This is the final report for our Hillview-Opawa Year 7 and 8 cricket team. It proved a beautiful morning for a game of cricket. We delayed the start by 15 mins until 9.45am because of the heavy dew. Hillview won the toss and chose to field as the co-captains decided they wanted to put Heaton under a bit of pressure. Very quickly they were 10 for 2 and Hillview were right on top. At drinks, after 10 overs, they had moved through to 39 for 2. Hillview continued to bowl well and when Renzo took an excellent catch to dismiss one of their top batsman it appeared we may restrict them to around the 90 mark. Sadly the fielding fell away a bit in the last four overs with a couple of dropped catches, albeit hard ones, and a few fumbles which gave away easy runs that we didn’t want to have. They ended up at 111 for 3 after they had batted their twenty overs. To be only chasing 111 seemed too good to be true. I had expected they would score 140 plus. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy though as they have an excellent bowling attack – three of the fastest bowlers around and two very good spin bowlers.
We made a slow but safe start and with two balls to drinks we were 39 without loss but Riley, after a very good innings, was clean bowled so we weren’t quite so buoyant as we might have been. Paul came to the wicket and immediately started running short singles and both he and Will continued to put away the loose balls just as Riley had done so well in the first half of the innings. At the end of 14 overs they had moved the score through to 70 for one. At this stage we were right on top and they were struggling in the field. If Will and Paul had continued to bat the scoring of 41 runs off the last six overs would have been a relatively straightforward task. Sadly Paul lost his wicket at 70 and when Will was bowled with the score on 78 the task had become much more difficult. For a brief time it looked like Paul and Mona might get us back in the game but that wasn’t to be and after a brief flurry from Josh and some good running between the wicket from Renzo we ended up at 90 for 9 at the end of the 20 overs.
The boys have worked so hard and to run a team like Heaton so close was an outstanding achievement. While disappointed, we can look back at a job well done. The boys now know that in life anything is possible. On the way out to the game I said to the boys that the difference between a very good sportsperson and a great sportsperson is that a very good one performs excellently against weaker opposition but the great one achieves when the challenge is the hardest. We didn’t achieve greatness this time but hopefully the boys will learn from the experience and maybe next time when they have their backs to the wall they will come through triumphantly.
A huge thank you to our parents who have ensured the boys have attended the practices. Altogether we have had in excess of ten practices for our three games. I have enjoyed working with the boys and my reward is seeing the improvements that have been made. The coach of Heaton is an ex Canterbury player, Brendon Donkers. I selected Brendon in primary school representative teams in North Canterbury more than 20 years ago. Brendon said to me after the match that he was most impressed with the performance of our team and passed on to me that our first four batters have very bright futures in the game. He then asked me if Will is my son. So this is a very happy 40 year old signing off!