The Whanganui Collegiate 1st X1 has made history winning arguably the most coveted secondary school cricket trophy on offer for the first time, the Heathcote Williams Challenge Shield.
First played for in 1908, the shield had several lengthy hiatuses then sat in the New Zealand Cricket Museum for 30 years until a joint initiative with Cricket Wellington and College Sport Wellington reintroduced it to competition again in March 2017.
The man who presented, and gave his name to, this shield was Edward Heathcote Williams, known to most as Heathcote. The grandson of James Busby, the first 'British Resident' of New Zealand and the man known for drafting the Treaty of Waitangi, Heathcote began his career in Wellington as a barrister and solicitor where he worked for 10 years before moving to Hawke's Bay to set up his own practice.
Besides practising law, Heathcote possessed a true passion for cricket and was described as the "Father of New Zealand Cricket".
As one of New Zealand's keenest supporters of cricket, Heathcote wanted to see New Zealand playing at the top level of world cricket, up with the XIs of England and Australia.
To do this he saw great value in supporting and teaching young cricketers. He was very willing to use his own money to do this, by providing funding for coaching, and was always exploring ways to increase the interest and skills of promising players.
He believed that by providing a challenge shield to play for, young cricketers would be encouraged to play good cricket and, in turn, would learn how to be obedient, courteous, and unselfish young men.
During the early years South Island schools held the shield with travel proving difficult for North Island schools to make the challenge.
At its reintroduction in 2017 St Patrick's College Silverstream were the holders, but lost it to Hutt International Boys School in 2018.
Whanganui Collegiate are now the shield holders after beat Hutt International by six wickets in two day (Sunday/Monday) match at home.
Hutt batted first and Collegiate managed to bundle the visitors out for 180 runs with two four wicket hauls for Hunter Morrison (4/30) and Henry Kilmister (4/37) helping the hometown cause.
At their first innings at bat, Collegiate captain Sam Sherriff made the brave call to declare while still 20 runs in arrears and one wicket in hand (160/9).
It was a hard fought total with the homeside on the ropes at 18/5 until the arrival of Harry Godfrey who smashed 69 off 64 balls to get them back on track.
Sherriff backed his team to bowl the opposition out and then chase down any total Hutt managed to set. Hutt was all out for 118 with help from Kilmister's 3/30 and Shaun O'Leary's 3/20.
Chasing down 138 runs to win, Collegiate made a solid start with openers Kakish Nauhria and Joel Clark making 13 apiece before Hadleigh O'Leary stepped in with a fine 32. That allowed Beau Hourigan to help out with 21 before Godfrey once again came to the party with 40 not out ably assisted by William Hocquard's unbeaten 18 to reach 139/5.
Under the rules of the shield competition the trophy is only defended during home games, whether they be two day affairs or 50 over one day matches.
The only home game Collegiate has left this summer is coming up against Wellington College.
Collegiate director of sport Barry Touzel said it was a brave call to declare when still behind on runs, but gave a clear indication his team was keen on an outcome.
"Two day matches rarely produce an outright win, so when we declared when behind it clearly showed we were keen to reach an outcome," Touzel said.
"It was a bit touch and go when we were just 18/5 in our first innings at bat, but the boys really chipped in. Normally we have relied on Sam (Sherriff) to set the pace with the bat, but others stepped up to the plate assisted by some really good bowling. We are proud to now hold the Heathcote Williams Challenge Shield," Touzel said.