Jake Bailey is the Senior Monitor at Christchurch Boys’ High School. Tragically he has been diagnosed with serious cancer and wasn’t expected to deliver his final address at senior prize giving.
Heroically he defied the grim odds and was wheeled onto the stage in a wheelchair. Looking gaunt he delivered a stirring speech that has created international headlines. In the speech he pleaded to his peers.
“My challenge to each of you, and to myself, is to continue to grow, to develop for the better. The future is truly in our hands. Forget about having long-term dreams. Let’s be passionately dedicated to the pursuit of short-term goals. Micro-ambitious. Work with pride on what is in front of us. We don’t know where we might end up. Or when it might end up.”
That fearless philosophy is something the Christchurch Boys’ High School First XI is hoping to embrace at the National Cricket championships at Lincoln in December.
Matt Hay is the captain and he says Bailey’s words resonate strongly within the team.
“I am a prefect at school so I have worked pretty closely with Jake this year. It was very moving to see him deliver such a great speech. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. From a cricket point of view we would like to embrace his message of playing without fear. In the grand scheme of things, it’s just a game.”
Christchurch are the defending champions. They have won eight out of the last 11 tournaments. In 2014 they won all five matches for the first time. The legacy of success is massive. Does Hay feel the past is a burden?
“Not at all, it’s inspiring, but it’s something you can’t take for granted either. We have to work hard to create our own legacy,” he says.
Compliancy might have been a problem earlier in the season. For the first time in 17 years Christchurch was toppled by St. Bede’s College. Hay learned a lot from the setback.
“That was a good wake up call to be honest. We have lost games early on in previous seasons and losses motivate you to improve,” he concedes.
In the Canterbury one day final the two schools meet again with a place at the Nationals at stake. Christchurch made a shaky start slumping to 80/6. Hay recalls what happened next.
“We were in serious trouble at that point, but the tail wagged. Jack Turner made 63 and we got ourselves to 200 which was a good score in the circumstances, but under par on a good pitch. We came out firing with the ball. Fraser Sheat took 7/27 and we won by 100 runs.”
Christchurch have seven debutants for this year’s national tourney. Hay is reluctant to highlight individual standouts, stressing that Christchurch is a balanced team where everybody contributes.
“Everybody has played their part this year. Were not too focused on individual efforts, but I guess Sheat, Will Jordon and Ben Donkers are all-rounder’s worth watching,” he says.
Hay himself captained the Canterbury Under-17′s and is primarily a batsman who bowls medium pace.
“I have been happy with my bowling this year. I have taken more wickets than usual, but I could do with a few more runs to be honest”, Hay admits.
Last year restricting the opposition was the key to Christchurch’s success. Only one school scored more than 200 against them. No Christchurch batsman was in the top five run makers, but Oscar Shepperson 12 wickets at 12.58 and Harry Wilson: 11 wickets at 12.45 were the leading wicket takers.
Hutt International Boys’ School was the opponent who Christchurch conceded over 200 against. Christchurch won the game by two runs in the last over. Hay recalls the classic tussle.
“That was properly the best game of cricket I have played. We batted first and were 100-0, 190-6 and ended up with 258. They were on target to get them. In the second to last over we dismissed their captain Troy Johnson on 70 odd. Our captain Morgan Jeffery bowled the last over and bowled them out. We were lucky several players steeped up.”
In the dressing rooms at the Christchurch Boys’ High School cricket club each of the schools’ Black Caps are honoured. Hay hangs his uniform above a plark honouring Chris Cairns. What does Hay made of the Cairns match-fixing trial?
“If it’s true, it’s sad. They should take his plark down. Cricket is great game that gives us a lot to be grateful for.”
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