AS I SEE IT(18 March)





By Terry O’Neill.

Waitaki Boys High School First X1 and Valley will meet in tomorrow afternoon’s Borton Cup final,the major trophy for the North Otago Cricket Association which was formed in 1899. In the first season six teams,Oamaru A, Oamaru B, Tureka, Capulet, Waitaki Boys High School and a Ngapara-Maraewhewnua combined team.In the first season a series of home and away games were played to decide the initial champion. Because of a lack of grounds most games were played at Takaro Park and Tureka was the first champion.It wasn’t until the end of the second season that a trophy was presented to the winner of the senior competition. The North Otago Cricket Association however was in 1919and John Borton an Oamaru club member who donated a trophy. This trophy was referred to as,”The North Otago Cup” or “The Association Cup” but it was generally called the” NOCA Cup.”The advent of prohibition and the lack of adequate grounds saw cricket virtually defunct in 1909 and it was the opening of King George Park and the return of soldiers from World War 1 that saw senior club cricket restart.Waitaki Boys High School was the first winner of the relaunched competition and was presented with the old trophy at the end of the season.Waitaki Boys stored the Cup in the front block at the school but a major fire broke out and the trophy was lost. Frank Milner, the rector of the school presented a new cup to the association as a replacement ,the Borton Cup.

Waitaki Boys has won the senior trophy on four occasions, 1905/06, 1919/20, 1925/26(Colts), and 1967/68.

Mr Borton was a well known and successful farmer during the 1800’s.This Borton Cup was then used until 2011 before it was lost by the holders, Union.A replica of the Borton Cup now in use is engraved with the names of the winners of the senior competition since that very first season in 1899-90.

Waitaki Boys High School first won the trophy in the 1919/1920 season but it had to wait until the 1967/68 season to reclaim the trophy.If successful in the Borton Cup final tomorrow fternoon it will be only the third time that it has held the cup.

The Valley Cricket Club’s origins reach back into the early 1900s with the Waitaki Sub Association based in the Waitaki Valley which saw a population boom during the building of major dams at Waitaki, Benmore and Aviemore with clubs such as Kurow and Hydro(based in Otematata) taking part in a competition with at one stage the Kurow club taking part in Borton Cup competition in the 1930s.Such was the strength of “country” cricket that at one stage more than half of the North Otago Hawke Cup team were country members.

As the dam projects began to wind down cricket clubs began to struggle to find members.Eventually only three teams were left, Kurow, Otematata and Duntroon.These three teams decided to combine and form a new club to take part in the Oamaru competition.The team was called the Upper Waitaki Cricket Club but during the 1970s it changed its name to Country and up until the 1980s had managed to win the Borton Cup on five occasions.In 1991 it joined with the Weston Cricket Club to become part of the Valley Sports Organisation which involves other sports such as rugby and netball.

Since this amalgamation the Valley Club has won the Borton Cup on five occasions,1994/95, 1997/98, 2003/04, 2004/05, and 2006/07.



AS I SEE IT (18Dec)


NO rugby against AS

North Otago players celebrate as Bill Pile scores the game-winning try against Australia at the Oamaru Showgrounds in 1962. Photo from ODT files.

By Terry O’Neill.

This year’s North Otago’s sporting prowess is renowned despite the low population of this district . . .

Development of our swimming talent is the success story of 2015. Seventeen local swimmers under coach Narcis Gherca brought home a massive total of 45 medals, set 76 personal best times, and many qualified for the 2016 national age group championships. Take note of swimmers like Micah Hayes, Tandia Gooch, Jasmine Emery, Danny Gilbert, Iessha Mansfield, Tiana Mansfield and Imogen Keeling.

Oamaru rowing club administrator Peter Scott maintains the eighty active rowers on the water this season makes the club in the biggest in its 128th year and comprises School, Club, University and Masters rowers. Most satisfying for him is the great parent support and mingling of all local secondary schools.   At last weekend’s regatta Oamaru’s Mark Taylor, Charlie Wallis, Jared Brensell and James Scott were outstanding.

