Ponies to take pre-season trot in Raro

The Takapuna Ponies Premier Women’s cricket team are on a mission to promote the women’s game, their latest assignment is a trip to the Cook Islands later this month to spread the good word of leather and willow.

Last year’s one-day champions, the Ponies, are coached by Chris Reid, and this trip was one of his many ideas to raise awareness of the women’s game.

“I’m looking to push the envelope with women’s cricket and do things that haven’t been seen before,” says Reid.

“You don’t see many club teams travelling overseas, it’s something more common for school teams, so I thought why not!”

Initially the Ponies were hoping to head to Australia and test their skills against the might of our Trans-Tasman neighbours, but now the prospect of Rarotonga gives the trip a different spin.

“We are looking at this trip from a holistic perspective, we’re not just about a winning cricket team, we want to grow the game and gain exposure also,” says Reid.

Exposure won’t be an issue, with their game against the Cook Islands broadcast on national TV and several initiatives have been planned to ‘give back’ to locals.

“We will be gathering up gear donations from the wider Auckland Cricket community and taking it over with us as cricket kit is in scarce supply on the island,” says Reid.

“We will also be looking to hold interactive training sessions for the local cricket community on the island where we can hopefully share some of our knowledge to raise the standards of the game over there.”

Ponies captain Lauren Down says she’s “excited” to head to Rarotonga and is glad two new faces in Arlene Kelly and Carla Wood will have a chance to get comfortable in their new surroundings.

“Being a newbie to the side, I’m really looking forward to getting to know my new team mates and learning more about the style of cricket the Ponies play. The Raro trip will be a great opportunity to put all that practice into play… and in the sweltering heat,” says Kelly.

The Ponies have fundraised an impressive $30,000 towards the trip with a series of quiz nights, sausage sizzles and wine sales.

However, for anyone who thought this sounded like a relaxing island getaway for the girls, coach Chris Reid has sounded a clear warning.

“This is certainly not a junket, the girls all understand that, we are going there to train, play and put a solid week of work in,” he says.

It appears ‘island time’ is clearly not part of Reid’s way of thinking!

To follow the Takapuna Ponies on their overseas trip, get at them on Facebook:

Tour dates: 30th September – 5th October 2017.