West New Britain has a proud sporting history, particularly in the football codes of AFL, Soccer and Rugby Union. Cricket was a minor sport that gained some popularity after some local business houses created a competition called Lottery Cricket. The success allowed the same business’s to also form an indoor cricket competition that still runs today in Kimbe.
The first representative cricket side for WNB competed in the PNG Games in East New Britain in 2012 and a year later they had formed their own WNB Cricket Association. The Introduction of BSP School Kriket has driven the sport to new heights and it is not uncommon to see the school sports fields covered in the distinctive lime green uniforms of this award winning program.
Nathan Henry has been the Regional Cricket Manager for Cricket PNG in this region for seven years and has been operating a highly successful BSP School Kriket program during this time. A qualified architectural draftsmen who found himself working in a game he loves who enjoys working with the children and developing their skills.
“I love my job, that is why I have been here so long. It is exciting times to be involved in cricket with the Barras going to a T20 World Cup. I m looking for future Barras and Lewas when we run the BSP School Kriket program, it is my dream to see someone from WNB in the national side playing in a future World Cup.”
Henry, describing his role said “it is my job to inspire the kids, teach them the skills and search for talent. I have set goals in my career, I have plans in place and want to see it through for WNB. I also play and have my whole family involved in cricket, it is a great sport that embraces community, I am very lucky doing this as my job.”
We asked Henry about his successes to date “ we have had plenty of boys and girls screened through the Cricket PNG Talent ID system and some have been to Port Moresby to trail for the under 19 Garamuts. My favorite though is when a young boy called Tobie Charles who has a disability was participating in the BSP School Kriket Program and had his picture on the front page of the paper. He was so happy, biggest smile, cricket was the first sport that gave him a chance to play”
Nathan and his development officers go to great lengths to bring cricket to the children of WNB. They reach thousands of kids each year and are expecting demand to grow once the people of WNB see the Barramundis on television playing in a World Cup later this year.
Cricket is on the rise in PNG as everyone backs the Barras in their World Cup debut and it is people like Nathan who search for the next Assad Vala or Kaia Arua when conducting their BSP School Kriket clinics.
The BSP School Kriket program currently runs in eleven provinces in PNG with expansion targeted within the Cricket PNG Strategic Plan.