High five for young hat trick hero

By ANENDRA SINGH sports editor


Riverbend Cricket Camp

Hawke's Bay

LET it be known that Luke Gichard bowls but he doesn't fancy it as much as he digs batting.

Also, at the risk of sounding like the 12-year-old knows it all, he is predominantly equipped with self-taught cricketing skills.

Which all goes to beg the question: "How does he do it?"

Gichard, a St Patrick's School pupil, last Sunday claimed a five-wicket bag, including a maiden career hattrick, for his Napier Technical Old Boys (NTOB) under-12 team in their annual Riverbend Cricket Club campaign in Hawke's Bay.

The right-arm offspinner, who has been playing the game for four years, took 5-15 from four overs although NTOB lost by 40 runs to Porirua, of Wellington, at Nelson Park, Napier.

His hattrick came in the third over from the first three balls.

"I got my other two wickets from the last two balls of the next over," said the youngster who got into cricket because he wanted to hang out with other mates already playing the game.

"I used to be a medium pacer but then I went to offspin."

His switch in the style of bowling is even more intriguing and a credit to NTOB captain/wicketkeeper Kurtis Weeks.

"Kurtis said to me one day to try offspin so I changed and bowled well," said Gichard who picked up the MVP award at the camp on Sunday night.

Needless to say, coach Todd Donaldson and parents Angela and Brad Gichard were chuffed with the offspinner's turn of arm.

Batting at No 4 or 5, Gichard reckons he's more of a batsman who can bowl although "I play like an allrounder".

His highest score at the camp so far is 43 after NTOB registered a two-wicket victory over Onslow (Wellington) at Marewa Park, Napier, on Monday.

On Tuesday, they were engaged in "The Battle of Central Districts" against Taranaki.

Legspinner Reilly Hannan was the pick of the bowlers with 6-30 from five overs in their one-wicket win.

Weeks has also led by example at the camp with two half tons and a 45 as well as six stumpings and three catches.

Said Donaldson of Gichard: "He's a good team man and an all-round player."

When told of Gichard's bias towards batting, a laughing coach replied: "When he's having an off day, Luke can be either or, depending on how good or bad he is."

NTOB also had a win against Upper Hutt but lost to Tawa on Monday before pipping Johnsonville (Wellington) yesterday with a last-over victory to end their campaign on a high note.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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