An invitational side from John McGlashan College took part in the inaugural Under-17 Cricket Carnival in Queenstown in January and what an event this turned out to be.
Having secured the welcome return of Mr Andrew Hore to the John McGlashan College cricketing fold, Mr Hore, his deputies (Phil Sheard and Ron Bull), and the team set off with a group of fine young cricketers ranging from Year 10 through to Year 13.
The festival itself comprised of eight teams, including a team from Australia, and two competitions over four days which meant that a full schedule ensued to complete both the declaration and 20/20 games. Hosted at the internationally recognised and picturesque setting of Queenstown Events Centre, our boys were treated to a great festival of cricket.
As for myself, a simple tourist, parent and unofficial scorer for the event, I naturally assumed that the warm up 20/20 game on the Sunday prior to the event would be cancelled due to the bitter cold and driving rain. So, I made an early retreat to allow the team to settle into their digs only to find out later from Phil that they had indeed pressed ahead with the game on an artificial pitch at Millbrook. Still, a good omen and warm up win for the boys.
Day one and not even the gloomy weather could dampen the spirit of the teams and organisers as we managed a full fixture list. We opened up with two good wins in the 20/20 tournament against Wakatipu High School and Taieri College to ensure a place in the 20/20 final the following evening against our friendly foe, Otago Boys'.
Day two was a special day for our boys, starting off with a comprehensive win in the declaration game against Otago Country where Jordan Gain scored a magnificent century but only by the grace of Daniel Thom who stood by him during an impressive 75 ball 18 not out. McGlashan went on to score 169/7 having bowled out Otago Country for 137 where young Benedict Kyle bowled possibly his best spell to take the prize wicket of their best batsman for one run. Tired as the team might have been, we were back on the main oval shortly after the completion of this game to face Otago Boys' in the final of the 20/20 tournament. Catching up with some Otago Boys' parents and hearing the banter from their boys, most of whom were all well known to us, the atmosphere and spirit in which the game was played was fantastic. Batting first, McGlashan amassed 171 runs. In reply, Otago Boys' got off to a great start but faded in their run chase to be all out for 121, thanks in part to four wickets from George Johnston, and two great outfield catches from Harry Smith. First tournament win to McGlashan.
Day three, in terms of facilities, was a bit of a leveller for the team as we headed out to Millbrook to play on an artificial pitch on a sloping, agricultural outfield. Great pavilion, though! This did not diminish the team’s spirits though with the game providing us with the most entertaining match of the tournament. Batting first, we found ourselves in trouble at 43 for five, where Billy Sheard was tremendously unlucky having somehow managed to header the ball with his helmet into the air and onto his stumps, before the middle order set about rebuilding the innings and reaching a total of 173. Ben Hatton was our top scorer with 69 and Harry Tourelle adding a valuable and patient 22. In reply, McGlashan bowled out Wakatipu High School for 63, thanks in part to an inspired spell of bowling by Ness Scully who finished with figures of 15 for five off seven overs. Ness was assisted, not for the first time, from Angus Frew charging in from the other end during six hostile and accurate overs. Having taken first innings points, Mr Hore then graciously forfeited the McGlashan second innings, allowing Wakatipu High School the opportunity to chase down 111 in their second innings for an outright win in 24 overs. Game on. However, a further four wickets for Ness (nine for the match) and three run outs ensured that JMC were victorious and awarded full points for the outright win with but a few overs to spare.
Day four, and its all to play for with McGlashan, Otago Boys' and Southland High School all in with a shout of winning the main trophy in the final declaration game of the tournament. In the end, though, and despite a reasonably good start where Tu Bull once again showed his potential and determination at the top of the order, our boys simply ran out of steam. Batting first, McGlashan were dismissed by Taieri College for 136 who then comfortably chased down our total, but not before young Krishan Luxmanan bowled his best spell for figures of 11 for two off his five overs. Having been put in to bat again, Harrison Biggs resumed normal service with a confident 81 not out off just 75 balls in the second inning before the rain finally brought an end to the day’s play and the tournament.
And so ended a great tournament with McGlashan winning the 20/20 competition and finishing as runners-up to Otago Boys', who won their final match in the last over before rain stopped play to pip us at the post.
All in all, though, it wasn’t about the results, and it wasn’t about the winners. This was a showcase event in which Mr Hore, Phil, Ron and the boys played every game in the spirit of the carnival and to ensure equal opportunity for all our players, Year 10 through to Year 13.
Of all the many highlights during this event, surely the most memorable of all would be the experience and camaraderie shared between the younger boys and the older boys both on and off the field. What a great advertisement for John McGlashan College. To see some more photos of the boys in action visit https://flic.kr/s/aHskTZZG3w.
Final thanks to Mr Hore for giving up his time for the boys, Phil and Ron for their assistance, the parents who travelled up and offered their support and finally the school for supporting this event.