KJ Dayal had no intentions of returning to school this year. He was restless and in purist of a new challenge.
KJ’s father Kieran disagreed with his decision to leave and so he dangled a carrot to keep KJ in school.
If KJ remained at Rongotai College he would shout his son tickets to the cricket World Cup final in Melbourne.
KJ stayed and saw New Zealand lose to Australia at the MCG in March. Suddenly he was rejuvenated and earlier this month he gained a special accolade. KJ was named College Sport Wellington disabled sportsperson of the year. He admits he wasn’t expecting to win the prize.
“It was totally surprising. I am real proud,” he says.
In fact KJ was so overwhelmed by his success he refused to allow his parents to attend the awards ceremony. He laughs the award rests in the dining room where, “everybody can see it.”
KJ suffers from DiGeorge syndrome, also called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. It’s a disorder caused by a defect in chromosome 22. It results in the poor development of several body systems. Several members of the Dayal family are suffers and KJ also has dyslexia. Speech is a challenge as are some intellectual purists.
Despite his disability KJ is the Wellington regional athletics champion for shot put and 100m in the athletes with a disability category. In March at Newtown Park KJ threw eight meters in the shot put which was nearly double his nearest opponent. (KJ with Rongotai College old boy and Hurricane Ardie Savea. George Jackson CSW cyclist of the year to Ardie’s right.)
He is a member of the Rongotai First XI cricket team. They only compete in Premier three, but KJ is unaware of any other cricketer that plays in a First XI with a similar disability than him.
“I haven’t come up against people like me and I don’t care. I love to compete with able-bodied players,” he insists.
KJ has a highest score of 30 and bowls medium pace. In the Term Three holidays Rongotai toured Australia.
“It was a fun tour. We played seven games and won two. It was good for development. We also went to Dreamworld,” KJ recalls.
He says his favourite cricketers are Chris Gayle and Brett Lee.
He is a goalkeeper for the third XI football team and has played rugby and hockey at Rongotai.
Jake Bailey is the Senior Monitor at Christchurch Boys’ High School. Tragically he has been diagnosed with serious cancer and wasn’t expected to deliver his final address at senior prize giving.
Heroically he defied the grim odds and was wheeled onto the stage in a wheelchair. Looking gaunt he delivered a stirring speech that has created international headlines. In the speech he pleaded to his peers.
“My challenge to each of you, and to myself, is to continue to grow, to develop for the better. The future is truly in our hands. Forget about having long-term dreams. Let’s be passionately dedicated to the pursuit of short-term goals. Micro-ambitious. Work with pride on what is in front of us. We don’t know where we might end up. Or when it might end up.”
That fearless philosophy is something the Christchurch Boys’ High School First XI is hoping to embrace at the National Cricket championships at Lincoln in December.
Matt Hay is the captain and he says Bailey’s words resonate strongly within the team.
“I am a prefect at school so I have worked pretty closely with Jake this year. It was very moving to see him deliver such a great speech. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. From a cricket point of view we would like to embrace his message of playing without fear. In the grand scheme of things, it’s just a game.”
Christchurch are the defending champions. They have won eight out of the last 11 tournaments. In 2014 they won all five matches for the first time. The legacy of success is massive. Does Hay feel the past is a burden?
“Not at all, it’s inspiring, but it’s something you can’t take for granted either. We have to work hard to create our own legacy,” he says.
Compliancy might have been a problem earlier in the season. For the first time in 17 years Christchurch was toppled by St. Bede’s College. Hay learned a lot from the setback.
“That was a good wake up call to be honest. We have lost games early on in previous seasons and losses motivate you to improve,” he concedes.
In the Canterbury one day final the two schools meet again with a place at the Nationals at stake. Christchurch made a shaky start slumping to 80/6. Hay recalls what happened next.
“We were in serious trouble at that point, but the tail wagged. Jack Turner made 63 and we got ourselves to 200 which was a good score in the circumstances, but under par on a good pitch. We came out firing with the ball. Fraser Sheat took 7/27 and we won by 100 runs.”
Christchurch have seven debutants for this year’s national tourney. Hay is reluctant to highlight individual standouts, stressing that Christchurch is a balanced team where everybody contributes.
“Everybody has played their part this year. Were not too focused on individual efforts, but I guess Sheat, Will Jordon and Ben Donkers are all-rounder’s worth watching,” he says.
Hay himself captained the Canterbury Under-17′s and is primarily a batsman who bowls medium pace.
“I have been happy with my bowling this year. I have taken more wickets than usual, but I could do with a few more runs to be honest”, Hay admits.
Last year restricting the opposition was the key to Christchurch’s success. Only one school scored more than 200 against them. No Christchurch batsman was in the top five run makers, but Oscar Shepperson 12 wickets at 12.58 and Harry Wilson: 11 wickets at 12.45 were the leading wicket takers.
