Jake Jonas drives against St John’s College. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED
To say cricket is in Jake Jonas’s blood would be an understatement.
The son of hard-hitting batsman Mark, who played several games for Wairarapa in the 1990s, Jonas has been hitting cricket balls as long as he can remember.
“Back when I was three or four dad was teaching me out in the backyard, getting my technique all sound, so that’s pretty much when I can remember starting,” he said.
“As soon as I could pick up a bat, dad was firing balls down in the hallway at home, and that gave me some good reactions I think.”
All Mark’s early coaching and the subsequent refinement of his technique with Rathkeale and Wairarapa coach Neil Perry has paid off in the second part of this season, with the opening batsman racking up his fourth century this year and third for Rathkeale as they easily beat St John’s College Hastings by 177 runs in a one-day match at Rathkeale on Sunday.
Jonas’s 111 came from 107 balls and featured 15 balls and two sixes, an innings he said was not as good as his previous efforts for the school against Onslow College  and Whanganui Collegiate .
“The team [St John’s] wasn’t quite as high quality as the other couple, but I thought I gave not as many chances this time.
“I would say the one against Onslow was my best in terms of quality, but against Collegiate the bowlers were probably the best.”
Jonas scored another century playing for Wellington Wanderers against the Willows XI from Canterbury.
However, it was a match-savings innings for Highmark Homes Wairarapa against Hawke’s Bay at Nelson Park Napier where Jonas really showed his mettle.
After he was felled by a bouncer from medium-fast bowler Todd Watson on the third ball of his innings, Jonas batted throughout the entire innings of 74 overs and was unbeaten on 70, when stumps were drawn, an effort that denied Hawke’s Bay an outright victory.
“I was pretty much thinking bat as long as possible, and to be honest I didn’t think I was going to last that long but once I got through that particular fast bowler, the spin was coming on to the bat quite well, and I was pretty much just playing the line, and I think I was picking the wrong’un from [Brad] Schmulian a bit better than some of the others.”
Unlike his father, a swashbuckling left-hander who once smashed a remarkable 287 in a 40-over game, Jonas is a far more tenacious batsman, but he said he’s starting to score at a quicker rate with his growing confidence.
“For a long time, I had a bit of a fear of getting out and teaching me the correct technique had pretty much made me more of a defensive player, but now I’m scoring at a good rate, and that’s come from time and experience and knowing when to pick up the pace.”
Jonas made this season’s Central Districts Under-17 team that played in a regional tournament in Palmerston North, and his ambition now is to make the CD Under-19 squad for the 2021-22 national tournament.
In the meantime, he aims to play for Rathkeale in next season’s early inter-school fixtures, play representative cricket for Wairarapa and pad up for Red Star in the Coastal Challenge, a competition that he rates highly.
After he leaves school, university study in journalism, specialising in sport, is a possibility, but he isn’t ruling out having a crack at a professional cricketing career, and he said Wairarapa’s Central Stag medium-fast bowler Seth Rance has been a big inspiration.
“Especially how he’s flourished in the last few years, and it shows that it is possible from Wairarapa, but I don’t know, I guess I’ll see how I develop in the next couple of years, and if I can improve a lot it could be a chance.”
Now that the cricket season is over, Jonas aims to play rugby, as a first-five or halfback for the Rathkeale 2nd XV.
Also get used to seeing the Jonas name in the cricket headlines for a few years to come. Jake has two younger brothers – Sam at Rathkeale and Luke at Masterton Intermediate School, who are equally if not more talented and with the same competitive streak.
Rathkeale 302-6 [Jonas 111, Jesse McIntyre 70; Aurmaan Singh 4-44] beat St John’s College Hastings 125 [Charlie Sims 3-40, Will Summerfield 3-28] by 177 runs.