Kane Williamson was always in good stead but Trent Boult could have been lost to elite cricket when they were in their teens in the Bay of Plenty.
But New Zealand fans can thank the Howell family factor for ensuring Boult didn't stray to deprive cricketdom of some world-class, left-arm bowling moments.
Consequently Llorne and Glynn Howell are putting up the Howell Family Cup, in memory of their father, the late John Howell, in what will become an annual pre-season fixture between the Hawke's Bay and the Bay of Plenty senior men's representative teams, after a similar arrangement this time last year.
"When my father died, a lot of the boys from the academy carried his casket and now a lot of the guys are playing for the Bay of Plenty men's team," says former Black Cap Llorne Howell, of Napier, after his father had established the Howell Cricket Academy in Tauranga which honed the skills of countless young talent from 2003 to 2010.
They include BOP representatives Joe Carter, who is assuming the mantle of captaincy from long-time leader Peter Drysdale, Sean Davey and Chris Atkinson, to name a few.
The two Bays will face off at Tauranga Domain, starting with two Twenty20 matches tomorrow and a one-dayer the following day.
The Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay senior men's representative team are under the tutelage of new coach, Dave Castle, the sports co-ordinator at Hastings Boys' High School.
The Howell academy in Te Puna had championed the belief that everybody deserved a chance at receiving coaching.
Llorne Howell would have loved to have spent this long weekend on the sidelines watching the provincial men's sides compete but his obligations to The Station Napier Old Boys' Marist (NOBM) premier men's team as co-coach, with Niahl Shilar, means he'll be at Nelson Park, Napier, as the MJF Shrimpton Memorial Cup one-day competition begins today.
Howell, who visits Shilar's hometown of Bengalore, India, with former Black Caps batsman Mathew Sinclair, twice a year to help mentor the St Francis School academy pupils twice a year, also has coached Carter as a youngster.
"It'll be nice if they [BOP] also play here because it'll be an even competition," says Howell, who has watched a couple of Hawke Cup — the symbol of minor cricket association supremacy — encounters between the Bays at Nelson Park.
John Howell, of Tauranga, considered one of New Zealand cricket's most dedicated administrators, died in November 2010 after a short illness. He was 67.
Llorne Howell played 12 ODIs for his country in 1998 and Glynn played first-class cricket. Between them, John Howell and his sons represented five of the six domestic regions in the country.
The 46-year-old, who has graduated with a double degree in Chinese and Spanish International Business, fondly recalls special moments when he was co-coach of the BOP side when a teenage Williamson and Boult.
"Kane Williamson used to be in the bus with me and we were the only two who would be drinking water, planting himself next to me," he says of the New Zealand captain and ND Knights representative batsman who was about 16 at the time.
Then there was the time when John Howell, who attended Napier Boys' High School, put a teenage Boult's mind at ease.
"When Trent was about 16 or 17, he couldn't make the Bay of Plenty under-17 side so he came out to the academy to see my father.
"Trent said, 'Should I give up cricket because I'm not very good?' so John said, 'No, you're going to be very good so just keep going, mate'," says Llorne, revealing all the BOP selectors were disciples of the academy so Boult eventually got in.
"Yeah, so Trent's career got underway," says Howell who is off on a six-week Prime Minister's Scholarship to Peking University in China from November 19.
John Howell was New Zealand Cricket's first national coaching director, taking up the position in 1984 and serving in that role until 2003.
During his time with NZ Cricket, he was instrumental in the establishment of the high performance centre at Lincoln University, the creation of the New Zealand cricket coaches' association and was heavily involved in the development of high performance coaches.
John Howell also was a domestic player for Central Districts, playing in the Plunket Shield competition between 1966-67 and 1972-73, where he helped his side to three championship titles.
The former NOBM cricketer was a handy right-arm medium pace bowler and took 82 wickets during his 34-match career.
He also played five one-day games for Central Districts between 1970-71 and 1972-73.
Born in Napier, Llorne Howell also is a former NOBM cricketer and has persisted over the years, since settling ion his hometown, to help keep the Napier club stay at the premier men's level.
"We've been trying to resurrect my father's club," he says, recalling how Bevan Pollock was the only elite player in the prem and senior teams when Howell first arrived here.
An exodus to an academy prompted retired cricketers, including Howell, to turn out for the prems on Saturdays.
"We've got a lot of Indian boys now," he says, emphasising lower grades are humming along.
Howell says establishing ties with talented high school boys will be the way to go in restoring strength in the prem ranks, something Shilar is spearheading.
The big prems game today is between Innovative Electrical Ltd Napier Technical Old Boys and Havelock North CC, in a season when all games will be played at Nelson Park from 11am.
NOBM play You Travel Taradale CC and Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay CC face Hereatunga Building Society Cornwall CC.
The Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay men's team to play Bay of Plenty XI at Tauranga Domain this weekend:
■ HAWKE'S BAY: Jake Smith (c, Cornwall), Liam Dudding (Cornwall), Joey Field (Havelock North), Dean Foxcroft (Taradale), Callum Hewetson (Taradale), Izaiah Lange (NTOB), Jayden Lennox (NTOB), Angus McKnight (Taradale), Angus Schaw (CHB), Ben Stoyanoff (Taradale), Dominic Thompson (CHB), Todd Watson (NTOB), Bayley Wiggins (wk, Cornwall).
Coach: Dave Castle.
Manager: Luke Kenworth.
■ BOP XI (tomorrow): Jono Boult, Sean Davey, Joe Carter (c) Peter Drysdale, Brett Hampton, Henry Collier, Tim Pringle, Ben Musgrave, Blair McKenzie (wk), Dominic Crombie, Iman Singh, Chris Atkinson.
Sunday: Stephen Crossan, Henry Collier, Peter Drysdale, Joe Carter (c) Ben Musgrave, Tim Pringle, Ben Pomare (wk), Fergus Lellman, Dale Smith, Chris Atkinson, Bharat Popli, Brett Hampton.
Coach: Charles Williams.