Troy Johnson is one of New Zealand’s preeminent age group batsman. He has amassed a record number of runs for the Hutt International Boys’ School (HIBS) First XI and is a regular selection in rep sides.
In the first two days of the National Secondary Schools tournament he failed to score a single run. In the remaining three games he scored 22, 10 and 36.
Despite the modest return Johnson hit the most important runs of the entire tournament for HIBS. In a super over against defending champions Christchurch Boys’ High School, Johnson struck the winning four.
“I guess I owed the team some runs. Ben Sears was unbelievable in the super over, knocking over their two batsman in two balls. That made it easy for me,” Johnson admits.
HIBS dramatic victory was vital in piping Westlake BHS for the title. Despite losing to the Auckland champions, HIBS boasted a superior run rate, but it could have all unrivalled in the dying stages of the Christchurch match.
“Christchurch was chasing 188 and we had them 164/9. Their last partnership was stubborn and managed to tie the scores. As a captain I tried not to panic, but I was concerned. Caleb Hewson was a hero bowling their last batsman,” Johnson says.
“We celebrated not really know what was going to happen next. They told us there would be a super over. One over is a tough way to decide a match, but you have to have a winner and as far as entertainment goes it’s really exciting.”
The score of 188 proved to be a lucky one for HIBS. The following day they scored the same total in a 17-run win against Hamilton BHS.
“The pitches were tough to bat on because there had been a tournament played the previous week. By the final day, they were the equivalent of a Day 8 test wicket. They took a lot of turn and kept low and slow,” Johnson complains.
Johnson wasn’t frustrated by his bowling contribution. He took 12 wickets at 10.83, the second highest wicket taker in the tournament behind Sears (13). His best figures were 4/21 against Hamilton.
“It was nice to get a few wickets and made a contribution to the team after missing out with the bat. A lot of my wickets were created by pressure at the other end. We bowled really well as a unit which has been the key to our success all year,” Johnson explains.
Rachin Ravindra was named player of the tournament. He made 208 runs at 41.60 and took six wickets at 21.8 – only conceding 3.11 runs an over. His highest score was 76 against Hamilton BHS and he made 64 in the final match against Palmerston North BHS which sealed HIBS the title.
“We call Rachin superstar because he is the hardest working player in the team. He gets up at 4:30am and is at the nets with his Dad. His work ethic and ability are phenomenal,” Johnson acclaims.
HIBS became only the third Wellington school and first in 14 years to win the National cricket title. Johnson departs HIBS with mixed emotions.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to go out than winning a National title. It’s been years in the making. A lot of good people have put in a lot of hard work. I will miss HIBS.,it’s been a big part of my life, but I guess it’s time to move on,” Johnson concludes.
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