Joey shines in­door in pur­suit of field of out­door dreams

Hawke's Bay Today - - Sport - In­door cricket World Cup, Christchurch Anen­dra Singh

He only started play­ing it in the term two of high school but Joey Field is re­joic­ing as a world cham­pion mem­ber of the New Zealand 17-and-un­der in­door cricket team.

Field re­turned to Hast­ings last Satur­day af­ter help­ing the Micah Con­roy-cap­tained side to an al­most per­fect record in the week-long World Series staged in Christchurch.

“It was just awe­some,” says the Hast­ings Boys’ High School head boy who also cap­tains the first XI. “It started from singing the na­tional an­them and be­fore the fi­nal, you know, that tin­gling feel­ing when I had my arms around my mates so it was pretty sur­real.”

The Ki­wis won nine out of 10 pool games. Their only de­feat came from South Africa who pipped them by a run.

They beat de­fend­ing world cham­pi­ons Aus­tralia twice in pool play, by two runs and 10 runs, re­spec­tively, be­fore a don’t-ar­gue 24-run re­sult in the ma­jor semi­fi­nal.

Eng­land and an NZ A team also suf­fered 2-0 losses at the New Zealan­ders’ hands.

Field says, go­ing into the tour­ney, all the talk was about the Aussies mak­ing a clean sweep of all the grades.

He snaf­fled a blind­ing righthanded catch high to his right in the first game against Aus­tralia to­wards the end of the game to save seven runs and to take a -5 that eked out their two-run vic­tory.

While that got some at­ten­tion on so­cial me­dia footage, Field reck­ons a catch Tom McDon­ald, of Christchurch, took in the fi­nal off his bowl­ing went vi­ral.

The teenager took up the in­door game af­ter giv­ing up foot­ball to fo­cus on mak­ing the cut to the na­tional un­der-19 out­door cricket squad.

“I used to en­joy foot­ball but cricket’s def­i­nitely my No 1 now,” he says, re­veal­ing he is in the Cen­tral Districts set-up for the out­door sum­mer code.

One of three tal­ented brothers, Field now be­lieves the in­door for­mat will help him hone his skills for his out­door pur­suits, es­pe­cially the re­flexes in catch­ing and the abil­ity to think in a split sec­ond to ex­e­cute front-foot shots or, as a bowler, mix up the bowl­ing tac­tics against bol­shy bats­men.

“I started open­ing bat­ting for the first time at the world cup ev­ery game when I had not opened in in­door be­fore so I’ve learned some­thing on the men­tal side of bat­ting,” says the Have­lock North CC premier team-bound crick­eter who bats in the mid­dle to late or­der in the age-group rep­re­sen­ta­tive sides.

How­ever, the bowl­ing all­rounder opened the bat­ting for the HBHS first side this year.

In the mi­nor semi­fi­nal, South Africa beat NZ A con­vinc­ingly be­fore pip­ping the Aussies off the last ball with a run-out for the grand fi­nal against New Zealand.

In the grand fi­nal, South African won the toss and elected to bowl. Field and fel­low opener Ryan James, of Can­ter­bury, put on a part­ner­ship of 28 be­fore the sec­ond pair­ing of Con­roy and fel­low Welling­to­nian Re­gan Craig added 40 runs to a to­tal of 100.

In re­ply, the tourists scored 29 from their first part­ner­ship but only scored 17 runs for their sec­ond four-over part­ner­ship.

Field, Ryan Jack­son, of Welling­ton, Jack­son Hem­ing­way, of Can­ter­bury, and Con­roy kept a tight line and length for a 26-run vic­tory.

“We won be­cause we played the best as a team and knew how to stand up to tough sit­u­a­tions,” he says, laud­ing coach Nick Ward, of Welling­ton, and man­ager War­wick Sim­mons, of Auck­land.

An “amaz­ing” Con­roy got MVP for the grade.

Field will pur­sue a de­gree, ma­jor­ing in sport, hu­man per­for­mance and sport psy­chol­ogy at Waikato Univer­sity next year af­ter win­ning the Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary Schol­ar­ship.

“It’s a pretty awe­some op­por­tu­nity so to get $10,000 a year kind of im­plies if you work hard you’ll be able to keep that be­cause you need a B+ av­er­age.”

Need­less to say, for Field that’s pretty sim­ple arith­metic and he is itch­ing to start crunch­ing the num­bers re­quired, on and off the field, to stay in the game.

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED

It’s a cup of joy for Joey Field.

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