“We had shot, but I didn’t think we could win it,” admits Jack Parker, captain of the New Plymouth Boys’ High School Junior cricket team that won the National Junior title in Palmerston North last week.
It’s the first National cricket title won by the school and New Plymouth was unique because of their four-pronged spin attack of Jason McGrath, Liam Carr, Ethan Dower and Sebastian Lauderdale-Smith.
“We were really well prepared. We started training last year and had whiteboard sessions designed to help us understand how to get different batsmen out.” Parker reveals.
In slow Manawatu conditions, New Plymouth’s thorough planning reaped rich rewards. On the fifth and final day of the tourney, New Plymouth faced St Bede’s College with Hamilton Boys’ High School meeting Auckland Grammar School. If both teams won then the tournament winner was be judged on best net run rate as the New Plymouth v Hamilton match was washed out.
St. Bede’s were bowled out for 45 with Jason McGrath taking 6-22, and Jack Parker chiming in with 2-10. New Plymouth then made a mockery of the target, hitting the winning runs in just 6.1 overs as Sebastian Lauderdale-Smith raced through to 24 not out.
New Plymouth batted strongly in reaching 180 in 40 overs to beat Wellington College by 26 runs on Day One, but their bowling was the major source of stress for opponents.
On Day Two, King’s High School was skittled out for 70 as Ethan Dower took 5-14 and Jason McGrath 3-7 from eight overs.
A valuable lesson was learnt in the chase.
“I think we believed we had it won and got complacent. We lost too many wickets early and had to battle to win by two wickets.” Parker concedes.
Batting first on the same pitch against Auckland Grammar School, New Plymouth learned their lesson, making 174-9 off their 40 overs. Parker led from the front top scoring with 49.
New Plymouth pressured Grammar from the outset of their chase and Grammar faltered losing four wickets inside the first 15 overs as they fell 56 runs short. Dower was again the pick of the bowlers, taking 3-21.
“I am the type of captain who seeks guidance from others. This was a team effort. I think the future of cricket at this school is in good shape because a few of us are in the First XI already.” Parker enthuses.
“I would like to thank our coach Ben Sapwell-West. He is real positive. We run singles hard, back each other up in the field and try and enjoy each other’s company.” Parker concludes.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand