“Bugger this one’s down the drain,” Tim Robinson concedes he and most of his Wellington College First XI cricket teammates were thinking late on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Oval in Christchurch.
In the penultimate fixture of the national championships, Auckland winners King’s College only required a run for victory to end Wellington’s unbeaten streak. King’s had nine balls remaining and four wickets to spare. What happened next was truly extraordinary.
“Harry Chandler got a caught and bowled and no one really celebrated except Harry," reflects Robinson.
"He insisted we could win. We brought the field up and put the pressure on. I was still thinking how could they bottle this?”
Muhammed Abbas succumbed in the same fashion as Cory Dickson three balls later and suddenly King’s had the jitters.
“Dylan Sharima is our best bowler and we knew he would be on the money," says Robinson.
"We weren’t worried about extras, just the one that skewed off the bat and got away.”
Kavi Minhas was trapped leg before wicket three balls into the 49th over and then absolute chaos reigned when Joshua McArdle and Devan Vishvaka combined to run out Hari Kukeja.
Robinson reckons it was the most insane game of cricket he's ever played.
"We were off our heads when we won. We were jumping and screaming. It was a miracle really.”
A week earlier Wellington College had narrowly lost the local decider by two wickets against Hutt International Boys’ School. Robinson believes the setback strengthened resolve.
“We’ve had a reputation for having a bit of a soft underbelly, not wanting it enough when things go against us. We were determined to fight for everything at Nationals. We're at our best when we put runs on the board. When we know what we’ve got to work with we can put the pressure on."
Wellington batted first in all of its victories, but the most telling was the last against defending champions Christchurch Boys’ High School.
“I was surprised when Christchurch won the toss and put us in," muses Robinson. "It was a winner takes all situation and in those games we like to set a total."
Wellington comfortably beat Christchurch by 40 runs with Tim Campbell in the thick of the action again making 59. Campbell was the leading run-maker at the tourney amassing 379 runs at 75.80. The next best performer was Nathan Robinson from King’s who scored 221 runs at 55.
Robinson marveled at Campbell's consistent production.
“It’s was awesome to watch Tim do his thing. He was on fire from day one, but the best thing about our team is that everyone contributes.”
Louie Chapman from Christchurch Boys’ High School was the leading wicket-taker sneering 13 victims at 15, but the next three highest wicket-takers were all from Wellington College. Dylan Sharma and Harry Hunter shared 10 each, while Robinson enjoyed a haul of nine at the lowest average of anyone (14.44).
He also made 87 runs in five innings and concedes a “few stupid shots” and “bad luck” prevented a greater contribution with the bat. Robinson’s best performance was on the first day when he claimed a five-wicket haul against King’s High School.
“Things seemed to go my way," he says. "They spooned my slower balls which went to fielders and I had little bit of luck.”
Robinson has been plagued by a back injury and has remodeled his action.
“It’s been hard work so I was pretty happy with the way I bowled. My back didn’t give me any major hassles throughout the week.”
In addition to cricket Robinson is a leading javelin thrower, having won the intermediate title at the National Secondary Schools Championships in 2017. He was fifth in the senior grade this year behind his champion brother Cam Robinson, who will study business agriculture while training at Massey University in Palmerston North next year. Tim is one of three First XI players to return to school in 2019..
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