Cricket was the first sport to be played at Westlake Boys’ High School when it opened in 1961.
The First XI have fashioned a fine record of achievement. They have won the Auckland Secondary Schools two-day title on thirteen occasions in addition to winning four one day titles.
More recently, they have captured two Twenty20 crowns and at a national level been runners-up twice in the Gillette Cup.
Five players have progressed from the First XI to the Black Caps, including former New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan and charismatic all-rounder Andre Adams. Billy Bowden has enjoyed a long career as an international umpire. His brother Fraser is the current First XI coach.
For the first time since 2010, Westlake will return to the Gillette Cup finals to be staged in Christchurch in December.
Westlake actually confirmed their place in March when they won the Auckland one day competition.
Westlake had a tough semi-final versus St Peter’s College in which they chased down 197 in the 45th over to prevail. Captain William O’Donnell top scored with 63.
In the final Westlake played Rangitoto College. Westlake was bowled out cheaply for 111 with O’Donnell once again providing the most resistance with 31.The bowlers were ruthless. Keegan Russell and Angus McKenzie both claimed four wickets and helped roll Rangitoto for 75. Evidently Russell once took 5/4 in a match for Westlake, including a hat-trick.
O’Donnell was the captain of the Auckland Under-17 rep side this year. He has been Westlake’s leading run scorer with 485 at an average of 35. He is the son of former Auckland coach Mark O’Donnell and the younger brother of Robbie (Auckland Aces). Apart from his solid batting he is noted for his aggressive and intelligent captaincy of a fine all-round side.
Five Westlake Boys’ represented Auckland in the Under-17′s with Keegan Russell being named in the New Zealand tournament team. McKenzie is the teams’ leading wicket taker with 31 victims at an average of 9.50. McKenzie’s best figures this season have been 6/26 v Sacred Heart College and he also took 5/31 v Rangitoto.
One of the interesting features of the Westlake team is they have five South African born players. The exchange program with Jeppe High School has been a roaring success. Westlake tours South Africa as well as providing education and sporting opportunity for their students.
The pick of the Proteas in the Westlake side this season maybe Wesley Sleep. He is an all-rounder who made a memorable 107 against a strong St. Kentigern College XI in March.
Adam Baard, Angus Nicoll and Copper Spiller are other players to watch.
Ryan Scivier is the head of cricket at Westlake whose program boasts ten teams at present. He reflects on the First XI season thus far.
“Every player has played his part throughout the season which has enabled the team to be settled. They all know their roles. It has been a very positive and relaxed environment which has given them confidence. The boys express themselves on the field.”
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