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Pāpāmoa cricketer meets heroes at the crease - The Bay's News First

Pāpāmoa cricketer, 10-year-old Ben Goninon scored a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the superstars on the pitch.Ben,...

Pāpāmoa cricketer, 10-year-old Ben Goninon scored a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the superstars on the pitch.

Ben, who plays for Pāpāmoa Cricket Club, won the opportunity to take part in the ANZ Coin Toss experience where he joined the captains Kane Williamson and Hardik Pandya for the pre-match toss to determine who would bat or bowl first at the BLACKCAPS versus India match in Mount Maunganui on Sunday. 

“I loved the experience and I'm so thankful that I got to do it,” says Ben.

Ben’s Mum Rochelle says; “we actually found out the day before Ben’s birthday, so we surprised him with the news that he would be an ANZ Coin Toss Kid on his birthday. It was the best gift!”

Ben, who has been playing for three years now, had an amazing time standing centre pitch.

“I got to go out on the field while the players were warming up. I got signatures from Devon Conway, Kane Williamson and Tim Southee and photos too,” he says.

Ben with New Zealand head coach Gary Stead.

“I got to talk to the BLACKCAPS coach Gary Stead. He said hello and asked me about my own game.”

Before the coin toss, Ben told Kane good luck.

“I was really happy that we won the coin toss and I guessed that they would choose fielding. Because if it started to rain later, it would be hard to field on the pitch, and it did rain but stopped shortly after.” 

Even though India won, Ben thoroughly enjoyed the game.

“We still got to see some good sixes and fours, Devon Conway hit a six. I also really liked when Southee got the hat trick. It was a catch, an LBW, and somebody got bowled.”

Devon Conway is Ben’s favourite player. He is really impressed with his batting, fielding and wicket keeping. 

“I was shocked to meet Devon. I was a little starstruck.”

Ben got into cricket a couple of years ago because he wanted to try a new sport. 

“I love cricket because I love team sports and especially because it's not just about catching, it's also about hitting a ball and bowling it. I like the different ways of using the ball.”

Ben has had an awesome start to his own games this season. His team won their first two games and he was awarded player of the day at one.  

“I got player of the day for getting two wickets and I was really good with the bat. It was an amazing way to start the season.“

Indian captain Hardik Pandya and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson with ANZ coin toss winner Ben Goninon.

ANZ Bank New Zealand Head of Sponsorship Sarah Rogan says ANZ is proud to be able to give young fans like Ben the chance to stand alongside their heroes, and take part in the pre-match custom. 

“Sport is such an important part of a child’s wellbeing, both mentally and physically, we hope that by experiencing the magic of standing centre pitch, these kids feel inspired to give it their best at their own training and games.

”ANZ has been a sponsor of New Zealand Cricket for more than two decades, and the ANZ Coin Toss experience has been a key part of that. We hope this experience inspires the next generation of BLACKCAPS and WHITE FERNS to follow their dreams.”  

Applications for the opportunity to take part in the ANZ Coin Toss experience are still open. Apply via

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