Even as a restless and naive eight year old Adam Jones was more determined than most to improve his bowling and had a plan of action to do so.
The Year 13 at Sacred Heart College in Auckland recalls approaching former New Zealand spinner Dipak Patel at the Howick Pakuranga cricket club and seeking advice on how to bowl spin.
“I was bowling pace and found I couldn’t land the ball. It was ridiculous really, but Dipak agreed to teach me how to bowl spin and I guess the rest is history,” he says.
Last week Jones was the leading wicket taker for the triumphant Auckland team at the National Under-17 cricket championships in Christchurch. The left-arm orthodox spinner sneered 23 wickets in six games. His best spell was against Otago where he took 6-13 off 17 overs, a spell which included 11 maidens.
“I enjoy bowling in the two day games because there are no fielding or over restrictions. It means you can get into a better rhythm and pressure the batsman more,” Jones enthuses.
Auckland won both their two day games which were worth extra points. Chemistry was another big component in the teams’ success.
“We were a very close knit team. Everyone knew each other well and I think that helped us gel quicker than the other teams,” Jones observers.
Despite an unusually soggy summer the only game disrupted by the weather was the Wellington fixture which Auckland lost. The contest was reduced to 22 overs and Wellington prevailed by four wickets chasing 99.
“When its wet moisture gets on to the wicket which helps the fast bowlers. We didn’t bat well enough in that game, but the groundsman deserve a lot of credit. They produced some outstanding pitches which made for some great cricket,” Jones says.
Cricket has been on a positive ascent at Sacred Heart College. New coach and former first class representative Alan Hunt had added much enthusiasm and expertise to the program.
“Alan’s been great. He’s been there and done that so he knows what it takes. In December we won the Marist Cricket Carnival in Australia. It’s the first time we have won it in Australia. The results are getting better all the time,” Jones warns.
Jones’ best spell for Sacred Heart was in a Colts fixture last year. In nine overs he took 6-6. His ultimate goal in the immediate future is to make the New Zealand Under-19 team for the 2018 World Cup in New Zealand.
“I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but to make that team would be awesome,” Jones concludes.
National Under-17 Champs: Final Points Table
1: Auckland – 34 Points
2: Wellington – 25 Points
3: Otago – 21 Points
4: Central Districts – 10 Points
5: Canterbury – 4 Points
6: Northern Districts – 4 Points
Top Five Run Scorers
1: Conor Ansell – Auckland – 386 Runs
2: Llew Johnson – Otago – 291 Runs
3: Devan Vishvaka – Wellington – 278 Runs
4: Jake Russ – Northern Districts – 266 Runs
5: Keegan Weeks – Central Districts – 263 Runs
Top Five Wicket Takers
1: Adam Jones – Auckland – 23 Wickets
2: Dylan Sharma – Wellington – 19 Wickets
3: James Mockford – Otago – 18 Wickets
4: Ben Lockrose – Otago – 13 Wickets
5: Ryan Harrison – Auckland – 13 Wickets
2014/15: Central Districts
2012/13: No Tournament
2011/12: No Tournament
2010/11: No Tournament
Note: The tournament consisted of four 50-over one day games and two, two day games.
Credit: Hamish Wareham for the stats.
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