HOWZAT!

New spon­sor gets rep sea­son off to a flier

Whanganui Chronicle - - Front Page - Cricket Jared Smith

It will be the youngest Air Chathams Cricket Wan­ganui men’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive team in terms of the av­er­age age in sev­eral sea­sons when cap­tain-coach Char­lie Hart­ley leads his team on to the field in Napier to­day.

More than half the play­ing 12 cho­sen have yet to see their 20th birth­day ahead of the open­ing Fur­long Cup game against Pay Ex­cel­lence Hawke’s Bay, er­ro­neously but per­haps not in­ac­cu­rately called “Par Ex­cel­lence” in the Cricket Wan­ganui press re­lease — given how the Napier­based team tra­di­tion­ally dom­i­nates mi­nor as­so­ci­a­tion cricket.

Cou­pled with this is the chang­ing of the guard at the top with for­mer cap­tain Si­mon Badger and all­rounder Ross Kin­ner­ley now the en­tirety of the vet­er­ans group, with Greg Smith hav­ing gone home to Eng­land, bats­man Mark Fraser un­avail­able, Do­minic Rayner still mak­ing his way back from North

Amer­ica and Craig Clare only just hav­ing fin­ished his rugby sea­son.

Mak­ing their de­but will be Col­le­giate play­ers Sam Sher­riff and Joel Clark, with Sher­riff hav­ing had a taste of higher hon­ours as part of the Cen­tral Dis­tricts Un­der-17 squad.

Their school­mate, Ben Kelt, made his de­but for Wan­ganui in the last Fur­long Cup match of the 2017-18 sea­son against Wairarapa in Master­ton, from which there are only three sur­vivors in him­self, Kin­ner­ley and top-or­der bats­man

Thomas Wal­she, given Badger missed the game to at­tend a wed­ding, one of sev­eral di­vert­ing nup­tials last sum­mer.

But per­haps the clear­ing of the decks will be good for Hart­ley, who looked to im­pose his phi­los­o­phy on the pre­dom­i­nantly young group dur­ing the two in­door ses­sions and three out­door ses­sions in which he has had them.

It has not been ideal buildup in terms of pitch time, given club cricket and a sched­uled prac­tice game with Welling­ton A were rained out over the last two week­ends, with the ex­cep­tion of the three Wat­sons Tech play­ers in Kin­ner­ley, Do­minic Lock and Akash Gill, now free of any over­seas el­i­gi­bil­ity is­sue, get­ting a rain-short­ened match in Master­ton last Satur­day.

But when some play­ers showed up five min­utes af­ter his dead­line for the first train­ing ses­sion, Hart­ley promptly sent them off on “sui­cide runs” and other hard car­dio work­outs.

“The next ses­sion, they were on time,” he said. “The train­ing’s been good, I’ve tried to put more of a pro­fes­sional as­pect into it.

“It’s not just laugh­ing about. It’s not club cricket.

“I’ve been brought over here to do a job and that’s to pro­vide as much of a pro­fes­sional cul­ture as I can.”

Re­gard­ing the ab­sence of play­ers in their 30s, Hart­ley draws on his ex­pe­ri­ence of the game in Eng­land to point out that some­times a “large age range” can be detri­men­tal, as the young­sters have to do what is dic­tated to them by a small group of much older se­niors, who may not have the team’s best in­ter­ests at heart.

The coach has also got the team to un­der­score their com­mit­ments, lit­er­ally, in the form of spread­sheets where they have in­di­cated they are avail­able on the week­ends of rep­re­sen­ta­tive fix­tures.

Pro­fes­sional Ben Smith, away on Cen­tral Dis­tricts Stags du­ties, is the only ex­cep­tion.

Wan­ganui rep men

■ The team is: Sam Sher­riff (WCS); Thomas Wal­she (Marist); Do­minic Lock (The Wat­sons Tech); Char­lie Hart­ley (cap­tain); Akash Gill (The Wat­sons Tech); Si­mon Badger (Prop­erty Bro­kers United); Ross Kin­ner­ley (The Wat­sons Tech); Ben Kelt (WCS); John McIl­raith (Marist); Chris Shar­rock (Prop­erty Bro­kers United); An­gus Din­wid­die (Marist); Joel Clark (WCS).

