Pahiatua cricketer surprised with ANZ Cricket Grant

Pahiatua cricketer, 13-year-old Mya O’Donnell, can play the game she loves after being awarded an ANZ Cricket Grant that subsidises the cost of her registration fees for the season. As an extra surprise to ensure she has a great season, Mya was awarded a gear grant including a bat, ball, pads, gloves, and bag.

ANZ Cricket Grants made $100,000 available to young cricketers who would benefit from the support of registration fee subsidies to help take the pressure off families and make sure kids didn’t miss out on cricket over the summer. ANZ also surprised several lucky cricketers from around the country to be the recipients of a cricket gear pack to aid them in their dedication to training and the game.

Mya, who plays for United Palmerston North Cricket Club, was stoked to be awarded this ANZ Cricket Grant. “I’m going to go down to the nets to use it. I never wear a thigh pad so practicing wearing one would be good. Getting hit in the thigh is painful.”

Mya has been playing club cricket since the summer of 2019/2020, but backyard cricket with her cousins ​​has been a fixture of many summers before then. She was approached to join a cricket team by her soon-to-be-coach Amy Johnson in the middle of a hockey match.

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Mya said, “She noticed I had really good hand hand-eye co-ordination so she asked if I’d like to join her Manawatū cricket team.

“She made me feel welcome there. As I was coming from a different school from the other girls, Amy introduced me to everyone and made me feel welcome. I’ve made friends who I can talk to over there and play cricket with.”

Since then Mya has become a keen beat. “I like batting because I’m also a hockey player so I like the feeling of hitting something. Like when you see the ball coming down the pitch, and you wait to run, and the communication amongst my teammates.”

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Mya’s love for cricket stems from her family. “From when I was little my family has always played backyard cricket and watched games. We still play cricket today but now we’re all a lot more competitive. We always look forward to Christmas to play together.”

There’s another big inspiration to Mya’s cricketing journey, Manawatū senior women’s representative and Central Districts’ player Abby Treder who is a distant cousin of Mya’s. “She’s always taught me to be patient and watch the ball,” she said.

Living in Pahiatua meant joining an all-boys team for a couple of seasons, on top of commuting to Manawatū to play reps with the girls. “Last year I played with the boys and it felt overwhelming. It’s hard to explain. So this season I’m going over to Manawatū again to play with the girls,” she said.

“They were all nice to me but it’s just different two years before that they never really had girls in their team. I feel you can talk to the girls easier than the boys.”

Last season she represented Manawatū in the Under 13 Girls’ team and this season she hopes to make the Under 15 representative team. Mya said she wanted to encourage more girls into the game.

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“Just give it a go and give it your best shot. It was kind of hard for me to play for the boys every week because I was the only one, but keep striving and going for your goals.

“Generations ago it used to only be a man’s sport so it’s cool to get girls into it.”

ANZ Bank New Zealand CEO Antonia Watson says paying club fees is one of the first barriers families face when deciding if they can register their child to play.

“Sport is an essential part of a child’s wellbeing, so we’re pleased to be providing support to make sure Kiwi kids can keep playing the game they love. “The increased cost of living can put families in a tough position when it comes to managing the household budget. We hope these grants will help to ease some of that pressure and keep more kids playing cricket.

“We were so impressed by Mya’s dedication to training, we hope this new gear helps them to reach their goal.”

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