You often hear the phrase “future Black Cap” being dished out liberally at a cricket game.
There could well have been a couple on display at the opening round of North Otago club cricket on Saturday.
It was just a day of T20 hit-and-run, part of the holiday competition, but there may not be a stronger collection of cricketers on a field in Oamaru this summer.
Albion had the services of Otago Volts star Nathan Smith and hulking import Jordan Cafferkey; Valley fielded North Otago ace Francois Mostert and schoolboy sensation Llew Johnson; Oamaru gave a debut to new player-coach Ash Abrahams and welcomed back the multi-talented James Ferris; and Union had second-year Englishman Sam Bastin and two players, Scott Kitto and Blake James, from the Otago under-19 training squad.
And the star power on display produced some outstanding performances on artificial decks at Don Field.
Johnson, on holiday from St Andrew’s College, whacked 101 off 40-odd deliveries to power Valley to a four-wicket win over Albion.
Rhys Petrie added 53 as Valley chased down an imposing target of 185 with five balls to spare.
Cafferkey (76) and Smith (52) had earlier combined for a 97-run partnership to guide Albion to 184 for six off 20 overs. Reuben Simpson led the Valley attack with three for 37.
Valley made it a double for the day with a seven-wicket win over Oamaru.
Simpson grabbed a second three-wicket bag and Toby Johnson chipped in a brace as Oamaru was held to 106 for eight. Mostert (58) and Petrie (26) then did the job with the bat for Valley.
Ferris had powered Oamaru to a nine-wicket shellacking of Union in the opening game.
The Christchurch-based all-rounder took three wickets for just one run as Union was rolled for 85, and smashed an unbeaten 66 as Oamaru reached the target in quick time.
Brad Kernahan produced a rare five-wicket bag in T20 cricket to lead Albion to a 58-run win over Union.
Kernahan took five for 22 as Union was blasted out for 112.
Smith, likely playing his only game in Oamaru before the Volts season cranks into gear, and Jonty Naylor had earlier combined for a century partnership, both passing 50 as Albion posted 170 for seven.