Ar­nel pulls plug on il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer

Waipa Post - - The Country -

BY COLIN THORSEN AND AN­DREA FRIAR

Pace bowler Brent Ar­nel has an­nounced his de­par­ture from North­ern District’s first class cricket team af­ter an il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer.

The former teacher at Te Awa­mutu Col­lege is cur­rently ex­plor­ing his op­tions, with coach­ing at front of mind hav­ing been part of the coach­ing team for Cricket Welling­ton to which he trans­ferred in 2013.

Al­though he had played for a North­ern Dis­tricts pri­mary school rep team, Ar­nel was a late de­vel­oper — he did not gain se­lec­tion in any other North­ern Dis­tricts age group teams.

A prod­uct of Coun­ties Manukau, he emerged on the North­ern Dis­tricts’ scene af­ter strong per­for­mances for that district as­so­ci­a­tion at se­nior rep­re­sen­ta­tive level.

In 2001 he was se­lected in the North­ern Dis­tricts squad and de­buted in the Max Cricket com­pe­ti­tion, the pre­de­ces­sor of to­day’s T20 for­mat.

He starred in the Max Cricket game be­tween the North­ern Knights and Auck­land Aces held at Te Awa­mutu Col­lege.

It was a fam­ily re­u­nion for Ar­nel. Watch­ing the game was his ma­ter­nal grand­mother Jean Ped­er­sen and her hus­band Ge­orge of Te Awa­mutu who have since passed away.

Ar­nel was the Knights’ most suc­cess­ful bowler, claim­ing four wick­ets, in­clud­ing fig­ures of 3-9 in the first in­nings.

His fa­ther, Robert, played cricket for St Pat’s in the mid1980s and owned a shoe shop in Te Awa­mutu.

Ar­nel was then se­lected to at­tend the New Zealand Acad­emy, a live in pro­gramme for po­ten­tial Black Caps based at the NZ Cricket High Per­for­mance Cen­tre at Lin­coln Uni­ver­sity. Un­for­tu­nately his time in that pro­gramme saw him suf­fer se­ri­ous stress frac­ture in­juries that could have cur­tailed his ca­reer. Show­ing great re­solve, he played the fol­low­ing sea­sons as a bats­man only in Hamil­ton club cricket, re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing so he could make a re­turn to top level.

He made his first class de­but for North­ern Dis­tricts in 2006 aged 27. He quickly showed his tal­ent and in 2007/08 took the most wick­ets in the Plun­ket Shield (33).

His con­sis­tency caught the eye of Black Caps se­lec­tors and he was se­lected for six tests for New Zealand, his first against Aus­tralia in 2010.

Named the Player of the Year for ND for the 2011/12 and 2012/13 sea­sons, Ar­nel’s im­pact is shown in his im­pres­sive NZ do­mes­tic wicket haul of 567 across the three for­mats, in­clud­ing 15 five wicket bags.

Ar­nel re­turned to his home team last sea­son and Peter Zan­zot­tera, ND’s di­rec­tor of high per­for­mance pro­grammes, ac­knowl­edges the con­tri­bu­tion Ar­nel brought over his ca­reer.

“Brent leaves the play­ing arena as one of North­ern Dis­tricts’ best and most con­sis­tent per­form­ers. We were pleased to be able to bring him back last sea­son to where it all be­gan and, as usual, his con­tri­bu­tions on and off the park in 2017/18 were ex­cel­lent. We thank him for his many years of ser­vice and wish Brent, Jenna and fam­ily all the very best for life af­ter cricket.”

Look­ing back on his jour­ney, Ar­nel ac­knowl­edges those who played a part in his cricket ca­reer by say­ing: “Af­ter a ful­fill­ing ca­reer I have de­cided it is time to hang up my boots. There are many in­di­vid­u­als along the way who guided, sup­ported and en­cour­aged me through my ac­com­plish­ments.

To you I owe a debt of thanks. Thank you to all the coaches and top men I played along­side. I am very proud to have rep­re­sented my coun­try and was for­tu­nate to play with and against the best play­ers this coun­try has on of­fer and around the world.

“A spe­cial men­tion goes to my wife Jenna and our two young kids, Zavier and Avery, whose sup­port and un­der­stand­ing means so much to me.

“Thank you to Cricket Welling­ton for the op­por­tu­nity to spark my coach­ing pas­sion while still play­ing.

“A huge thanks goes to North­ern Dis­tricts Cricket for al­low­ing me the priv­i­lege of fin­ish­ing my play­ing ca­reer where it all be­gan and where I learnt so much about the game I love. Cricket has given me so much and my hope is to be able to give back to the game in other ar­eas.”

New Zealand’s Brent Ar­nel cel­e­brates the wicket lbw of Aus­tralia’s Simon Katch for 79 on the first day of the first In­ter­na­tional cricket test, Basin Re­serve, Welling­ton, on Fri­day, March 19, 2010.

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