For the first time since 2015, King’s College will feature at the National First XI cricket finals in December. King’s have won the Nationals on four previous occasions and in Mitchell Murray (2015) and Simon Hickey (2011) feature two of the three batsmen to have made two centuries at the same tournament. Murray has the record for the highest score ever - clubbing 171 against HIBS.
Thorn Parkes is the captain of the 2018 First XI. He has guided the team through an unbeaten term, but they had to wait patiently for their victory in the Auckland final against Auckland Grammar School.
“The first Saturday was rained off. We played 40 overs and had Grammar 108 for 6. That was a good position for us so we weren’t too pleased when we didn’t finish,” Parkes explains.
Parkes had little reason for concern. King’s bowled Grammar out for a mediocre 131 in the 45th over a week later. Spinners Cory Dickson and Hugo Hill claimed five wickets between them.
Slow bowling has been a major weapon for King’s this summer. Former Black Cap off-spinner Dipak Patel is King’s coach.
“Dipak is an old fashioned coach who keeps things simple and sets high expectations. He brings a lot of experience, which has really helped strengthen the reputation of King’s cricket,” Parkes applauds.
Parkes himself has taken up right-arm spin bowling and in the Grammar final took four catches spearheading a fine fielding effort.
King’s pursuit of the small total started in a rocky fashion slumping to 24 for 2. However Parkes steadied the ship reaching 42 and with support from Fraser Hardy (29 not out) King’s reached the target in the 38th over with six wickets to spare.
“It was a great all-round performance. We bowled and fielded as a unt. Everybody has contributed to our success this season and that’s exciting looking ahead to December,” Parkes enthuses.
Parkes’ highest score this season was 106 not out against Takapuna Grammar School. King’s won their semi-final against Westlake Boys’ High School by two wickets with the last partnership exceeding 20 runs.
Parkes is originally from Gisborne and has remained loyal to Poverty Bay despite being on scholarship since Year 9. A long-time friend and representative coach is Ben O'Brien-Leaf
“I first selected Thorn as a year 6 and not one of my year 8 boys batted an eyelid. In our first game that season he took 2 for 20 bowling medium-pace. In another game he made 36 against older opposition sporting a badly bruised toe,” O’Brien-Leaf recalls.
“He's a good athlete, gutsy, skilful, loyal and honest with that Poverty Bay mischief and sense of humour. He's grown as a person and has great potential,” O’Brien-Leaf acclaims.
Parkes has played for the ND U19’s and made 200 not out as a 12 year old in Gisborne Intermediate's TW Challenge.
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