Every so often in sport, a group of rising stars will come together in a team before going on to perform with distinction on the big stage.
The 2005 Bay of Plenty Coastland senior secondary team produced two Black Caps and three other players, who have played professional cricket.
Coached by Peter Swan, who still plays a pivotal role in Bay of Plenty age-group development today, the secondary school team included current Black Cap stars Kane Williamson and Trent Boult along with Bharat Popli, Tony Goodin and Peter Drysdale.
While the deeds of our Western Bay Black Cap heroes need little introduction, the other three players cricket deeds warrant a turn in the spotlight.
Bharat Popli has been one of the anchors of the ND batting attack since his debut in the 2013/14 season. Some 2498 first class runs are backed up by three centuries and a highest score of 172.
Pace bowler Tony Goodin played a number of games in the ND uniform, along with providing sterling service to the Bay of Plenty representative side, with 168 bowling scalps.
Long serving Bay of Plenty Captain Peter Drysdale sits just five appearances away from 100 matches in the Bay of Plenty uniform.
Last season Peter became just the third Bay of Plenty batsman to post 3000 runs for his province.
Last season says another group of extremely promising secondary school players show the potential to go a long way in the great game.
The Bay of Plenty Coastland senior secondary team, drawn from the Western Bay of Plenty, won the Northern Districts Cricket Alan Whimp Trophy for the sixth time.
Western Bay of Plenty cricket followers wouldn’t have been surprised at the Bay side’s success, under the guidance of long-time team coach Peter Swan, in the title decider.
However, a few eyebrows would have been raised with the total dominance in the ND Final against arch-rivals Hamilton, bowling the Waikato side out for 80, then cruising to a ten wicket victory.
Coastland team captain Iman Singh made his Bay of Plenty Senior Men's representative debut two seasons ago, with Taylor Bettleheim, Marcel Collett, Dominic Crombie and Cameron Riley earning selection last summer.
In addition, Jacob Logan and Niven Dovey were selected for the Bay of Plenty Development team that triumphed in the ND Development competition.
Tim Pringle and Fergus Lellman had the best possible excuse for not playing for the BOPCA Coastland senior secondary side – after being selected for the ND Under 19 team, that played in the NZ Cricket National tournament at the same time as the ND age-group tournament.
The previous season, Tim Pringle had become the youngest player selected for the Bay of Plenty representative side at 15 years 92 days, surpassing Kane Williamson’s call-up at 15 years 111 days, with Fergus Lellman receiving a Bay senior men's side berth this season.
The one constant in the two groups of players, is the Bay of Plenty Cricket age-group pathway, which continues to identify, nurture and develop the promising young cricket talent of the Bay of Plenty region
As an avid local cricket fan, it will be interesting to watch the progression of the next group of potential stars in the next few years.