Joey shines indoor in pursuit of field of outdoor dreams
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.
It’s a cup of joy for Joey Field.