North Otago rugby’s consistency has been the key to significant performances over the last two decades. The playoff systems for initially divisional, and later the Heartland competitions, have been in existencefor nearly two decades.North Otago has made those playoffs on nineteen times since 1997 taking titles on four occasions. 2015 was no exception with Lemi Masoe and Ralph Darling again making the NZ Heartland XV.

The North Otago senior cricket side is currently only one match away from winning the zone four Hawke Cup challenge repeating last season’s effort. This season the team had two outright wins against  Otago Country and Southland. And there’s games coming up against South Canterbury (9/10 Jan) in Oamaru and Mid Canterbury(23/24 Jan) in Ashburton.

Winning the Ian Smith Trophy for only the fourth time was the feature of the North Otago mens hockey side this year. On an individual basis Logan Jopson and Jonty Naylor took a further step in their development being selected in the Southern under 18 side. On the club scene Waitaki Boys’ first X1 won the second division South Canterbury title beating Tainui B,3-0 in the final.

Valley Gold won the2015 premier grade netball title beating Waitaki Girls’ Wildfire in a thriller late in August. Wildfire led by four at the end of the first quarter, three at halftime, and two at three-quarter  time before Valley Gold stormed back to win 37-35. Jennifer O’Connell was impressive for the Waitaki Girls’. Her ability was further confirmed by her selection for the pathway to podium system developed by Netball New Zealand, one of three from the southern region, and she will play two games for the national development team in the Cook Islands this week.

Football Waitaki caters for over 480 children including teams from Twizel and Omarama. In competition, St Kevin’s U/18 finished second, Waitaki Boys’ U/16, second and Meadowbank U/14s finished fourth. Young players coming through the ranks and heading for senior ranks are Caleb Roberts, Riku Koyama and Tom Prestidge.

The highlight of the basketball season was the performance of the North Otago U/15 team which qualified for the nationals beating Otago in the process. Individually Harry Thorp and Tom Crutchley from Waitaki Boys’ are in Las Vegas with the Mainland Eagles Academy team while Matt Brien of St Kevin’s made the National Secondary Schools A tournament team.


AS I SEE IT (11 Dec)

udrs snicko

By Terry O’Neill.

West Indian quick ,Joel Garner, calls it a “gimmick”. Former umpire Dickie Bird believes it undermines the authority of the onfield umpire. Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal thinks that it exaggerates the ball deviation while the Indian Cricket Board suggests that it is not accurate.

They are referring to the UDRS or the Umpires Decision Review System which came under intense scrutiny after the antics of Nigel Llong in the Adelaide test between Australia and New Zealand a  fortnight ago when he allowed  Australian batsman Nathan Lyon to continue batting after being obviously caught behind.

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell believes that the captains referrals need modernising as well.

Instead of limiting the number of referrals and leaving them in the hands of the players, the use of referrals should be at the discretion of the umpires.

The ICC showed some teeth finally when ,after the game, it announced that Llong’s decision had been wrong. But too little too late for New Zealand.

The  UDRS was first tested in an India/Sri Lankla match in 2008 and was officially introduced on 24th November, 2009 at the Back Caps/Pakistan test at the University Oval in Dunedin.It was first used in an ODI in January 2011 on England’s tour of Australia. Initially its use was mandatory, but later optional if both teams agreed.

There are three components in the UDRS,Hawkeye, Eagle Eye and Virtual Eye.The Virtual Eye technology plots the trajectory of the bowled ball, that has been interrupted by  the batsman often by the pad and can determine whether the ball would have hit the wicket or not.

The Hot Spot is an infra- red imaging system that illustrates where the ball has been in contact with the bat or the pad. The Snickometer relies on directional microphones to detect small sounds made as the ball hits the bat or pad.It has a success rate of 90-95%.

A fielding team may use the system to dispute a “not out” decision. A batting team can dispute an “out” decision.On field umpires can ask the third umpire for certain close calls(run outs/stumpings), boundary calls and close catch calls.

Under the UDRS only incorrect decisions are reversed. The analysis of the third umpire is within established margins of error or if it is inconclusive the field umpires original decision stands.

When an lbw decision is evaluated and if the the replay demonstrates that the ball has made an impact more than 2.5 metres away from the wickets and travels less than 40 cm before hitting the batsman then any not out decision given by the field umpire stands.

