Player-coach role for Ry­der

Hawke's Bay Today - - Front page - Premier men HB club cricket

FOR­MER in­ter­na­tional Jesse Ry­der isn’t to­tally lost to cricket af­ter a failed quest to find his perch among the Black Caps again.

Ry­der, who Cen­tral Districts Stags also over­looked for do­mes­tic con­tract in the 2018-19 sum­mer, is back in the In­no­vate Elec­tri­cal Lim­ited Napier Tech­ni­cal Old Boys premier men’s club team as player/ coach.

“We just wanted some­one who had the skills and the ex­pe­ri­ence to help out the pre­miers and the divi­sion one play­ers so Jesse’s just run­ning train­ing and pro­vid­ing one-onone tech­ni­cal ad­vice dur­ing the week,” says newly ap­pointed NTOB com­mu­nity sports club man­ager of cricket and rugby Morten Freer.

Freer is also a player for the pow­er­house side who have a held a stran­gle­hold on the over­all Prop­erty Bro­kers-spon­sored Hawke’s Bay premier men’s com­pe­ti­tion which starts to­day.

Freer says the 34-year-old re­places

Dale Smidt who has stepped down as prem coach to fo­cus on his ad­min­is­tra­tive role with the Hawke’s Bay Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion.

Ry­der has sold his prop­erty in Welling­ton to re­set­tle in Napier.

The Master­ton-born crick­eter set­tled in Napier as a young­ster be­fore at­tend­ing Napier Boys’ High School.

He rose to promi­nence as a school­boy with his abil­ity to strike the ball cleanly with power and pre­ci­sion even be­fore mak­ing his de­but with NTOB who early this year were crowned the na­tional club cham­pi­ons un­der cap­tain Liam Rukuwai.

Ry­der, who played 18 tests for his coun­try and 48 one-day in­ter­na­tion­als, has scored 25 first-class cen­turies and 11 First Class cen­turies.

He made his do­mes­tic de­but with CD in 2002-03 at 18 be­fore leav­ing the province to ply his trade with the Welling­ton Fire­birds for nine sea­sons and two with the Otago Volts. Ry­der re­turned in 2015-16 and un­der the tute­lage of Stags coach Hein­rich Malan did his ut­most to claw his way back into the sta­tis­ti­cal equa­tion for an in­ter­na­tional re­call, al­though the na­tional selec­tors didn’t buy into it.

At the be­gin­ning of last sum­mer the left-han­der sat 11 runs shy of a record back-to-back four cen­turies in first-class cricket but still wasn’t able to break into the New Zealand A team, never mind the Black Caps test side.

Ry­der had had his share of run- ins with New Zealand Cricket and the writ­ing was on the wall de­spite calls from cricket scribes around the coun­try to urge for­mer Black Caps coach Mike Hes­son to throw him an­other life­line.

On the other hand, CD Cricket opted to bank on two 21-year-old all­rounders, South African-born Willem Lu­dick, of Nel­son, and Chris­tian Leop­ard, of Napier, in their 16-strong squad this sum­mer, along with Josh Clark­son, 21.

One-cap-old Lu­dick and Leop­ard proved their worth on Wednesday with some res­o­lute bat­ting in de­fend­ing cham­pion Stags’ open­ing Plun­ket Shield match end­ing against the Can­ter­bury Kings at Sax­ton Oval to­day.

“He started [play­ing for NTOB] in 2003, I think, when he left Napier Boys’ High School so he’ll prob­a­bly fin­ish there, too,” says Freer of Ry­der.

“At this stage he’s just happy to play club cricket with a good group of mates and stay out of the lime­light, mate, in try­ing to help out the club as much as pos­si­ble.”

Part of Freer’s role is to help de­velop the ju­niors in both codes in light of dwin­dling num­bers to en­sure the stocks will go through to an elite level.

“Num­bers are still very hard to come by,” he says, re­veal­ing cur­rent mem­ber­ship is steady but cer­tainly show­ing no signs of growth.

Freer puts some of it down to com­mit­ments peo­ple have to things out­side sport and life.

“There’s so much to of­fer a kid these days be­cause only 20 years ago it was prob­a­bly only rugby, cricket and soc­cer but now there are so many sports avail­able that it’s be­com­ing hard for us to hold on to the main­stream ones.”

The 30-year-old’s po­si­tion came into ex­is­tence from Septem­ber 1 af­ter club sec­re­tary Jac­qui Gar­diner and rugby coun­ter­part Steve Bryan re­tired.

“The two pres­i­dents got to­gether to de­cide it was best to go back to the one ad­min­is­tra­tor role . . . to make life a lit­tle eas­ier,” he says of cricket and rugby, who share the clu­b­rooms and fa­cil­i­ties at Whit­more Park.

Freer says Gar­diner was made the first fe­male life mem­ber of the NTOB club at its an­nual meet­ing last month.

“She was re­ally humbled to re­ceive that,” he says, laud­ing her strong per­son­al­ity over the years.

“She used to keep the boys in line and has been awe­some.”

Freer also will per­form some of the or­gan­i­sa­tional tasks Smidt used to do.

He used to run the Ac­tive In­door Sports Cen­tre at the Pan­dora in­dus­trial site which he sold in 2012.

Af­ter a two-year stint with the West­pac branch in Napier, Freer worked as com­mer­cial prop­erty man­ager in Tau­ranga for four years where he played for the Otu­moetai Cadets premier men’s side.

When wife Rochelle gave birth to baby Ida 15 months ago, the cou­ple de­cided to re­turn to Napier “be­cause you have more babysit­ters here”.

Vet­eran Bron­son Mee­han, af­ter help­ing out oc­ca­sion­ally, re­turns full­time and for­mer You Travel Taradale CC mem­ber Kieran Noema-Bar­nett is also reg­is­tered with NTOB but Freer reck­ons they’ll be lucky to have the ser­vices of the for­mer Stags skip­per who has re­turned to the CD fold af­ter the birth of a child while ply­ing his trade in Eng­land.

Noema-Bar­nett is trav­el­ling with in­terim CD coach Ben Smith, of Eng­land, who is fill­ing in while Malan is away with the NZ A side on the tour of the United Arab Emi­rates.

The prem men start with the 55-over English-style com­pe­ti­tion with all three matches at Nel­son Park, Napier, where NTOB face last sea­son’s last-placed over­all team Here­taunga Build­ing So­ci­ety Corn­wall CC.

Sec­ond-placed Have­lock North CC play fifth-placed The Sta­tion Napier Old Boys’ Marist while Ruahine Mo­tors Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay CC face Taradale in the third and fourth-placed sides.

HB Cricket chair­man Craig Find­lay says it’s a five-round com­pe­ti­tion but the MJF [Mike] Shrimp­ton Memo­rial Tro­phy one­day­ers will punc­tu­ate the longer for­mat from Satur­day next week.

“We’ll also play five 50-over matches which will dou­ble up as the New Zealand club qual­i­fiers, which have to be played be­fore Christ­mas,” Find­lay says.

Photo/Dun­can Brown

Morten Freer is the NTOB com­mu­nity sports club man­ager of cricket and rugby.

Photo/Photosport

Jesse Ry­der.

Sports Ed­i­tor

Anen­dra Singha

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