Unexpected boost for cricket funds

Some 10 years after the Wanaka Cricket Club was disbanded, a sum of forgotten money left in its coffers has resurfaced and been handed over to the club's former on-field foe.

Leigh Overton, who was the last captain of the Wanaka Cricket Club before it ''fizzled out'' at least a decade ago, was contacted unexpectedly by the bank a few months back to inform him there was $1845 still sitting in the club's long-since abandoned bank account.

''We'd forgotten about it,'' Mr Overton - who had signing authority on the account - said.

He and fellow former club member Don King had since decided to give the money to the Luggate-based Albion Cricket Club, which now runs all cricket in the Upper Clutha.

''This is just to tidy up what was left over of the Wanaka club,'' Mr Overton said.

The club had run a senior reserve team, while Albion had the Upper Clutha's senior team. However, dwindling numbers meant Wanaka could no longer field a full side so the players all transferred to Albion when Wanaka wound up.

Another factor in the club's demise was that its home ground was shared with the Upper Clutha Rugby Club and the annual A&P show, so ''there were too many demands to have an all-year-round wicket on it''.

The Wanaka wicket was compacted crusher dust, which had turf rolled over it in the off-season.

''Not having a permanent wicket ... that was probably the turning point,'' Mr Overton said.

However, he still considered it ''one of the nicest grounds'' he had played on.

Albion president Mike O'Connor said the money from the defunct Wanaka club would be used to develop youth cricket, and would help to fund travel costs, among other things.

''It makes living in the country and travelling [to games] every second week just a bit more bearable,'' Mr O'Connor said of the funding boost.

''We reckon it's terrific and we're looking forward to putting it to good use."

lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz