A Happy Cricketing New Year to you all.
The outfield is brown and fast, the wicket block is the best we‘ve had for many years and the cricket has been superb. Scores in excess of 250 in the 50 overs are the norm and we have seen some exciting talent score centuries and take wickets, and some of them are Willow team members too.
Father Christmas and helpers, used a navigation app and found us in December along with a huge crowd including folk from the Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy Assn, Champion Centre, Riding for the Disabled and The Hope Trust (Rangiora).
The Salvation Army Band played and many loyal supporters turned out to help.
Grateful thanks to ASB, Nic Davidson, Gary Smith Panel Beaters, Dilmah Tea, Mitre 10 (Rangiora), and Paul Rutledge.
Alongside the Christmas party is the annual Hawkswood clash, one of our oldest games, and I am pleased to tell you that The Willows team, captained by Sam Davis, is the proud holders of The McFarlane trophy, The Charles Wiffen trophy and a newly presented Hawkswood runners up trophy. We cleaned up this year, which was well overdue.
Results to date
Before Christmas we had a number of games including:
North West Schools played well as a team and got to 138, but a quick 44 from Fraser Buckley and 27 from Grant Dickson, saw The Willows through.
London NZ struck James Richards at his belligerent best and he scored an excellent 79 out of a total of 253/3. LNZ reached 165 and it was great to see Willower Matt Hudson back at the ground with 59no for LNZ, with Richard McGuire taking 3/10.
Marlborough Boys’ College were kept busy in the field by Ken Challu, a young lad from Hong Kong, who made 84 in a total of 191 for The Willows and then smashed by the speed and movement of Adam Hastilow with 4/8. Good to see Willower Phil D’Auvergne assisting Marlborough again.
The Willows managed 252 against Hawkswood, but no-one was comfortable against the pace of Will Prentice. Sam Davis felt it was a defendable score. There have been plenty of years where we thought Hawkswood were down and out but have come back to win, so it was with steely resolve and the fear of the groundsman’s wrath, that The Willows team took the field. Sam Davis summoned all his guile and leadership in taking 5/20 and was well supported by Adrian McFedries with 2/28 and Hawkswood stuttered to 136. It was a great effort by our lads, but beware a wounded bull as the Cheviot farmers would say!!
2020 - the year, not the game!
First up – v.South West Schools. The battle of the Bridgemans, with one in each team and the Paltridges the same.
The Willows scored 235/9 with Tim Bridgeman 95 and Johnty Hunter 75.
South West Schools managed a good 157 and Nathaniel Paltridge anchored the innings with 56 and Josh Bridgeman a useful 28.
Christ’s College bought a large contingent of supporters. The Willows amassed a daunting 276/8 thanks to magnificent knock from coach Keryn Ambler, drafted back into The Willows side, with 82. Class is permanent!
College were determined and made 213 with captain Tom McClean scoring 77. The experienced trio of Davison, McGuire and McConnell were too much for them in the end. Richard McGuire had 5/23 and Tim McConnell made 43 with 10x4 and took six catches behind the stumps. One even surprised him!!
Mention has to be made of a catch in the outfield by young Sam Idiens. With a fierce NorWest wind blowing, a dry hard outfield, he dived to his left and snared a blinder some 50 metres from the bat. College again proved a well-coached and good team.
St Bede’s College. The Willows were simply “boiled” alive, and it wasn’t only the heat! Captain Matt Boyle produced an outstanding blitz on the poor Willows bowlers, and was dragged reluctantly from the field at 101 not out as The Willows total of 199 was easily passed. Wily Willower Stan Woolliscroft the pick of the bowlers with 4/33
Matt’s brother Jack was also making a century for NZ A v India on the same day, so boasting honours were even and perhaps the parents could take the credit this time.
Maybe next year we may borrow coach Ben McCord for The Willows side as that ruse seems to work for us.
Timaru Boys’ High without a win since 2006/7 at The Willows, chased down a good looking 239, a total that captain McRae was happy with, after retiring Nigel deMaine at 50, and a few older players making good runs at last. An opening partnership of 139 put TBHS right in the hunt and Liam Andrews went on to score his first ton with 105 retired. It was an historic and well-deserved win for the visitors. Well done Liam; we will be looking for the Walsh’s, Patel and Big Hamish Bennett to bolster our team next year!
And if you think that your playing days are coming to an end then Dave Stuthridge who controls umpire and scorer placements would love to talk umpiring and scoring with you!! Dave can be contacted through The Willows.
The senior Willows team are heading to Australia in early February with a game in Sydney and then on to Camden and IZingari. This will be a warm up for their defence of the Kindred Cup in Wellington mid February. We wish Sam Davis and team well for the games and after-match functions.
Our Willows “family” continues to grow with, but we do have some spaces for new members and we would love to see more of the “younger” brigade stepping through the gates. Ring us to book a game and see if you enjoy the experience.
Our small scarifier for the pitch has been lost in action. If you may have borrowed it from the assistant groundsman or seen it somewhere please could you let us know.
Go onto Fox Sport (Australia) website, or You Tube and watch the clip filmed at The Willows which has now had over 30,000 hits and played at The MCG Boxing Day Test. A great testament to the Club.
We congratulate Rhys Mariu (St Andrew’s College), Nick Lidstone (Christ’s College) and Beckham Wheeler-Greenall (King’s High School – Dunedin) on their selection in the NZ Under 19 World Cup side currently playing in South Africa.
Many thanks to umpires, scorers, caterers, all Club members, and most important of all our sponsors which are: Dilmah Tea, Archibalds - Jaguar, McDonalds (Rangiora and Kaiapoi), Runacres Insurance Brokers, Mobil Oil, ASB Bank, Gary S. Smith, Charles Wiffen Wines, and the new city Indian restaurant The Permit Room.
John Wesley Grocott
John sadly passed away on Saturday 18th January 2020. Husband to Lola and father to Willowers, David and Tim. John was a Willower for many years, and a friend to many, as evidenced by the hundreds who attended his recent funeral. John was educated at Wellington College. The assistant groundsman first met John in 1954 on the Wanganui Collegiate rugby fields where Wellington College had a stern tussle with Nelson College.
It is hard to list the many clubs he was member of, life member of, auditor to and player of, but it’s a large number. He was Mr East Shirley Cricket and loved the game immensely, as well as the people in it.
John was the son of a Methodist minister and lived his life and sport along great Christian principles, never argued with the umpires, accepted winning and losing gracefully and played in the “v”.
A great man, who will be sorely missed by all.
The club also wish to extend condolences to the Hastilow family on the recent loss of wife and mother, Ann. John and Adam appreciate all the thoughts, support and best wishes from members over the past month.
Hope to see you at the ground some time.