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The Willows vs
Otago Boys' High School 1st XI


Report by Ben Dormer

The Willow's v Otago Boys Sunday 18th October 2020

We were pleased to welcome Otago Boys High to our ground a day earlier this year, allowing the boy’s from Dunedin the luxury of playing on grass at The Willows - something they are unable to do down south due to the wet conditions requiring artificial pitches to be used on a weekly basis. This internal practice session provided them an additional 80 overs playing together on grass wickets and is something their coach – former New Zealand international Craig Cumming - believes to be invaluable particularly leading into the all-important schools Gillette Cup competition. This is something Otago Boys are going to continue to go moving forward, making the most of a full weekend of cricket at our ground.

The home side won the toss and elected to bowl first on what were perfect conditions in Loburn with the sun out and without a breath of wind. The Willow’s were pleased to include three schoolboys in our side for this fixture, including Archie Reekie (fresh off 99 for the St Andrews 1st XI the previous day), Josh Bridgman (Riccarton High School wicketkeeper) and all-rounder Jayden McIntyre from the country home schools. Similar to The Barbarian’s rugby team, The Willow’s like to include an “uncapped” schoolboy each week in our side to play alongside our experienced older players. The Willow’s side also included two Old Boys of the school in Andrew Haig and Lance Taylor - something the Club has always embraced.

Arsh Singh (2-24) and Paul Miller (4-41) made good use of the new ball and within the first 10 overs reduced the Otago Boys team to 44-5, a seemingly hopeless position for the schoolboy side. However as they say in the classics “Cricket is a funny game” and as Richie Benaud once said his motto in sport and life was “Never Give Up”. Both rang true as the Otago boys showed some real grit to fight their way back into the game. Stan Woolliscroft compiled very tidy figures of 0-16 off his 10 overs on the trot, bowling in tandem with fellow spinner Andrew Haig (0-48). Jayden McIntyre chipped in with 3 handy wickets towards the end of the innings with his medium pacers with Otago Boys finally bowled out for 215 with the coaches son’s Jacob (27) and Zack Cummings (43) contributing well as with Jayden Miller who was last out for a well compiled 79.

Brent Fleming and Matthias Paltridge opened the batting for The Willows against a well-disciplined new ball bowling attack from the schoolboys who had us in early trouble. Not even Archie Reekie, fresh off consecutive scores in the 90’s for the STAC 1st XI could restrict the damage. Paul Miller (48) and Arsh Singh (28) put together a handy partnership however the strong (on paper anyway!) Willows line-up failed to capitalise on what were good batting conditions handing the schoolboys a comfortable victory and the return of The Frank Cameron trophy.

Grateful thanks to Match Day Co-ordinators Jim Stringleman and Di Woodward who do a great job at the ground each Sunday.

Also thanks as ever to MED whose vision it was over 26 years ago to create such a unique environment to develop schools cricket in New Zealand – let’s hope he can now sit back, relax and enjoy Sundays out at the ground, allowing the next wave of committed Willowers to take the Club into what is undoubtedly a bright future.
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[]
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