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Payne piling on the stats

Samuel Payne is all watchful on defence. PHOTOS/KYLIE EVANS

Waicol’s Payne making big waves

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Samuel Payne salutes after bringing up his century in a brilliant 155 against St Patrick’s Silverstream 2nd XI in February 2021.

Fifteen centuries, a high score of 291 not out, and a batting average approaching 90, plus a bowling average below 20, with a best of five wickets for 12 runs, including a hat-trick, sounds like the statistics for a grizzled old cricketer, with many years sweat in the hot sun behind him.

But that’s not the case. Those outstanding figures belong to 15-year-old Samuel Payne and represent his output over the past four to five seasons.

Payne’s contribution for the Wairarapa College First XI over 2020 and 2021 alone is outstanding, even more so that he has just completed Year 10.

From 23 matches, Payne, who normally bats at number four, amassed 1364 runs, with six centuries, including the 219 not out, at an average of 85.25. He also claimed 32 wickets with his lively medium pace at an average of 17.72.

Cricket came easily for Payne, when he was introduced to the game as a six-year-old by his father — Alistair Payne, Wairarapa-Bush’s leading rugby referee.

The young Payne impressed from an early age with his hand-eye co-ordination and ability to play the ball late and his accurate bowling to quickly progress through Wairarapa age group representative sides.

Payne reckons he scored his first century as a 12-year-old playing for Wairarapa against Taranaki, and has reached three figures on another 14 occasions since.

Seven of those were scored this year, with four coming from five innings in the College Sport Wellington Premier Three Championship. Although the competition is not that strong, his record of 548 runs at an average of 274 still represents an outstanding achievement.

Mark Steventon … the other half of Waicol’s deadly batting duo. PHOTO/FILE

His personal highlight was the unbeaten double century against Wellington College Black, as part of a partnership with Mark Steventon [250 retired] of 449, the third-highest in New Zealand cricket, outside of first-class cricket.

“Mark and I just get on really well, and we always bat well together,” said Payne.

“It just felt like I played the best I possibly could that game.”

Payne was hoping that his sensational form would hold him in good stead for his push to make the Central Districts Under-17 team at the regional tournament scheduled for Napier over the past week, only for all games to be cancelled because of heavy rain in Hawke’s Bay.

The tournament is likely to go ahead in late January, potentially in Wairarapa, and Payne said making the CD team remains his priority. Although there is no national tournament this season because of covid-19, Payne could potentially have two years in the team and a chance to impress at national level.

In the meantime, Payne will look to perform well for United in the Coastal Challenge, involving club teams from Wairarapa, Whanganui, and Horowhenua-Kapiti.

In his limited outings for United, Payne has a top score of 41 not out, and has enjoyed stepping up to play in the higher grade.

“Playing grown men, there’s a bit more pace and a bit more skill, it’s more challenging, and probably I find it more fun as well because of the challenge. I love being tested more.”

Longer-term, a representative career with Wairarapa looks almost a certainty, and it’s an opportunity Payne would relish.

“I’ve been going to some training sessions, and it’s a good experience facing all those good bowlers and getting among the good cricketers. There’s been a few like Jaco [Vorster] and other people who’ve helped me out.”

Once back to Waicol in February, Payne aims to have a higher profile in the First XI, with several experienced players such as Steventon, Hadley Wiramanaden, Jacob Watkins-Reid, and Felix Stephens having left school.

“I would like to be in the leadership group, one of the leaders in the team and helping out where I can and just to try and make a good friendship with all the new players coming into the team.”

Waicol will start the new year in Wellington premier two-three grading round, and Payne said they are a good chance of making the premier two competition if all the players lift their game.

As well as cricket, Payne plays rugby and hockey, the latter which he only started playing this year.

Payne’s efforts on the cricket field over the year were recognised by Waicol, being named the school’s Junior Sportsperson of the Year.

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