Hart­ley even had to ne­go­ti­ate Sher­riff’s de­but as it ap­peared ini­tially that he would be re­quired for a prize­giv­ing at Col­le­giate.

It’s all part of the English­man’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to ad­dress “lack of clar­ity when it came to at­tend­ing games”, one of the Achilles heels last sum­mer.

“Whether it was wed­dings or what­ever, it’s not go­ing to be like that with me around, you ei­ther com­mit or you don’t,” he said. “I’ve been im­pressed with Sam Sher­riff’s at­ti­tudes and his tak­ing to the squad.”

Clark is in the same boat.

“I think he’s got skills, he’s got a lovely [bowl­ing] ac­tion,” said Hart­ley.

“He’s got good tem­per­a­ment and as a spin­ner you have to be.

“He’s ei­ther go­ing to do well or learn.” Matt Simes has re­turned from uni­ver­sity to join the train­ing group and is only un­avail­able for this week­end, while Hart­ley has no in­for­ma­tion on the likes of Matthew Boswell or Ryan Slight.

Un­der coach Dave Cas­tle, Hawke’s Bay did get in some rep­re­sen­ta­tive cricket last week­end, ham­mer­ing Manawatu by 105 runs in a 50-over match at Nel­son Park.

Todd Wat­son top-scored with 53 runs as the hosts posted 234-8, while his Napier Tech­ni­cal club­mate Matt Ed­mond­son made 43.

Cap­tained by the ex­pe­ri­enced Ja­cob Smith, the bowl­ing group then did their work with spin­ners Jay­den Len­nox and An­gus Schaw per­form­ing well, as did pace bowler Liam Dud­ding.

Hawke's Bay will be ea­ger to re­gain the Fur­long Cup af­ter slip­ping up in their fi­nal game with Manawatu last sea­son, los­ing first-in­nings points which, when cou­pled with the new bonus-points sys­tem, meant Taranaki were able to slip past them, de­spite hav­ing been beaten by Hawke’s Bay on first in­nings ear­lier in the sum­mer.

None­the­less, Hart­ley has faith that his men can com­pete.

“I’m not both­ered at all, un­less they turn up with Trent Boult, Ross Tay­lor or Tom Latham or some­thing like that, who are they go­ing to turn up with? [Just] good club crick­eters.”

“We’re go­ing to break it down into ses­sions, six of them, the aim is to win three of them.

“We just have to get in and get out of each ses­sion.”

Team man­ager this sum­mer is An­drew Lock, who pre­vi­ously held the role in the 2012-13 sum­mer, and made a suc­cess­ful ap­pli­ca­tion again on the back of his man­ag­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for the Namibia and Sri Lanka teams on their tours to New Zealand.

Play starts to­day at 10.30am.

PHOTO / FILE

Si­mon Badger man­aged to bat out the Sun­day af­ter­noon to sal­vage a draw with a first in­nings points loss to Hawke’s Bay at Vic­to­ria Park last sum­mer. The rel­a­tively young Wan­ganui team will be up against it in Napier to­day.

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED

Air Chathams’ grow­ing in­flu­ence on lo­cal sport con­tin­ues to bear fruit as the air­line has been an­nounced as the new spon­sor for the Wan­ganui rep­re­sen­ta­tive cricket team for the 2018-19 sea­son, with an an­nual re­new­able op­tion. Cricket Wan­ganui gen­eral man­ager Di­lan Raj said while the air­line had al­ready spon­sored flights and sup­ports the Wan­ganui Rugby Foot­ball Union, this is the first time in 30 years they have got in be­hind a cricket team. “We be­lieve that sport pro­vides a way for so­cial, phys­i­cal and health ben­e­fits to our pop­u­la­tion,” said Raj. “Our crick­et­ing com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pates in var­i­ous cricket pro­grammes from five years to 50 years of age.” The Air Chathams Wan­ganui team plays their first match to­day, against Hawke’s Bay in Napier.

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