Hutt International Boys’ School was the opponent who Christchurch conceded over 200 against. Christchurch won the game by two runs in the last over. Hay recalls the classic tussle.
“That was properly the best game of cricket I have played. We batted first and were 100-0, 190-6 and ended up with 258. They were on target to get them. In the second to last over we dismissed their captain Troy Johnson on 70 odd. Our captain Morgan Jeffery bowled the last over and bowled them out. We were lucky several players steeped up.”
In the dressing rooms at the Christchurch Boys’ High School cricket club each of the schools’ Black Caps are honoured. Hay hangs his uniform above a plark honouring Chris Cairns. What does Hay made of the Cairns match-fixing trial?
“If it’s true, it’s sad. They should take his plark down. Cricket is great game that gives us a lot to be grateful for.”
Kane Williamson made his One-Day International debut against India on 10 August 2010. He was dismissed for a ninth ball duck. In his second match, he was bowled by Angelo Mathews of Sri Lanka for a second ball duck.
In March 2015, Martin Crowe wrote of Williamson:
"Williamson is a difficult player to focus against. Due to his humility and lack of ego, it is harder for bowlers and captains to get ramped up about the absolute necessity to remove him. His passive body language gives very little to feed off. It's noticeable that fielding sides are not sharp when he is at the crease, often spilling catches that would otherwise be taken if a sharper focus was created. Williamson has that X-factor, which no one can quite pin down. Frankly, he is David playing like Goliath."
Williamson made his Test debut against India at Ahmedabad on 4 November 2010. In his first innings he scored 131 and became the eighth New Zealander to score a century on Test debut.
Williamson has now made 12 Test centuries and is the fastest Black Cap to reach 3000 Test runs. In 2015 he is the leading combined run-scorer in all formats of international cricket.
Williamson is a sporting prodigy come good. He and twin brother Logan were born into a sports-mad household in Otumoetai. Father Brett was a talented cricketer and hockey player; mother Sandra a top basketballer. Sisters Kylie, Anna and Sophie played volleyball and basketball (Anna was a national under-19 volleyball rep).
Williamson was automatically grounded. The first sport he took a shine to was rugby. He played Roller Mills at first five-eighth. Roller Mills has produced over 50 All Blacks in its long history, including Bryan Williams and Sonny Bill Williams.
Williamson was too small to seriously kick-on in rugby so he turned his hand to basketball.
In 2005 Williamson was named MVP at the mid-northern junior secondary schools tournament. He was a dominant shooting guard.
Cricket was the sport he really excelled at. His talent was obvious right away. Williamson attended Tauranga Boys' College. When Williamson was in the First XI, Tauranga was one of the leading cricket schools in New Zealand. They attained four consecutive top three finishes at the Nationals between 2005 and 2008, sharing the National title in the former year.
Tauranga competes in the Super 8. Cricket was the first sport played in 1998. The very first match between Rotorua Boys' High School and Tauranga Boys' College featured two All Blacks in the Rotorua roster, Craig Newby and Mike Delaney.
The Super 8 has since become a prolific producer of New Zealand sporting talent. In the current Black Caps XI, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling and Kane Williamson attended schools that compete in the Super 8.
Neil Howard was the coach of the Tauranga First XI from 1995 to 2008. He fondly recalls Williamson's prodigious talent.
“Kane Williamson is the best schoolboy sportsmen I have had the privilege to see. On debut for the third XI in the third form he made 93 against a First XI. In the fourth form he debuted for the Bay of Plenty senior team and made 60 against a Counties team featuring Black Cap Daryl Tuffey. His first class debut came in the sixth form."
"In one Super 8 basketball game I saw him hit eight three pointers. Most importantly he was an outstanding young man on and off the field."
Williamson was the head prefect. His most dominant season as a cricketer was in 2006. He scored 713 runs at 79.22 and took 22 wickets at 16.36. His highest score was 161.
Williamson made at least five centuries in club cricket with a highest score of 180.
In 2008 he famously smashed 123 not out in a tour match in Australia in quick enough time to allow the Tauranga boys to get to the NRL playoff game between the Warriors and Manly before kick-off.
Interestingly Tauranga's tour team of 2008 has now produced four first class cricketers - Joe Carter, Bharat Poplin, Brett Hampton and Kane. For good measure Northern Districts captain Daniel Flynn is a TBC Old Boy.
Despite Williamson's brilliance Howard says no innings played by him is the best he has seen at Tauranga Boys. Peter Drysdale (brother of Olympic rowing champion Mahe Drysalde) holds that honour. Peter made 123 not out in the Super 8 final against New Plymouth Boys' High School in 2006.
How many did Williamson get? He made 75 and took three wickets.
Williamson along with professional rugby players Simon Hickey (Auckland/Blues) and Michael Collins (Otago/Highlanders) are the only players to have made two centuries in the same Gillette Cup tournament. Mitchell Murray (profiled by College Sport Media) joined them last year.
