HB v Horowhenua-Kapiti
Nelson Park, Napier
Look close enough at the constitution of successful sportspeople and you'll find a sequence of pivotal figures who have played significant roles during crucial stages of their lives.
Quite often it starts from the preamble phase when they are young and impressionable.
Jack Arnall will be the first to admit he has a fair way to go in the game of life, but his profile is a testimony to a nurturing foundation that will see him make his debut in the higher echelons of cricket.
The teenager will step into the realm of elite provincial men's cricket when he makes his debut for the Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay senior men's team in their first 2012-13 Hawke Cup qualifying two-day game against Horowhenua-Kapiti at Nelson Park, Napier, from 10.30am today.
To fathom the ascendancy of the Heretaunga Building Society premier club bowler is to understand he's only 18 years old.
His grandfather, Anthony Jackson, of Hastings, taught him how to bowl from not long after he arrived here as a 9-year-old from Croyden, south of London, where he first played cricket.
"Granddad taught me how to hold the ball properly and things like that," Arnall says of Jackson, who ritualistically wishes him all the best before watching him play every game.
The Lindisfarne College seventh-former is a left-arm seamer who claimed five wickets in the season-opening premier club Twenty/20 tournament with his in-swingers, as well as another five in the English-style 120-over competition on Saturdays.
At high school, enter another impressionable coach, Stuart Duff, his first XI mentor for the past four years.
"Mr Duff made a real difference to my game," the youngster says of the former Central Districts cricketer who went on to become a Bay senior men's golf representative and only last month won a national amateur tournament in the Coromandel for players over the age of 35.
Over winter Arnall joined Taradale Cricket Club seamer Ben Stoyanoff (Napier Boys' High School) and Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay allrounder Angus Schaw (CHB College) to further hone his skills under Cornwall/former White Ferns World Cup-winning coach Mike Shrimpton and CD's manager of amateur cricket, Scott Briasco.
Therein lies the sequence of pivotal people crucial in moulding Arnall's budding cricket career.
Arnall played for the Havelock North Cricket Club in the previous three seasons but crossed the floor to Cornwall this summer.
"I felt I wasn't going to get any better at Havelock," the Hereworth School old boy explains, adding what swung it Cornwall's way was the Hastings club's structure, facilities and quality of Shrimpton's coaching.
The impact of the switch has been almost instantaneous.
"It's unbelievable. I didn't expect to get a call up so soon," he says after Bay senior men's coach, Lincoln Doull, included him the mix of 12 this weekend.
The Bay under-19 representative hopes to make the CD under-19 squad next month after he's got his three exam papers out of the way in a fortnight.
"My other three subjects are internals, so I have time to study and train," says Arnall, who has designs on a sports and leisure degree at Waikato University next year as well as becoming a primary teacher down the road.
This weekend, Doull sees Arnall as a lanky bloke who has edged out right-armer Ben Jackett.
"He gets guys out at the top order in premier club cricket," Doull reckons, adding Arnall's reasonable with the old ball, too, and not just a new-ball speed merchant.
"He has that extra yard and pace over Ben Jackett," he says.
The Bay, who have also won the annual 50-overs Chapple Cup tourney, which is the symbol of one-day supremacy in the CD region, will have three CD Stag squad members in their line-up.
They are ex-North Districts seamer Andrew Mathieson, left-arm orthodox spinner Ajaz Patel, of Auckland, and Complete Flooring Napier Technical Old Boys allrounder Stevie Smidt.
CD opener Jeet Raval, a former Auckland Aces player, was also in the mix but, understandably, Stags coach Alan Hunt withdrew him as a precautionary measure following knee surgery last winter and the winning Plunket Shield match against the Aces in Napier this week.
Top-order batsman Toby Doyle missed out to Cornwall opener Jayden Waters, who makes his debut, after the Taradale player didn't perform for a predominantly youthful Bay side who won their annual Kirk Cup match against Poverty Bay in a 50-over affair at Cornwall Park, Hastings, last Sunday.
That followed a shaky start to their innings that saw them sitting on 3-3 before wicketkeeper Seb Langridge found some stickability.
"It was a case of another opportunity for Toby, or giving him an opportunity, but he had not taken advantage of it, so we gave it to Jayden," Doull says, emphasising Waters had accrued two half-tons.
"Jayden's a more attacking batsman while Toby's more like Bronson, technically sound but with a slower scoring rate."
Doyle, opener Bronson Meehan, veteran James de Terte and captain Jacob Smith all failed in the top-order collapse, but Doull is happy to pursue with players of experience.
Cornwall batsman Michael Taiaroa, he says, is in good nick, too.
He had emphasised to the blokes after training on Wednesday night that club performances are taken into consideration, but experience and records for Bay senior men would take precedence.
Patel will be the Bay's No 1 spin bowler, with Schaw's right-arm tweaks a back-up option.
"We've needed someone like Ajaz in Hawke's Bay for the past few years, while Angus is the future of Bay cricket and will be playing here for the next 10 to 15 years," says Doull.
Smidt will work in tandem with fellow Tech seamer Liam Rukuwai.
Doull will play 12 players, with Arnall as his non-batter, and Waters is likely to be the the non-bowler.
Former CD representative Ewen Thompson is the player/coach for the visitors.
HB team: Angus Schaw (CHB); Jacob Smith, Michael Taiaroa, Jayden Waters, Sebastian Langridge, Jake Arnall
(all Cornwall); Andrew Mathieson (NOBM); Bronson Meehan, Liam Rukuwai, Stevie Smidt (all NTOB); James de Terte, Ajaz Patel (both Taradale).
Coach: Lincoln Doull.