New Plymouth Boys’ High School is not historically noted for its prowess in football, but 2015 was a landmark season.
For the first time the First XI won the Super 8 title. They finished tenth at the Nationals and achieved a winning record in their annual traditional fixtures.
Striker Drew Farnsworth was a big part of the teams’ success. The Year 12 student was the leading goal scorer and had an absolute blinder against St. Patrick’s College, Silverstream. He scored four goals in the annual clash, leading New Plymouth to their first win in nine years.
“That was an amazing game, very exciting, everything went right,” Farnsworth recalls.
In fact the performance won the hearts of the First XV rugby team who preformed an impromptu haka on the sidelines during the game.
“I think it’s the first time that’s ever happened. The whole school performs the haka for the First XV which is amazing, but to have that recognition for football was special,” Farnsworth admits.
The contribution of coach John Whittle was special. The Englishman is the director of football at New Plymouth and has improved New Plymouth’s national standing 11 places in a year. He helped Farnsworth earn selection for the National Secondary Schools’ team.
“John is a really good coach. He is a good motivator, but has a strong grasp of technical skills to. I am really proud to have worked with John,” Farnsworth says.
In July the New Zealand Schools’ will tour Australia and play four games against a nationwide invitation selection and A-Leauge academy sides. Was Farnsworth surprised to make the cut?
“Absolutely. There was a trail where everybody was really even and some guys were a bit older. I guess I have hard work to thank for my selection,” he says.
There are several training camps leading up to the tour, but Farnsworth’s immediate focus is on managing his move to Westlake Boys’ High School in Auckland. Why leave when New Plymouth is rapidly improving?
“It was a huge decision, leaving family and friends, but my goal is to become a professional footballer and I think moving to Auckland will improve my chances of achieving that. In New Plymouth we play in the Taranaki men’s grade which is ideal physically, but the skill level is not so good. I want to test myself against the best players in my age group,” Farnsworth explains.
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