Young guns resurrect Tech

By Jared Smith, jared.smith@wanganuichronicle.co.nz


What started as a simple conversation between young men sitting at New Plymouth's Pukekura Park has led to the resurrection of a club side with the strike power to shake up Wanganui cricket.

The start of the new-look Premier League tomorrow will see the first challenge to the established order as multiple one-day champions United will take on the fresh-faced St John's Tech Cricket Club's Premier 1 squad.

While already having to deal with players away on Central District's duty, at full strength this Tech team will consist of no less than seven of the younger members of Wanganui's senior representative squad.

Tech will also have incredible depth because as well as their original Premier 2 squad, the club can call on youngsters from Wanganui High School's two XI's, with the first team dropping back to P2 to act as a feeder team.

The agreement came about after several key players selected in the Young Wanganui XI vs Young Taranaki XI match in early December discussed wanting to stay together as a core group while they were in New Plymouth.

New Tech men Dominic Lock, Trent Hemi, Kane Watkin, Nick Blundell and Henry Collier were in that squad, while Travis Bartels would have been selected had he not been in England.

Hearing their intent, Tech spokesman Simon Aitken said from there Tech had "about two weeks" to put the arrangement together.

"It's a great opportunity. We came back [to Wanganui cricket] and had high hopes for the club, but struggled when the senior guys went overseas.

"Certainly we didn't have a team look like that."

Tech's story is well documented, established in 1928, the plug was pulled about 13 years ago due to lack of numbers.

Three years ago the last of the Tech players from that era resurrected the club in alliance with St John's to create a Premier 2 team.

Club captain Jack Judd said when the word was out Wanganui's young guns wanted to play together, Tech was ideally positioned because they offered "culture and atmosphere" with "not a lot of hierarchy".

Their parent, the St John's Club, had also been awesome offering up an upstairs clubrooms for the guys, Judd said.

He added that in accordance with Cricket Wanganui administrator Dilan Raj's wishes, Tech's veterans can also now establish coaching and mentoring programmes for the younger players in Premier 2 and those coming through the youth grades.

Aitken said Tech was not exclusively locked in to just using WHS players as the current P1 crop consists of players from there as well as Collegiate and two coming back from overseas.

For young guys coming into the Tech mix, WHS and Wanganui senior manager Andrew Lock will be responsible for their development.

"We as a committee are very keen to create a supportive structure to make this exciting opportunity a success," Aitken said. "I believe this club atmosphere is one of the aspects to our club that has attracted this talented group of cricketers to play under the Tech banner."

The St John's Tech Premier 1 squad is: Travis Bartels, Nick Blundell, Callum Coker, Henry Collier, Peter Czerwonka, Trent Hemi, Bevan Hunter, Dominic Lock, Devon Purvis, Josh Roebuck, Sam Roebuck, Kane Watkin.

 

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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