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Hard work pays off for Rathkeale boys

John McKenzie … Led Rathkeale College First XI to maiden victory in the Umpires Cup. PHOTOS/FILE

CRICKET

ELI HILL
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After winning the Umpires Cup limited overs tournament for the first time in their history, Rathkeale College’s First XI are looking to carry their momentum into the new year with a quad series in January their main target.

Rathkeale, led by John McKenzie, beat defending champions Red Star by 82 runs at Queen Elizabeth Park on Saturday to claim the Cup.

Coach Neil Perry said on Monday the team had a strong year after going undefeated in the two- and three-day circuit for their second year running.

Neil Perry

“We were confident we could get a win. We’d played well all season and there were a few nerves about Quinn [Childs] and Ethan [Childs] not being there but we knew if we played our best we’d get there.”

The Childs are with the Central Districts Under-19s competing in the national championship in Christchurch.

Perry said school training sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as representative team training had been key to the boys’ success.

“We like to think we train harder and train more than people who have work because the boys have more free time and are together most of the time.

“Because we don’t have years of experience, or a large number of matches under our belts, we’re trying to use our strengths.”

On Monday, several of the boys from the Rathkeale team began a four-day tournament in Napier as part of the Wairarapa U-17 team, also coached by Perry.

Going forward, the Rathkeale side will begin the new year with a match against the schools’ old boys.

The side will play a three-day quad series at home against Marlborough Boys College, Nelson College and CS Hutt’s first XIs later in January.

From then on, the college will be into the two- and three-day matches.

“We just want to create lots of opportunity for the boys to get on the field, because that’s where you learn the most.”

Perry said that now the school had set a precedent, they would try to follow it up in 2019.

“Yes, we’ll aim to win, but our focus will always be aiming to work hard and to control the things we can control and trying to get better.

“Before the final match, we said to the boys, ‘No matter how long you play you never get to play enough finals in cricket so just enjoy the moment’.”

Perry said the win had been a perfect way to cap off a great season.

“We’re very happy for the way it’s gone, and it’s a good way to end for the boys [Quinn and Ethan Childs, Thomas Ralls and Jake McIntyre] who are finishing up.”

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