Curtis Heaphy is a young sportsman of Maori ancestry from Palmerston North Boys’ High School who has excelled in both the First XI cricket and First XV rugby teams.
With a willingness to take a risk, composure under pressure, and notable successes in both codes he is inevitably drawn comparisons to Ruben Love, a New Zealand age group cricketer of Maori heritage from the same college who represented the Hurricanes in Super Rugby this season.
Two years apart, Heaphy and Love are good friends.
“He trains the house down but has stayed. His success inspires me," Heaphy said.
"I haven't chosen which sport I'm going to play after school yet. I am actually doing a couple of Uni papers because study is important. I want to keep my options open."
Mature judgement helped Heaphy earn selection as captain for the New Zealand Secondary Schools' Maori cricket team. Twice they've been beaten by the Governor General’s XI in an annual fixture but the appointment of Heaphy didn't hurt the cause.
In January he was the leading run scorer in the Super 8 tournament which Palmerston North won for the first time in a decade. Napier Boys’ High School won in 2012 and since then Hamilton Boys’ High School had won every year.
"That would be the highlight of my time at Palmerston North. The tournament was in Napier and we beat Hamilton Boys’ in pool play which basically knocked them out. We posted quite a big score and I made 99 which was a bit disappointing. I tried to hit another six and got caught by Payton Spencer, my good mate on the boundary.
“In the final we played Tauragua Boys.’ We bowled them out for 162 on a green wicket. It was a tricky chase, but we got it done.”
Palmerston North won by five wickets with Heaphy making 87 off 107 balls. He finished the tournament with 212 runs and has made centuries in local club fixtures and against St Patrick’s College, Silverstream.
Last winter Silverstream was the victim of Heaphy’s heroics on the rugby field. He kicked a sideline conversion in the dark, and on a bog, to help Palmerston North win the Old Boys Cup 13-12.
“We spent the whole second-half in their 22 and couldn’t score. It is pretty frustrating. I remember we put a cross-kick out to the winger who unfortunately didn’t manage to score on that occasion but luckily, he scored a little later when we took some risk to get it wide again.
“I do practice my kicking a lot and try not to kick it too hard. I have a process I go through and trust.
“My family is very supportive. I owe them everything.”
Heaphy has been a trusted member of the First XV since 2019. That was an exceptional season for Palmerston North. Third in Super 8 they reached the Hurricanes Regional final, losing to eventual National champions Hastings Boys’ High School.
“We had a big pack. I would rather play with them than against them. We beat Scots coming from 17-0 behind which was a big highlight. Ruben Love played awesome that day. Super 8 was really good because the only teams that beat us were Hamilton and Hastings who were in the National Top Four.”
Fifth in the 2020 Super 8 wasn’t the greatest result, but two matches were lost by less than a converted try and Hastings Boys’ High School overpowered 25-8.
Palmerston North have made a strong start to 2021 toppling quality opposition like: Francis Douglas Memorial College, Whanganui Collegiate School, Gisborne Boys’ High School, St Pats Town, Wellington, College, Lindisfarne College and Auckland Grammar School.
“I prefer first-five, where I’m playing this year. I like to get my hands on the ball and be involved, attacking and kicking when needed. We’ve got a lot of good players and I hope the experienced boys can lead by example and help us have a good season.
He has been a Hurricanes and Manawatu Under 16 representative.
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