img_18191Spring is about growth, and what better way for a sport to try to achieve this than appeal to more and more of the wider community. Wairarapa Cricket are doing just that and have made an exciting appointment to a newly created role. For the 2016/17 season Wairarapa have used funding specifically sourced in the off-season to appoint a part-time Female Development Officer, one of the few Central Districts provinces to employ such a role.

Having had significant success over the past four years with growth in female participation and an ever-expanding representative program, the WCA are hoping that this role will complement, sustain and create further success. One of the themes that has helped over time has been growing the game from within the province. With this philosophy it is apt that one of Wairarapa’s most successful young sportswomen of recent years has taken up the new role. Katherine van Woerkom, a product of Wairarapa College, and recent New Zealand U/18 and U/21 Hockey representative has taken up the challenge, and is looking forward to being involved in another sport that she has a passion for.

Whilst at Wairarapa College van Woerkom was an integral member of the successful first XI Girls Hockey side, but what is not known by many is that she was also a 1st XI cricketer for all 5 years at the school, being handy with the bat, a more than capable wicket-keeper, and rolling her arm over to bowl when required.

WCA Operations and Development Manager, Simon Roseingrave, is ecstatic to have someone of this caliber on board. “Whilst Katherine hasn’t worked specifically in cricket she has a love for the game built up over a number of years, recent experience in coaching, and a strong philosophy around development.

Wairarapa Cricket believe that the delivery focusing on females, run by a female face and voice, will not only reinforce the values of existing female participants, but also begin to break down any barriers that may exist in a perceived male dominated game.

“When researching establishing this position it became obvious to us that the importance of female values and breaking down participation barriers needed to be at the centre of our thinking” noted Roseingrave “Katherine already has a good grasp around these concepts and the accent will be on fun, friends and family for all our participants.

Over the course of the season the WCA development team will implement new ideas to appeal to the wider female audience, including Girls Cricket Festivals and Mother-Daughter intro to cricket days, complete with give-aways from community sponsors and New Zealand Cricket.

“Much of the new role will be in schools, appealing to potential participants, and Katherine will be a fantastic role-model for all involved” said Roseingrave, “In addition an important focus will involve encouraging more women into volunteering, coaching and governance.”

This focus is a pilot scheme within New Zealand and as such, Wairarapa cricket are not only looking to grow, but to be leaders in this growth.