The Auckland Under-17 Boys’ team has flown to Lincoln today to contest the National Tournament.
The team has a fresh look this season, with all but one in their first year of age-group rep cricket.
Assistant coach Matt Cowie says the team has had a good build-up leading into the tournament.
“The boys have been practising well, and we had three warmup games against Northern Districts last week to put some of what they’ve practised into a game situation.”
Although Auckland has taken out the last two tournaments, Cowie says the focus is not on that.
“This is a new team, and for them it’s the first experience of this level of cricket.
“We’re a lot more focused on the development of the boys, helping them grow as cricketers over the tournament. Winning is obviously part of that, but it’s not the only thing.”
Cowie believes a particular challenge will be managing the intensity of play throughout the tournament.
“It’s a long tournament – eight days including two rest days. We’ll need to keep the boys focused and motivated, as well as trying to make sure players aren’t worn out by the finals”
There is plenty of talent in the side, and Cowie says three of the players will be eligible to play in the tournament next year.
“We have players spread around the districts, which is great. It shows that the competition in Auckland is pretty strong everywhere.
Auckland Under-17s will play their first match tomorrow against Central Districts.
Auckland Under-17 Boys Squad
Declan Viljoen (Manukau)
Herchele Hendricks (Manukau)
Kyle Kieser (North Harbour)