The only time an lbw decision will be reversed in favour of the bowler is if the batsman is 2.5-3.5 metres  away from the wicket and the ball travels more than 40cm after pitching before hitting the batsman.Some part of the ball must be hitting the middle stump and the whole ball must be hitting the wickets below the bails. If not the call stands. Sounds easy?

AS I SEE IT (27 Nov)


WBHS NO v WI 1955

Unfortunately over the years soil erosion has seen the backfield cricket ground slowly disappear, with cricket at the school now being played on Milner Park and Don Field. (c)

By Terry O’Neill.

Waitaki Boy’s High School’s back field was an early venue for North Otago representative cricket and groundsman, the late Stan Bremner, produced a playing surface renowned throughout New Zealand.

A 1924 North Otago adversary was the touring New South Wales side brimming with talent. It included players of the ilk of Arthur Mailey with his reputation from the 1921 Australian tour of England where he took 141 wickets, and against Gloucestershire, 10 for 66; and fine batsman Allan Kippax, who by the 1936 season, had scored 12,762 runs at an average of 50.

North Otago batting first made 216 with Percy Hargreaves (54) and Bill Uttley (48) the best of the batsmen while Mailey took six for 89. New South Wales with the bat replied with 493 for five for a first innings win; North Otago, in its second innings, made 111 for nine.Included in the North Otago side was a 17-year-old Waitakian Denis Blundell.

Nineteen twenty eight saw North Otago lined up against a full Australian side with players like Kippax, Bill Ponsford and Ron Oxenham. North Otago batting first made 118 and Australia replied with 448 with Oxenham (169) and Kippax (76). At stumps on the final day North Otago was 268 for six with Carl Zimmerman on 117 not out (including five sixes and fifteen fours), and he brought up his century against Australia in only 46 minutes. Zimmerman also played for Otago.

The 1956 North Otago team faced the touring West Indies with players like Garfield Sobers, John Goddard, Alf Valentine and Bruce Pairiaudeau. North Otago made 108 in its first innings with best batsmen Dave Malloch (36), John Reid (28) and Harold Balk (24) while Tom Dewdney took seven for 35. West Indies replied with 282 scored in 162 minutes with Ron Hannam, the pick of local bowlers, taking four for 57 including the wickets of Pairiaudeau, Anthony Atkins, “Collie” Smith and Sobers as well as running out one of the other batsmen. The West Indies team had nine test players, and in this series New Zealand registered its first win in a test match .West Indies obviously was softened up by North Otago!

In 1968 the touring Fijian side played North Otago. Fiji batting first made 311 with Tony Cartwright taking four for 32. North Otago in reply made 261 for nine declared with Brian Papps unbeaten on 136. Harry Apted led the way in Fiji’s second innings of 190 for seven with 96 not out, Russell Payne taking four for 67. North Otago in its second innings made 174 for five. Keith Murray top-scored with 38. One of the highlights of North Otago’s innings was Papps and Bob Mason scoring 68 runs in the 15 minutes before lunch.



NOCA nov 15

By Terry O’Neill.

North Otago’s first Hawke Cup qualifying game is against Otago Country in Alexandra next weekend after winning warmup matches against Mid Canterbury and South Canterbury on the home ground.

We proudly claim All Blacks Ian Hurst, Phil Gard and Ian (Spooky) Smith, yet over more than a century many North Otago cricketers represented Otago and New Zealand.

In 1886/87 Arthur Fisher (one of a long line-up of Waitakians), in his first year participated in the initial interschool match. This multi-talented sportsman was not only in the Waitaki 1st X1, but was also 1887 Athletic Champion, the 1903 Otago Golf Champion, in 1904 he won New Zealand Golf Open. Fisher played five matches for New Zealand cricket and was in the first New Zealand representative side to tour overseas, to Australia in 1899. His Otago first class bowling record, taking nine for 50 against Queensland in 1897, still stands.

In the 1950s New Zealand cricket captain John Reid came to Oamaru as an oil company representative and joined the Oamaru club. Besides bringing considerable prestige and encouragement to North Otago’s cricketing fraternity, Reid was a major influence in securing the 1956 match for North Otago against the touring West Indies.

