Junior diggers in training

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ALLANDALE TEAM: Diddy Diggers from Allandale School, Maiororangi Moses-McRoberts, Chantz Rua-Murray, Manawa Barsdell and Ariki Wallace practise transferring wood chip with their practice kit. Photo Louis Klaasen D5900-36

JUNIOR spade masters will be kitted with training gear in preparation for this year’s Diddy Dig championship title.

The Pacific Toyota Diddy Dig, part of the Kawerau Woodfest and National Woodskills Competition, is a junior woodchip shovelling event modelled from the adult version, the Big Dig.

Open to all Eastern Bay schools for the first time this year, the competition is a race to shovel half a cubic metre of woodchip into specially made bins.

Schools are represented by teams of four eight-to-10-year-olds with three digging at a time and a rolling sub.

The school that proves to be the toughest and most persistent will score the Diddy Dig trophy and championship title for 2017.

Unlike other years, the first eight schools to register will be delivered a Diddy Dig kit to practise for the Saturday, September 30 competition.

Woodfest director Amy Hayes said eight kits, including shovels, hi-vis vests, wood chip, a bin and a leveller, have been made to provide to the schools.

Prior to this year, only Kawerau schools could enter.

“After last year’s Diddy Dig, there was interest shown in practising and we thought the kit would be a really cool idea,” Miss Hayes said.

Allandale School was the first to receive a practice kit for their two teams on Friday, delivered by Miss Hayes and Big Dig world champion Jason Hubbard of Hubbard Contracting.

Mr Hubbard, the captain of the world champion team, the Hubbards Razorbacks, said the event “got the children off the PlayStation”.

“It looks easy but it is hard,” Mr Hubbard admitted.Mr Hubbard watched Allandale students practise and said for first timers, it looked like the teams were doing well.

Allandale team member Keira Whitley said after their first practice, the dig was hard but after more practice she would work out how to best scoop as much wood chip as possible.

Following Allandale’s delivery, Miss Hayes and Mr Hubbard delivered a Diddy Dig Kit to Thornton School.

Eastern Bay schools have three weeks to register for the competition that will take place during Woodfest at the specially created Dig Zone at the Kawerau Skate Park.

haylee.king@whakatanebeacon.co.nz

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