• Joey Field and William Clark are under no illusions of where their exciting and promising cricketing paths are heading from a reputable club in a Hastings village..
• That's why the Central Districts cricketers are hoping to do Havelock North CC, their families, coaches, institutions, province and major association district proud when they represent New Zealand U19s against Australia in Brisbane from tomorrow .
They have got into more team huddles than perhaps most parliamentarians have frequented sittings at the Beehive in Wellington during their career but Joey Field and William Clark are showing that adroit cricketers who stay together often go on to reap the rewards at higher echelons.
Field and Clark, who have been asking for middle and leg as juniors at the Havelock North Cricket Club in Hastings, jetted off yesterday to Brisbane as representatives of the New Zealand under-19 men's team to play their Australian counterparts from tomorrow.
"We've gone through the Havelock club together from when we first started so it's pretty cool to be picked in the same team not just from where you live but also from the same club," says Field.
The Kiwis play a four-match series at the Redland Cricket Ground — two this weekend and the remaining ones on Wednesday and Thursday next week — before heading to the coastal town of Caloundra in the Sunshine Coast region for a six-day training camp.
Says Clark: "We've been best mates ever since we started playing cricket, which was pretty much all junior cricket teams for Havelock."
The ICC U19s Cricket World Cup is looming in South Africa in January next year so this trip becomes an ideal dress rehearsal for the aspiring Black Caps.
"It's definitely one of the stepping stones towards, like, obviously, making that ultimate goal of playing for the Black Caps," says Field of a well-trodden pathway.
"We've got a strong team so I'm interested in seeing how we match up against them [the Aussies]," he says.
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The 18-year-old, who plays in the Reynard Health Supplies Havelock North premier men's team with Clark, says he's in the national U19 equation as an opening bowler who will bat in the lower order although down the track selectors see him as an allrounder.
The Sir Edmund Hillary scholarship recipient, who has juggled his Waikato University studies with three training camps at Lincoln, near Christchurch, this year, is finding it a challenge but taking it in his stride.
"I was prepared for it, knowing I was moving up to Hamilton away from all the Central Districts coaches and stuff," says Field who is training with NZ U19 bowling coach Graeme Aldridge, a former first-class Northern Districts cricketer.
The former Hastings Boys' High School first XI captain is under the tutelage of batting coach Dan Harper who used to coach him at HBHS as a teacher in the junior years before moving up to St Paul's College in Hamilton.
"He's started his own cricket coaching business ... so he's helped me a lot and he knows me really well and it's good to see him once or twice a week because he understands my game," he says.
Ironically, Field was born in Hamilton but he emphasises he isn't switching allegiances.
"My goal is to play for the Stags and I still play for the CD Under-19s so I'm staying with CD," he says.
Field has been on several trips to Australia as part of his tours with the HBHS teams so he's mindful the heat and humidity make the strips prime real estates for harvesting wickets.
Finding out he was in the U19 mix was "pretty awesome".
"You kind of appreciate all the hard work you've done to get there but it also drives you to keep working harder to ultimately make the world cup team in January."
However, the national mentors have impressed on the players that going to Brisbane isn't a ticket to South Africa for everyone in a squad of 25 which will be culled to 16 for the world cup.
"It sort of gets you to the door but I want to show them I'm good enough to go to the next stage and, hopefully, get a chance in domestic cricket or whatever comes along."
This summer the players will have another opportunity to show their mettle against their touring Bangladesh counterparts who will play five games in three weeks before the national under-19 tourney in Lincoln in December.
"I'm hoping to captain the CD under-19 team," says Field who has shown leadership skills as HBHS head boy.
A delighted Clark, a batting allrounder, found out on Queen's Birthday Weekend he was going to Brisbane.
"I was hoping to be picked so that it would pay off but, I guess, you never really know."
The Hastings Christian School Year 13 pupil, who bats at No 4 or No 5 for his premier club in the last two summers, sees the U19 honours as an endorsement that he's on the right track but puts it in perspective.
"If you don't make the team it doesn't mean it defines your cricket so, yeah, I'm pretty happy to be where I'm with my game to see what rewards I get, I guess," says Clark who has progressed through the CD age-group teams to the NZ under-17 one.
The 17-year-old hopes to pursue a degree in communications at Waikato University while mindful it will take a lot hard work to become a professional cricketer.
Clark says he and Field have clocked up some early mornings over the years before school for trainings so they are indebted to their families for all their support.
"I just hope we go there to represent our country and do our families and schools proud," says the teenage pace bowler and right-hand batsman who toured with the Havelock North High School side to England one year because Hastings Christian School didn't have a cricket team.
Clark's looking forward to a new experience in Brisbane.
"I'm very blessed to have the backing of my school, my parents and coaches because there's been a lot of hard work not just from me but them and many other people," he says, also singling out his father, Brad, for his input over the years.
Eldin Smith coaches Clark who also receives instruction from personal trainer Kendall Malcolm and Hawke's Bay Cricket administrator Craig Ross.
■ New Zealand U19s: Adithya Ashok (Auckland), William Clark (CD), Kristian Clarke (ND), Lucas Dasent (Auckland), Hayden Dickson (ND), Joey Field (CD), Jesse Frew (Canterbury), Ruben Love (CD), Jock McKenzie (Auckland), Rhys Mariu (Canterbury), Tim Pringle (ND), Ben Pomare (ND), Jesse Tashkoff (Wellington), Dylan Taylor (Auckland), Ollie White (ND).