Cricket: Teen makes light work of England elite

By Anendra Singh

Mention Taylor and no points for guessing whose Christian name pops up in New Zealand's international cricketing circles.

But yesterday it was another Taylor - Matt - who was causing the touring English cricketers some discomfort in the nets at Nelson Park, Napier.

And wait for it ... the teenage upstart is an Englishman, too.

The 18-year-old left-arm speed merchant, who hails from the Brendon Bracewell Academy, was among a troop of bowling monkeys rolling their arms in the practice nets yesterday morning before today's second one-day international between the Black Caps and England from 2pm at McLean Park, Napier.

The Havelock North premier player did what New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum will expect from his merry men - rattle the cage of the tourists.

Taylor took the prized wickets of England skipper Alastair Cook and Jonathan Bairstow.

"Cook was out on a good length outside of offstump, edging the ball [to the slips]," Taylor said of the opening batsman who scored four runs in the first ODI which the Black Caps won by three wickets on Sunday in Hamilton.

He proceeded to rearrange the furniture of first ODI 12th man Bairstow not long after.

If anything, his stint in the nets yesterday was testimony to how much the youngster has evolved as a seamer since arriving here last October to hone his craft under former New Zealand international Bracewell in Napier.

"I've learned a lot. He [Bracewell] knows his stuff all right," he said of the father of test opener Doug Bracewell, who plays for Taradale Cricket Club and is in the Central Districts Stags side playing their last match against the Northern Districts Knights in the four-day Plunket Shield.

Taylor was intending to share the news of his spoils with his English parents, Angeline (school employee) and Kevin Taylor (roofing buisnessman), last night.

From Oxfordshire, north of London, a satisfied Taylor returns home on March 2 after playing his final premier club game for the villagers this Saturday.

Having started his season with the Complete Flooring Napier Technical Old Boys premier team, ironically Taylor found himself demoted to the senior ranks due to a glut of seamers.

Thanks to Hawke's Bay Cricket CEO Craig Findlay, with the blessing of Bracewell, Taylor crossed the floor to the villagers, where he has picked up 28 scalps to date despite missing several games.

It isn't the first time the Gloucestershire academy member has bowled to his country's elite players. Two years ago, he gave the likes of Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood a hurry up after his county side arranged a net session for England at Bristol before an ODI against the touring Sri Lankans.

"I picked up a couple of wickets then but I don't remember who they were," says Taylor, who will be supporting England in today's day-nighter.

He harbours dreams of representing his country some day and, no doubt, returning to mark his run up at the bowling crease of McLean Park will be among memorable moments.

He was disappointed to miss out on bowling to the Black Caps at the nets late yesterday afternoon.

"It would have been nice but they came too late."

For the record, he thought Bell, Joe Root and Ian Butler were in "good nick" in the nets.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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