Hutt Valley High School will meet defending champions Scots College in the final of the CricHQ Premier Youth Grade on Sunday.
HVHS booked their place in the final with a win away to third placed Wellington College. Set 213 to win, HVHS achieved the target with 5 wickets and 2 overs to spare. The loss sees Wellington College’s winless spell in major 1st XI competitions stretch to five years.
The key to HVHS’ win was an unbroken 6th wicket partnership of 111 between Matthew Pike (59*) and Mitchell Blucher (42*). HVHS coach Angus Devine pointed to this partnership as an example of how his team doesn’t just rely on one player for its success. “We haven’t had to rely on one or two players. Each week players have stepped up and contributed for us. I think the reason we have made the final is our all round ability.”
Scots coach Christie van Dyk pinpoints Sushant Balajee and Blucher as the major obstacles to Scots defending their title. “They are important players for HVHS. Both players can turn a game with bat and ball.”
Sunday's match will be the first big game of an important 10 day stretch for HVHS. As Wellington Region Gillette Cup winners, they will travel to Lincoln to compete in The National Finals starting on Friday 7 December. Devine feels that playing two tough games in a row against Wellington College and Scots will only help his teams’ preparations for that tournament. “Both Wellington College and Scots are quality cricket teams. Playing two games against these teams before we head to the Gillette Cup will give us a really good idea of where we are as a team.”
With regard to the game this Sunday, Devine is wary of the form of the Scots top order. “Scots have scored runs at the top of the innings all year. Toby Barton and Josh Lawrence in particular have been very good. We will have to bowl very well to them.”
Van Dyk feels the key to his top order’s success is familiarity with their roles. “Our batsmen have been able to score runs consistently this season. Batting in partnerships and knowing your role has been a key for our batters.”
Whilst Scots are defending champions, 2012 hasn’t always gone smoothly. Sitting third at the end of term 1, Scots also endured a terrible Gillette Cup campaign, losing two of three matches. “We were disappointed to perform poorly at The Gillette Cup. We were able to use that as motivation for the rest of our season though. We felt we were a better team than what we showed at that tournament, and as winners of the Premier Youth Grade last season, we wanted to use this competition to show what we could do.”
Sunday's match will be played at The Petone Recreation Ground. Start time is 11am.
Scots College: Toby Barton ©, Patrick Gluck, Josh Lawrence, Andrew Graham, Chander Ravi, Jason Hodge, Tim Rowe, Scott Oldham, James Costello-Ladanyi, Douglas Beattie, Jordan-Glen Bradbrook.
Coach: Christie van Dyk
Manager: Shayne Hodge
HVHS: Sushant Balajee ©, Jarrod Pike, Daniel Myers, Myles Price Moor, Nishant Desai, Matthew Pike, Mitchell Blucher, Rawiri Kapea, Matt Girvan, Declan Slater, Steven Carter, Daniel Binns.
Coach: Angus Devine