Article courtesy of reporter Ashleigh Collis at the Horowhenua Chronicle.
A Horowhenua College student is the first girl to have played for Levin Old Boys Cricket Club in its entire 100-year history.
Erin Buckland was recognised by the ANZ Dream Deliveries programme and had the opportunity to meet some of her cricketing idols when she was surprised at school and whisked away to meet the Black Caps.
Erin, 13, was stunned when her coaches, a camera crew and representatives from the ANZ competition showed up in her social studies classroom mid-lesson and whisked her away on a mystery bus ride.
Arriving in Wellington, she stepped off the bus at the Basin Reserve and came face to face with cricketers Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, and Mitch Santner.
Erin, and other members of her Horowhenua and Kapiti cricket team, then got to participate in a special training session with the Black Caps and Central Hinds.
“It was cool and shocking,” Erin said of the moment she discovered the surprise.
Cricket drills followed, with Erin undaunted once she recovered from her surprise.
“We all took turns at batting, and Tim Southee threw some balls at us,” she said.
“Their bowling machine was broken.”
Erin then had a turn bowling at Southee, getting him out on the last ball.
As part of her win in the competition, the young cricketer was also presented with an entire new kit of cricket gear, and two brand new bowling machines, one of which would be shared between the two teams she plays for – Levin Old Boys and the Horowhenua-Kapiti girls team.
The other would be part of an epic backyard cricket set-up at her house, with her dad already recruited to make some nets.
“My goal is to be a Central Hind, and then a White Fern,” said Erin, an all-rounder in the sport.
Erin’s parents Rob and Nicola Buckland said when they first found out about their daughter’s win they were probably more dumbstruck than she was.
“It’s just outstanding,” Rob said. “She’s so sporty, but this is the one thing that she’s really stuck to. It’s the one thing that she really wants to improve on.”
Mum Nicola said Erin, as the first female to make it on to the all-male team at the Levin Old Boys Club, had been instrumental in motivating other girls to play.
An all-girls coaching clinic for cricket in the region, coached by Mikaela Greig, of the Central Hinds had been set up recently.
“She’s probably a little ambassador and she doesn’t realise it,” Rob said.
Despite the recognition she has received, Erin remained modest.
When asked what her favourite thing about cricket is, she said it was that fact that it is “a team sport”.