country.  Over the course of twelve 90-minute sessions, the basics of batting, bowling, fielding and skill development are taught and encouraged through activities and games.

Mark Lane, Youth Development Manager, New Zealand Cricket says after ten years the grassroots programme continues to be a success, benefitting children and communities nationwide.

“The partnership between Nestlé and cricket in New Zealand began in Auckland in 1986, and for the past ten years, MILO has been an integral part of New Zealand Cricket's national youth development, with over 700,000 children enjoying a number of MILO junior cricket programmes.

“The tenth anniversary of the MILO Have-A-Go programme is a significant milestone and we are looking forward to another exciting season with the country’s smallest cricketers – Kiwi kids.”

In addition to basic cricket skills, the programme encourages fair play, awareness and interest in physical activity, fun and participation.  Comprehensive coaching manuals and videos have been produced to help the many volunteers whose support is invaluable.

“Kiwis love sport and we are proud that our partnership has helped and continues to help children get out and enjoy playing cricket,” says Maurice Gunnell, Corporate Services Manager, Nestlé.

“This programme offers a positive first step in a child’s participation and involvement in cricket – and we acknowledge the hundreds of parents and teachers whose contribution has helped this programme grow.”

The long term partnership between New Zealand Cricket and Nestlé comprises a number of MILO junior cricket programmes, including a cricket competition for 7 to 10 year olds, a national primary schools cricket championships for 11 to 13 year olds, and MILO Summer Squad – an initiative designed to train parents and teachers to become coaches in the associated programmes.

For more information on the MILO Have-A-Go programme visit www.kiwicaps.co.nz and click on ‘get into cricket’.

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