Job well done.
That was the assessment of Peter Cameron after one of the biggest weeks in the recent history of North Otago cricket.
Oamaru hosted the annual South Island primary schools tournament, featuring 14 teams from around the island playing over five days.
It was a massive logistical challenge, but North Otago cricket boss Cameron said it all went swimmingly.
“From the feedback we’ve had, and the compliments we’ve had, we have to consider it an exceptional success.
“A lot of that goes down to the time and effort people put in during the lead-up to the tournament.
“I think we achieved everything we wanted to. So we’re pleased with everything.”
The tournament start was delayed due to overnight rain but all games were completed over the week.
There were a couple of issues – one player had an illegal bowling action, and there was some unfortunate behaviour from a sideline supporter – but Cameron said they did not detract from the event’s success.
“They were sorted straight away, and we don’t want to dwell on that. Everybody was absolutely rapt with the way it went.”
Oamaru was the guinea pig for sweeping changes to the tournament, in its 56th year.
Early rounds were twenty20 cricket and games were nine-a-side, and New Zealand Cricket will be keenly interested in feedback.
“I think we will propose some changes, and a report will be sent to all districts,” Cameron said.
“A lot of people didn’t understand that the format changes were driven by New Zealand Cricket, and we just happened to be the first district to host this tournament within the new parameters.”
North Otago fought hard against bigger regions but could manage only a solitary win.
Rising bowler Lloyd Fellowes grabbed the headlines with a hat-trick, and finished in the top 10 for bowling with 11 wickets at 11.73.
Hunter Wardle (121 runs) and Toby Growcott (114) led the batting.
“I think they enjoyed it,” Cameron said.
“It was a massive step up for all of them. Perhaps they didn’t get the results we’d hoped, but we have to be realistic. We’re drawing from a very small pool of players.
“These boys will remember this experience for the rest of their lives.”
Christchurch Red won the title. Christchurch Black won the shield, and Invercargill Metro claimed the plate.