The Auckland Cricket Association district tournaments, held in December, are the showpiece of youth age-group cricket in Auckland. The five districts in Auckland (Central, Eastern, Manukau, Western and North Harbour) select and prepare teams for the end-of-year tournaments.
Auckland Central District comprises representatives from two clubs, the Cornwall Cricket Club and Ellerslie Cricket Club.
There are four tournaments each with an ‘A’ and a ‘Development’ section:
- Primary Schoolboys (School Year 7 & 8)
- Under 16
- Under 18
- Girls Under 15.
Vision Statement and Goals
To enable our talented cricketers to perform competitively
on the biggest stage for Junior Club cricket in Auckland
The Central Vision Statement is highlighted above. In addition some specific goals have been identified, both qualitative and quantitative. Some of these goals are deliberately designed as “stretch” goals, understanding mediocrity is not embraced.
The emphasis of playing in an Auckland wide age group tournament is on the ‘elite’ players. Unlike the philosophy that Cornwall has on player development across all abilities and grades, the focus at Central is on identifying and developing the elite players in each cohort. This is less egalitarian and can create a clash of ideologies where this change of focus is not well understood.
As shown in the figure below, the earlier district age groups tend more to player development, and the older district age groups tend more toward elite player performance (rationalising that players in the older age group have been exposed to development through their earlier involvement in representative cricket).
Central Structure and Roles
Following is the organisational structure for Central. It is important to note that the Central structure reports to and is accountable to the Cornwall Board, and not the Cornwall Junior Committee.
The key members of Auckland Central Districts are:
- Central Chairman, Chris Coombe
- Central Operations Manager, Matt Davies.
- Central Administrator, Sue Nash
The figure below shows the definition and responsibilities for the Central roles:
Central Winter Academies
Starting around July each year, players are selected to attend Winter Academies run by the Central coaches. These selections are made by the central coaching team, based on nominations from the clubs grade conveners and coaches.
These sessions cover both specialist (e.g. batting, spin bowling) and generalist skills (e.g. fielding). Players are assessed and given ‘work-ons’ to further develop their cricketing skills. These academies continue through August and September, and run in parallel with club winter trainings. The philosophy and criteria published by the ACA for the academies is set out below:
The trial process of assessing potential tournament players involves a larger group than that involved in the academies and takes into account a range of factors:
Central trials may take the form of games and/or net sessions, and knowledge gleaned by coaches from the previous season and across the winter training/academies.
Central Team Selections
These are undertaken at the conclusion of the trial process, and may involve some feedback from the grade convenors.
The thrust of the selection is to try and ensure an overall mix to produce a competitive team. The desired selection criteria are:
- Batters need to score runs (at an appropriate run rate)
- Pace bowlers need to bowl with pace (and take wickets)
- Spin bowlers need to spin the ball (and take wickets)
- Swing bowlers need to swing the ball (and take wickets)
- Fielders need to display athleticism and awareness
- Wicket keepers need to be energetic, tidy behind the stumps, and stop every ball
Selections are generally completed by late October or early November, when shadow teams are announced. These teams may still need to be tweaked to take account of current form and/or injury. There should be a clear understanding the Central coaches are the final arbiters on selection.
Players selected for Central teams will have to purchase their Central playing uniforms from Cricket Express, and wear these to the capping ceremony. The grades have different dates for the capping ceremonies which will be advised closer to the time. These take the form of a brief ceremony and a short address, and are usually held at the Cornwall club rooms. This is a great opportunity to meet other parents, gather tournament information, and take photos of the newly capped players.
Pre-tournament warm-up games and practices.
These generally take place on Sunday’s during November (and December for the Primary Schoolboys). Coaches will often run a pre-tournament training session/camp in the lead-up to the tournament.
The dates for the 2013 tournaments are still tentative, but are likely to be:
• Girls Under 15 – Nov 18, 25 and Dec 2, 3 (Keith Hay Park)
• Under 18 A and Development – TBA
• Under 16 A and Development – TBA
• Primary Schoolboys – Dec 27 – Dec 31 (Lloyd Elsmore Park)
Auckland Cricket Association Selections
At the conclusion of each tournament, Auckland Cricket will select Auckland Representative teams in the Girls Under 15, Boys Under 16 and Under 18 grades. These teams are chosen largely from performances at the tournament. These teams then go on the play games against other cricket districts e.g. Northern Districts. The Girls U15 team also play a tournament in Wanganui.
In the Primary Schooolboys grade, an ‘Auckland Cricket Primary Schoolboys Tournament’ team is selected, but this team does not play against other districts.
Source: Cornwall Cricket Club