It is that time of year again. The 31st Gillette Cup NZSS Boys’ First XI cricket tournament gets underway this Tuesday at Lincoln University, and with no tournament last year we should be in for a cracking five days of cricket this time around.
The Gillette Cup first began in 1990 and was won first by Palmerston North Boys’ High School (PNBHS). It is one of the longest continuously running competitions in secondary school sport, recent Covid disruptions aside.
It consists of six teams from the major cricketing associations around New Zealand. Each team plays each other once in a 50-over format over five days and whoever finishes top of the table at the end of the round-robin series (traditionally a Friday, this year a Sunday) is crowned champion.
2022 Teams and their Associations:
The list of former players of the tournament reads quite well boasting plenty of former and current Blackcaps, including now England Test Coach Brendon McCullum (King’s High School, 2000), BJ Watling (Hamilton Boys’, 2022), Corey Anderson (Christchurch Boys’), Tim Southee (King’s College, Award was shared in 2006), Kane Williamson (Tauranga Boys’, 2007) and Rachin Ravindra (HIBS, 2015).
Six Players that could change the game at any time for their side:
Harrison Wills - MAGS - Wills is the top wicket-taker in Auckland’s Premier Boys College competition, taking 19 wickets in eight games and picking up two five wicket hauls. He took 5-9 in their season opener against Westlake Boys’.Then most notably took figures of six overs, five maidens, seven runs for seven wickets as top of the table MAGS bowled out second place St Kent’s for 76 runs.
Harsh Patel - Tauranga Boys’ College - Harsh was a key part when Tauranga Boys’ won the Super Eight competition in February. Patel with 10 victims finished second highest wicket taker behind fellow teammate Jack Jones who took thirteen wickets. Patel is also a handy middle order batsman, making 70 not out off 90 balls as Tauranga defeated Hamilton Boys’ by four wickets in the final.
Charlie Pawson - Napier Boys’ High School - Pawson is an opening wicket keeper - batsman for Napier Boys’ who currently sit top of the Complete Paints Championship Trophy. Pawson sits third on the highest run scorer list making three half centuries with a best of 79 against Havelock North and an average just over 50. Sacha Pickering is one to look out for as well, second highest wicket taker with 15 scalps including best figures of 4/33 against Hastings Boys.
Lachie Bailey - Hutt International Boys’ School - Mr. Reliable in recent seasons and will want nothing more than to go out a winner in his final few games for HIBS. In the Term One competition Bailey made three half centuries with a highest score of 92 against Wellington College on his way to 270 runs in six games with an average of 54. In the same game he also took 5-17 in nine overs. He along with opening bowler Nathan Edmonds also in his final year at HIBS will be crucial in the wicket-taking department for HIBS over the five days.
Hamish Wilson - Otago Boys’ High School - Wilson sits fourth highest on the list of overall wicket takers in the Dunedin Second Grade competition with 16 wickets. Taking his best figures of 4-27 in a close 17-run victory over Kings High School, in the same game he made a handy 25 down the order to help Otago to 195.
Nick Gibb – Christ’s College. Christ’s College’s captain Nick Gibb has the skills and temperament to contribute to match-winning performances with both bat and ball. Look for him to lead from the front this week.
Some history and past highlights:
There have been four occasions when the Gillette Cup was tied between schools, King’s College (Auckland) being a regular in this statistic. Sharing it in 1999 when, not for the first time, them and Christchurch Boys’ High School couldn't be separated. In 2004 neither King’s or Palmerston North Boys’ could be separated. The year after that Christchurch Boys’ and Tauranga couldn't be split apart, before in 2006 it was back where it all began as King’s Christchurch Boys’ shared the spoils once more.
Who could forget some of these monumental Gillette Cup moments?
In 2015 fierce rivals Hutt International Boys’ School and Christchurch Boys’ High School met in a nail-biter. Both teams were laden with future stars such as Blackcaps Ben Sears and Rachin Ravindra (both HIBS) and Fraser Sheat and Matthew Hay who have gone on to represent Canterbury at first-class lass level, Batting at number three and top scoring that day with 46 was now All Black Will Jordan. The teams went into a super over with Sears bowling Sanford Heard and Ben Donkers in consecutive balls. Before fellow Firebird Troy Johnson hit a four to win the game in the second ball of HIBS Super Over.
The next day eventual winners HIBS would actually lose to eventual runners-up Westlake Boys’ High School, however a combination of a slow run rate and a loss to bottom place finishers Palmerston North Boys’ helped HIBS be crowned champions and end Wellington's 14-year drought of the Gillette Cup. Of past winners, only HIBS and Tauranga Boys’ College are returning this year.
Possibly better yet in 2018 in the penultimate day, Wellington College took on King’s College with Wellington College needing a win to head in to Friday’s decider against Christchurch Boys’ top of the table. Wellington College top order batsman Tim Campbell top scored with 78 as Wellington College were bowled out for 235. 62 and 82 from Nathan Robinson and King’s captain Thorn Parkes had them tasting victory, before King’s lost four wickets for zero runs in seven balls to lose by one run and Wellington College went on to defeat Christchurch Boys’ the next day to by crowned 2018 Gillette Cup Champions.
Gillette Cup Winners:
Including tied titles, Christchurch Boys’ High School are the most prolific winner with 11. By Major Association region, Canterbury have won 12, Auckland seven, Northern Districts and Central Districts five each, Wellington four and Otago two
1990: Palmerston North Boys’ High School
1991: Saint Kentigern College
1992: Otago Boys’ High School
1993: Otago Boys’ High School
1994: Whangarei Boys’ High School
1995: Wanganui Collegiate School
1996: St Patrick's College Silverstream
1997: Wanganui Collegiate School
1998: Palmerston North Boys’ High School
1999: King’s College and Christchurch Boys’ High School (Tied)
2000: Auckland Grammar School
2001: Wellington College
2002: Hamilton Boys’ High School
2003: Hamilton Boys’ High School
2004: Palmerston North Boys’ High School and King’s College (Tied)
2005: Christchurch Boys’ High School and Tauranga Boys’ College (Tied)
2006: Christchurch Boys’ High School and King’s College (Tied)
2007: Christchurch Boys’ High School
2008: Hamilton Boys’ High School
2009: Christchurch Boys’ High School
2010: King’s College
2011: King’s College
2012: Christchurch Boys’ High School
2013: Christchurch Boys’ High School
2014: Christchurch Boys’ High School
2015: Hutt International Boys’ School
2016: Christchurch Boys’ High School
2017: Christchurch Boys’ High School
2018: Wellington College
2019: St Andrew’s College
2020: Christchurch Boys’
2021: No Tournament (Covid)
Cric HQ Live Scoring Link: https://www.crichq.com/competitions/9325/draws/57632/rounds
Flashback: Photo gallery of when Christchurch Boys’ High School won in December 2017, last day highlights.
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