Sam Griffiths, 11, received an ANZ cricket grant and a sports equipment grant to help defray the financial costs of playing the sport. Photo / Provided
Eleven-year-old Hastings cricketer Sam Griffiths can now play the game he loves without his family worrying about the financial cost.
Griffiths was surprised when he received an ANZ cricket scholarship, which subsidizes the cost of his entry fee for the upcoming season.
The youngster also received an equipment grant for a bat, ball, pads, gloves and a bag to ensure he has a great season.
ANZ Cricket Grants has made $100,000 available to young cricketers who would benefit from entry fee grant support.
This has helped ease the pressure on families and ensure children don’t miss cricket this summer.
ANZ has also surprised several lucky cricketers across the country with a pack of cricket gear to fuel their dedication to training and playing.
Griffiths, who is expected to join Cornwall Cricket Club this season, was happy to receive the ANZ Cricket scholarship.
“I couldn’t believe it! At first I thought dad was joking,” the 11-year-old said.
The young cricketer is an avid bowler, like his favorite Black Cap Trent Boult, and is excited to try out the new equipment and use it to train more.
“Bowling is a position I’ve been very good at, so I’ve always enjoyed it more than others,” Griffiths said.
“I would love to bowl for the Black Caps one day.”
Currently in his last year of primary school in Mahora, the 6th grader got into the sport by taking part in a game that was taking place at the school.
“I kept playing and started to really like it, and I just kept getting better,” Griffiths said.
At Mahora School, cricket is popular. Griffiths says his school has quite a few very good cricketers.
One of the teachers, Ben Stoyanoff, played for Central Districts and is the school’s team coach.
The young cricketer admires his coach and says Stoyanoff knows a lot about cricket.
“I remember watching his games a few times; it was quite intense.”
Griffiths had some great matches, including a hat-trick he will never forget.
“My first hat-trick in hardball was the most deserved; batsmen came out three different ways,” he said.
The first Griffiths bowled, the next he caught, then the last batter was puzzled by his wicketkeeper.
It’s not just cricket – Griffiths is a sports fanatic and plays five sports – but cricket is in his top three, along with canoe polo and hockey.
“I really like cricket, it’s one of my favorite sports.”
He signed up for club cricket this season because he thought it would be an opportunity to play more cricket.
“In other sports there are only a few positions to play, but in cricket there are loads of different positions and ways to play, and that makes it more exciting.”
The young sportsman’s canoe polo team went unbeaten their entire first season to win the Hawke’s Bay Championships.
His team did so well that they moved up a level.
Griffiths said cricket helped prepare him for canoe polo.
“In polo, throwing is a really important skill, and it’s a bit more difficult than [in] cricket because you’re sitting with your legs in front of you.”
ANZ Bank New Zealand CEO Antonia Watson said paying club fees is one of the first hurdles families face when deciding whether to register their child to play.
Sport is an essential part of a child’s well-being, which is why ANZ is happy to provide support to ensure Kiwi children can continue to play the game they love, explained the CEO.
The rising cost of living can put families in a difficult position when it comes to managing the household budget.
ANZ hopes these grants will help ease some of that pressure and get more children to play cricket.
“We have been so impressed with Sam Griffiths’ dedication to continuing to train – we hope this new equipment will help him achieve his goal.”