Long wait for cricket success


Good things come to those who wait _ just ask Hamish McMurdo and the Waitaki Boys’ High School cricket team.
Milner Park was a sea of red-and-black joy on Saturday as the schoolboys celebrated a crushing win over Valley in the Borton Cup final.
It was a first North Otago senior club title for the Waitakians since 1967-68, and they capped a dominant season with a dominant performance and a score (265) that was a record in the modern era.
For coach McMurdo, who has been guiding the team’s fortunes since 2009 and is just a few weeks removed from masterminding North Otago’s Hawke Cup victory, it was an emotional moment to see his youngsters triumph.
“It feels a bit unreal. It’s quite hard to describe,” he told the Oamaru Mail this week.
“I guess it’s just a really satisfying feeling. We’re absolutely thrilled because it’s taken a lot of work to basically get from nowhere to the top.
“Personally, it’s been a tough but enjoyable journey. In 2009, we couldn’t win a free lunch. Now we’re a really dominant side.
“We nailed it on Saturday. That was our best performance of the whole season.”Waitaki Boys’ had always had talented cricketers but had possibly lacked the confidence to regularly beat senior men’s teams, McMurdo said.
Now, the players _ not only star captain Nathan Smith and token “adult” Stephan Grobler but also the other talented young cricketers _ approach every game knowing they can win.
“It’s about a bit of belief. And depth as well. “When Nathan and Stephan have been away, we’ve been able to fill spots with guys who can actually do the job.
“We’ve struggled with that in the past. Now, young guys have really stepped up because they want to play First XI cricket.”Smith, the New Zealand under-19 fast bowler who showed off his batting skills with 85 in the final, inspired his team-mates and did not over-shadow them, McMurdo said.
“He helps make them all believe that you can make it from a little region. “The boys can see they can have a good crack at it.”Waitaki, which immediately switched from club cricket to First XI cricket and beat St Kevin’s and John McGlashan to qualify for the Otago final, would lose five players next summer, McMurdo said.
One will be Smith, whose wonderful rise was marked with two North Otago awards _ cricketer of the year and junior cricketer of the year _ and selection in the Otago Volts team for his first-class debut.
Smith led all club bowlers with 30 wickets at just 7.83, adding 319 runs at 35.44.
The other major award presented on Saturday was the Alexander Keith Memorial Trophy for services to cricket, claimed by Waitaki Boys’ groundsman Kelvin McFelin.
OTHER FINALSSenior reserve: Glenavy rattled up 282 to crush Eastern by 113 runs. All-rounders Marshall Smith (century and five wickets) and Rodney van Leeuwen (76 and four wickets) starred for Glenavy.
Second grade: Valley rolled to a sixth straight title in the grade, scoring 252 and beating Union by 82 runs. Kelvin Mansfield, Dave Bond and Hamish Loe all scored half-centuries for Valley.

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