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SPORT

Thursday December 7, 2017

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St Pat’s cricketers scrape through final to end 30-year drought By Jamie Adams

St Patrick’s College’s top cricketers will finish school with more to cheer about after winning the Wellington regional boys’ secondary school competition for the first time in more than 30 years. But it was touch and go - the Kilbirine-based boys college’s first XI took the premier youth grade title after beating Hutt International Boys School (Hibs) by one wicket with just three balls to spare. Tail-enders Ben Piesocki and Josh Mallon got St Patrick’s over the line after their bowlers earlier dismissed Hibs for 146. Summer holidays mean the school cricket season is split into two competitions. The first half began in October with six Wellington colleges competing in a round robin. Sports director Jonathan Millmow says the team went into the final as the second qualifier having lost to Wellington College and Hibs in the round robin. “The big thing was it was our first win after being beaten finalists two years previously. Jonathan describes the first XI as “a resourceful team”. “Their batting sometimes let us down, but their strong bowling meant they could restrict other sides to small totals.” The standout players that drove St Partick’s to glory were opener

The champion St Patrick’s first XI with their trophy after taking out their first Secondary School championship in 30 years. PHOTO: Supplied

Xavier Aspell, pace bowler Josh Mallon and offspinner Nate Wiggins, he says. Jonathan also praises head coach Darrin Thomson for moulding the

players into a champion unit, some of whom he had been coaching since they were juniors. “It all starts again in late January. We lose three boys from the

ANZ helping southern and eastern Wellington get on top of their game this summer

their premier youth competition, also against Hibs, in August. One of its players, Liberato Cacace, now plays for the All Whites under-17s.

Sports talk

with Jacob Page

Dear Tom - welcome aboard

By Jamie Adams

ANZ is giving keen cricketers from southern and eastern Wellington a helping hand to get on top of their game this summer. The programme will give New Zealand cricket fans the chance to get the help they need to improve their game. Whether it’s getting new team uniforms or replacing tired old gear, giving a pitch and clubrooms a makeover or the chance to get a one-on-one coaching session with a Black Caps or White Ferns player, ANZ is supporting cricket at every level this summer. Since 2009 ANZ has been supporting aspiring cricketers, their teams, clubs, schools and casual fans as they set out to make the most of New Zealand’s favourite summer game. This year ANZ extended its sponsorship to the White Ferns women cricketers. ANZ Head of Sponsorship Sue McGregor, says that ANZ is proud to support cricket at all levels - whether it’s the Black Caps and White Ferns representing our country on the international stage, or the next generation of

team next year but there’s high hopes for them to stay strong.” The cricket win caps off a great sporting year for St Patrick’s, with its first XI football team taking out

Black Caps bowler Trent Boult with aspiring cricketer Luke Dale after their one-on-one training session. PHOTO: Supplied

players battling it out at the local grounds every Saturday. “We want to give players and fans the support they need. Whether that’s with a new set of cricket gear, something for the club that will make a difference, or making it possible to meet one of their heroes for some inspi-

ration or motivation,” Sue says. “We know sometimes all you need is just that little bit of extra help to achieve, so we are committed to helping as many cricket fans as we can.”  Applications are now open at anzcricketworld.co.nz.

One opportunity, two careers potentially changed. Wellington wicket-keeper Tom Blundell made the most of his test debut with an absorbing unbeaten 107 and a tidy performance behind the stumps that should have regular Black Caps test keeper BJ Watling concerned. While the West Indies are at the weaker end of the test nation spectrum, Blundell ensured that dropping him won’t be an easy decision when Watling returns from a hip injury that had consigned him to just a batsman role in domestic cricket. At 27, Blundell is not a young man but on his home track at Wellington’s Basin Reserve he proved that if you’re given an inch but you take a mile, it can prove to be a life changing moment. Watling, who reinvented himself from top order batsman to test keeper mid career, has been a tremendous option in the role,

proving capable with the gloves and averaging 38 with the bat. However, once past 30, succession plans always come into play. Blundell’s composure at the crease, workman-like effort behind the stumps and willingness to walk home post-match while still in his playing whites will have endeared himself to many fans and undoubtedly the selectors. The Wellingtonian has the ability to hit the long ball and increase the strike rate and was seen as a coloured clothing option before a test player up until this week. It would be a tough call to drop Watling but the Australians would do it given the same opportunity and they’ve been mighty successful for many years. A headache for coach Mike Hesson but one that won’t have him reaching for the paracetamol any time soon.

Cook Strait News 07-12-17  

Cook Strait News 07-12-17

Cook Strait News 07-12-17  

Cook Strait News 07-12-17