The Napier Boys’ High School Cricket festival is an annual tradition that has been running for a quarter of a century.
Twelve colts teams are invited to compete in 50 over matches celebrating the spirit of cricket. Black Caps, Ross Taylor, Jacob Oram, Kane Williamson and Jesse Ryder have all competed in the tourney.
Until five years ago there was no trophy at stake, but a Ranfurly Shield type trophy was introduced in 2011. A commemorative cricket bat with a ball attached is contested for among the schools.
Hastings Boys’ High School won the inaugural bat match against Wanganui Collegiate and had retained the bat 17 times leading into the 2015 event featuring: Napier Boys’ High School, St John’s College (Hastings), Havelock North High School, Lindisfarne College, New Plymouth Boys’ High School, Tauranga Boys’ College, Palmerston North Boys’ High School, Francis Douglas Memorial College, Wanganui Collegiate, Wanganui High School and St. Patrick’s College, Silverstream.
Joey Field is the captain of the Hastings Colts. His older brothers Sam and James have been members of previously successful Hastings teams.
Joey was anxious about the 2015 defence. Not only did he have a family tradition to maintain, but the standard of Napier pitches left a lot to be desired.
“Napier and Hastings have an intense rivalry so I think they put on his bad pitches because of that. They were like clay wickets, rolled dirt. If you survived 50 over’s you pretty much won the match”, Joey complains.
On day one Hastings faced New Plymouth Boys’ High School and limped to 107 all out. Aidan Robson batted with patience to contribute 37 off 93 balls while Joey took the opposite approaching, belting 20 of 23 balls.
In reply New Plymouth was rolled for 82. Year 9 Amritpal Singh sneered 4-12 and Joey bowled tightly finishing with figures of 1-28 from 10 over’s. (Below Joey celebrates a century in February)
Batting on day two proved somewhat easier. Hastings restricted St. Pats Silverstream to 155 all out and chased down the target with seven wickets to spare in the 42nd over. Joey took 3/38 and batted in a calculated fashion to score 33 off 91 balls.
Chasing would remain a successful formula for the remainder of the tournament. In the penultimate match Hastings defeated Wanganui Collegiate by three wickets reaching the target with ten over’s remaining.
Wanganui Collegiate crawled to 133/8 off 50 over’s with Joey and Sachan Dadrah taking 2/21. Despite the best efforts of Wanganui’s Charlie Greatbatch (31 and 3/23) a 40 by Dadrah and superior urgency proved telling.
On the last day Hastings had the benefit of home ground advantage, Joey explains why.
“We billet Palmerston North in Hastings so as a gesture of good will they agree to play us on our home turf. It was great to play on our pitch, it actually has grass,” he laughs.
The grass didn’t prevent another low scoring game. Palmerston North was dismissed for 117 with Year 9 off spinner Sam Martin bamboozling the visitors. He took 4-8 from ten over’s and bowled four maidens. Hastings cruised to the win losing five wickets. Jack Parker made 20 and Joey 19. Hastings have now defended the bat for 21 consecutive matches.
“It’s a great feeling to win again. Our coaches have played a big part in our success. Daniel Harper is in Thailand now, but he helped our early development. Trent Miller from the First XI was a great help too,” Joey says.
In the winter Joey plays football and was set for his First XI debut, but was tackled awkwardly in a PE lesson and broke his collarbone. He missed four months returning for Nationals. The striker scored a hat-trick against Francis Douglas, but Hastings finished a lowly 27th.
Remarkably Joey has played six cricket matches this week, won them all and delivered 65 over’s. He is also a member of the First XI and prior to this week had only bowled two over’s in 2015.
A regular in the Hawke’s Bay reps he says his favourite cricketer is Kane Williamson and sport runs deep in his family.
Two years ago he was a member of the Hawke’s Bay indoor football team that won the National title while his father Stephen was in charge of organising volunteers at this year’s World Cup.
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