New Zealand representative Zinzan Harris (1955/65) while in the Waitaki First X1 played once for North Otago, and his cricketing sons Chris (Canterbury, New Zealand) and Ben (Waitaki First XI, Canterbury, Otago).

Let’s digress. Zinzan: distinctive surname of immigrants to New Zealand from England, implying a link to the Brooke family. All Black Zinzan Brooke, originally Murray Zinzan Brooke, changed his name to Zinzan Valentine Brooke.

Christchurch’s loss was North Otago’s significant gain in David Sewell who graduated through age groups and Waitaki First XI to play for North Otago 1994 – 2015. After selection for Otago 1995-96, he toured Zimbabwe with the 1997 New Zealand side after a successful under 19 tournament. David retired from first class cricket after playing 67 matches and taking 218 wickets.

Other notables to represent North Otago (NO dates played in brackets): Dennis Blundell (1923-24) later Governor-General of New Zealand, Mike Hesson (1999) currently coach of the Black Caps, Fred Jones (1902/33) – generally one of the finest at the code. Also for Otago: Carl Zimmerman (1921-37), Arthur Berry (1948-70), Merv Sandri (1949-75), Ivan Geddes (1949-75), Tony Cartwright (1959-76), Norm McKenzie (1962-90), Bob Wilson (1968-87), Warren McSkimming (1997) and Craig Smith (2001-09). And from the 1874 records, L E Reade and a Mr Lynch.

A special mention of current North Otago player/selector Duncan Drew(1994-2015) who jousted with Brendan McCullum for the Otago wicket keeping berth.

And from the St Kevin’s First XI of the 1990s, Paula Flannery advanced with flair to play for women’s Otago, Canterbury, one test and 17 one day internationals over a decade, and played in the triumphant team for 2000 World Cup to achieve the White Ferns’s first title.


AS I SEE IT (13 Nov) wc 457

By Terry O’Neill.

Australian opening batsman David Warner joined illustrious pair, Rick Ponting (Australia) and Sunil Gavaskar (India), by scoring back-to-back centuries in three tests after his performance against New Zealand at the Gabba in Brisbane.

Not bad for this young cricketer who as a 13 year-old youngster was switched to bat right-handed by his coach. But only until Warner’s mother returned the youngster to his original left handed style because it wasn’t working. Results confirm her expert perception.

Warner, upon selection to play for Australia, became the first Australian in 132 years to play for a national cricket team, of any form, without experience in first class cricket. And this Paddington boy never looked back. He earned his first test century against the Black Caps in Hobart though it wasn’t enough to arrest the Black Caps win. On August 2 again against New Zealand, in Warner’s unbeaten 123 in the Australian innings of 233 he became the sixth person to carry his bat through the fourth innings of a test match.

Warner’s batting always seems aggressive. And in 2012 his 69 ball century against India in Perth equalled West Indian Shavnarine Chanderpaul’s record for the fourth fastest test century of all times in terms of balls faced. Warner’s two centuries against the Black Caps lifted his test average to 50, on a par with Matthew Hayden (50.73), and better than the career marks of Justin Langer (48.22), Bill Lawry(42.83), Mark Taylor(43.49) and Michael Slater(42.83), all Australians. His 3900 test runs bring him close to becoming the sixth Australian opener to join the elite 4000 run club. Warner has 14 test centuries more than the combined total fellow Australians David Boon(8) and Geoff Marsh(4) managed in the “baggy green”.

Warner’s earlier batting career may be impetuous, but of late, the “molly digger” the term for a left-hander in Australia, illustrates increased discipline and control and has given away a shot which was described as a “halfie’, a half pull and a half a leg side push shot, which too often brought about his downfall.

And what other record challenges does this aggressive Australian opener face? Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq holds one with the fastest test half century from just 21 balls, and West Indies batsman Viv Richards for the fastest test century from just 56 balls.

Many Black Caps supporters worried early in the first test about an innings plus defeat but Steve Smith took that out of the equation. New Zealand’s biggest ever defeat was at the hands of Pakistan when it lost by an innings and 324 runs in 2002. Pakistan made 643 and the Black Caps replied with 73 and 246 in Lahore which places the Kiwis fifth on the greatest loss margins.