Bravo Kane Williamson.
P.S. Kane Williamson made three centuries at the Gillette Cup Finals: 120 not out v Otago BHS 2006, 112 v Christchurch BHS 2007 and 100 v Palmerston North BHS 2007.
Cricket was the first sport to be played at Westlake Boys’ High School when it opened in 1961.
The First XI have fashioned a fine record of achievement. They have won the Auckland Secondary Schools two-day title on thirteen occasions in addition to winning four one day titles.
More recently, they have captured two Twenty20 crowns and at a national level been runners-up twice in the Gillette Cup.
Five players have progressed from the First XI to the Black Caps, including former New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan and charismatic all-rounder Andre Adams. Billy Bowden has enjoyed a long career as an international umpire. His brother Fraser is the current First XI coach.
For the first time since 2010, Westlake will return to the Gillette Cup finals to be staged in Christchurch in December.
Westlake actually confirmed their place in March when they won the Auckland one day competition.
Westlake had a tough semi-final versus St Peter’s College in which they chased down 197 in the 45th over to prevail. Captain William O’Donnell top scored with 63.
In the final Westlake played Rangitoto College. Westlake was bowled out cheaply for 111 with O’Donnell once again providing the most resistance with 31.The bowlers were ruthless. Keegan Russell and Angus McKenzie both claimed four wickets and helped roll Rangitoto for 75. Evidently Russell once took 5/4 in a match for Westlake, including a hat-trick.
O’Donnell was the captain of the Auckland Under-17 rep side this year. He has been Westlake’s leading run scorer with 485 at an average of 35. He is the son of former Auckland coach Mark O’Donnell and the younger brother of Robbie (Auckland Aces). Apart from his solid batting he is noted for his aggressive and intelligent captaincy of a fine all-round side.
Five Westlake Boys’ represented Auckland in the Under-17′s with Keegan Russell being named in the New Zealand tournament team. McKenzie is the teams’ leading wicket taker with 31 victims at an average of 9.50. McKenzie’s best figures this season have been 6/26 v Sacred Heart College and he also took 5/31 v Rangitoto.
One of the interesting features of the Westlake team is they have five South African born players. The exchange program with Jeppe High School has been a roaring success. Westlake tours South Africa as well as providing education and sporting opportunity for their students.
The pick of the Proteas in the Westlake side this season maybe Wesley Sleep. He is an all-rounder who made a memorable 107 against a strong St. Kentigern College XI in March.
Adam Baard, Angus Nicoll and Copper Spiller are other players to watch.
Ryan Scivier is the head of cricket at Westlake whose program boasts ten teams at present. He reflects on the First XI season thus far.
“Every player has played his part throughout the season which has enabled the team to be settled. They all know their roles. It has been a very positive and relaxed environment which has given them confidence. The boys express themselves on the field.”
Hutt International Boys' School will return to the Gillette Cup cricket finals in December for the fourth time in six years.
The Trentham based school qualified for the Christchurch staged tourney after defending their Wellington title.
In pool play they comfortably accounted for Wellington College and Scots College. In their third game, effectively a semi-final against Tawa College, HIBS batting struggled. However they delivered an excellent bowling and fielding performance to win handsomely. Troy Johnson claimed 5/14 and Rachin Ravindra 4/19.
In the final HIBS played St Patricks College, Town. HIBS staggered to 198 on a slow pitch and outfield. Again they produced an outstanding bowling and fielding display to dismiss St Pats for 114. Ben Sears took four wickets.
HIBS has seven players returning for the second year in a row - Johnson (Captain and returning for his 3rd Gillette finals) Sears, Ravindra, Brad Johns, Akshar Patel, Tyler Simpson and Akansh Kanuparthi.
HIBS won two out of five games last year and lost to eventual winners Christchurch Boys' High School in the final over. They finished third equal with St. Paul's Collegiate.
HIBS acknowledge every game will be tough, but they are confident they have a balanced team that can have a serious tilt at the title.
Six players average over 25 with the bat and seven players have economy rates of under four with the ball.
Johnson is an outstanding prospect. The head boy scored 278 runs at 69.50 in last year's tournament. He is the is the leading run scorer in HIBS (25 year) history, with over 4000 runs at an average of 47. He has also taken 80 wickets. He is a Wellington Under-19 representative.
Ravindra made 256 runs at 51 in Christchurch in 2014, but he is even more dangerous with the ball. He is the leading wicket taker in HIBS history with 132 wickets at an average of 10.4.
Ben Sears played for the First XI football team that won the Wellington title for the first time. He is a fine all-rounder and this year became the first player in HIBS history to take 100 wickets and score 2000 runs. At the Gillette Cup last year he made a valuable contribution scoring 155 runs at 31 and sneering 10 wickets at 18.
South African native Mark Borthwick is the coach of HIBS. Previously he was the coach of the Wellington Blaze women's team.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand