In 2013 there were only four cricket teams at Rosmini College. Today there are 14, which bucks the trend of falling participation numbers nationwide. Zakk Finlay attempts to explain why.
“We had a change of headmaster a couple of years ago and there was more support for the sport. There are a lot of great volunteers who love the game helping out and that’s created a whole lot of interest,” he says.
Almost the entire Rosmini First XI has been together for four years and recently in the Auckland Super 8 final they sent the city’s cricketing fraternity into a tailspin by defeating St. Kentigern College to earn a place at the National Finals in Christchurch in December.
“It was great to knock them off their pedestal. They had a lot of pressure on them to win because they are a big school and we’re just a team of battlers. They pumped us the first time we played them. We were bowled out for 96.” Finlay acclaims.
Typically Finlay is a pace bowler but a stress fracture has prevented him from bowling for eight months. He has been forced to improve his batting. His highest score for the First XI is 89, but a score half that tally proved vitally important for Rosmini in the Auckland decider.
Rosmini did well to dismiss St. Kentigern for 159 at the Eden Park Outer Oval. Auckland Under-17 rep Ryan Harrison claimed 3/11 off 6.2 overs and opening bowlers Giles La Ville and Niko Weerakoon both took two wickets. Weerakoon had taken four wickets in the semi-final win against Westlake Boys’ High School.
Rosmini’s chase for 160 faulted from the outset and at one stage they were 39/4.
“I didn’t expect all the recognised batsman to get out early so it was tough initially. I was dropped in the gully on 15, but I knew as one of the better batters I had to be responsible, but try and score at the same time.” Finlay recalls.
Rosmini was 30 short of the target when Finlay reached 44. What happened next?
“I thought we could win by the 38th over when we were about 50 runs short. That was a manageable run rate. After 116 balls I got a bit carried away and tried to hit a six, usually I like to get on with it, but I held out at the wrong time. It was pretty stupid,” Finlay rues.
Fortunately the tail kept their composure and La Ville hit the winning runs as Rosmini won the R H Marryatt Cup for the first time, an achievement Director of cricket Amita Weerakoon, who is leaving the role after four years, described as “the greatest day of Rosmini cricketing history”.
Rosmini’s first XI have been coached by Hamish Buxton and Paul Brajkovich during their breakout season and join Otago BHS, Tauranga BC and Palmerston North BHS as having so far qualified for the six-team National finals.
In the winter Finlay is a fullback in the First XV. Rosmini are seven times North Harbour champions and Finlay believes under the coaching of old boys George Stowers and Wayne Rooney, Rosmini will have a decent tilt at the title again.
“As usual we’re not the biggest team, but we’re really fit. Our season starts in three weeks against Birkenhead College. I am confident we will do well.”
Finlay says his favourite moment in rugby was when Rosmini beat Westlake Boys’ on Land Rover First XV rugby last year. Taine Waitte, now with the North Shore club, kicked all five penalties in an upset triumph against the eventual North Harbour champions.
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