June 12, 2001

Sharpe takes up Canterbury coaching reins

Former Canterbury medium-fast bowler Michael Sharpe will succeed Garry MacDonald as coach of the Canterbury men's 1st XI.

Sharpe, who has successfully coached the men's 2nd XI, Canterbury Country and Canterbury's Emerging Players' team will take over a side which dominated New Zealand's domestic cricket in the 1990s.

Sharpe, who is the coach for the Canterbury County Association, is a Level III coach with a strong playing and coaching background in the province.

He represented Canterbury in 20 Shell Trophy games claiming 52 wickets with a best bowling effort of four for 59. At Shell Cup level he played 30 games claiming 41 wickets at 20.41. His best one-day figures were four for 26. Considered by some to be unlucky not to represent New Zealand, he toured Australia in 1995 with the New Zealand Emerging Players' team and impressed with his pace and accuracy.

Sharpe's achievements for Canterbury Country as a player and player/coach have been considerable. A leading wicket taker in his playing days, he coached the Canterbury Country team which challenged and won the Hawke Cup in the 1998/99 season. He was also responsible for establishing a coaching programme for the Association's under age teams. The improved performances of these teams owed much to his work at this level.

Last season New Zealand Cricket reinstituted the men's National 2nd XI competition. Canterbury, coached by Sharpe, were successful in winning this title with a comprehensive team effort.

Commenting on his elevation to the men's 1st XI position, Sharpe said that he was looking forward to the challenges ahead. He acknowledged the fact the Canterbury Shell Trophy team had not performed well in recent years but said he believed the players were talented enough to improve their ranking in the four-day game.

"There is no doubt that the absence of our leading cricketers has thrown a number of inexperienced players into the demanding environment of first-class cricket. It is now time for the team to put together consistent individual and team performances."