Junior NPL competitions for girls in Year 7, Y8 and Y9 are being run in Northern Districts associations.

Northern Premier League catching fire

Gisborne girls are playing a competition inspired by the Northern Premier League (NPL) that Northern Districts Cricket developed for women last year.

The NPL was launched to give female cricketers in the Northern Districts catchment regular high-quality cricket.

Four non-regional teams were formed with the intention of spreading the talent evenly to ensure competitive matches.

Recruitment of players — from outside as well as inside the region — boosted the competition’s quality and profile, and coaches and managers were appointed to match.

Now, Junior NPL competitions for girls in Year 7, Y8 and Y9 are being run in Northern Districts associations.

In Gisborne, the competition started this month. Games are being held at Gisborne Intermediate on Wednesday afternoons from 3.15pm to 4.15pm.

Gisborne Intermediate, Campion College, Gisborne Girls’ High School and some primary-age girls have been put into four teams.

The team names are Velocity, Sonic, Galaxy and Power — the same names as those used in the senior NPL.

Poverty Bay Cricket district manager Mel Knight, who is also women’s development officer and a member of the Northern Spirit squad, said Junior NPL was a quick, modified version of cricket being run for girls in Term 4 this year and Term 1 next year.

Played with plastic bats and soft rubber balls, it was perfect for new players wanting to try the sport in a social setting. The focus was on having fun with friends.

Team shirts and playing gear were all supplied, and the coaches and umpires came from the playing ranks of Poverty Bay secondary girls.

“We have room for more players in the teams,” Knight said.

“Anyone interested can contact me at mel@pbcricket.co.nz to find out more.”

This story was originally published by Gisborne Herald.

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