Not too many cricketers would envy William Dykes' position. There he was on the crease, a rabbit by default, as the No 11 batsman for Hawke's Bay at Nelson Park, Napier, yesterday against Wanganui during the annual Central Districts Under-17 tournament.
No pressure. All he had to do was get bat on ball so coach Dale Smidt and his teammates could erupt into celebrations.
``It was incredible. I was feeling it. I was really nervous,' the Lindisfarne College fifth-former told SportToday this morning while on his way to play against Nelson.
His teammates, as they do, were yelling out all sorts of advice but he couldn't hear anything.
On the opposite crease, No 7 batsman Lance Tupeau was unnervingly quiet but was 16 not out and probably should have been the one to face the last ball of the 60-over match after Wanganui amassed 237 runs in their innings.
The Wanganui opening bowler, shining the worn-out ball against his stained whites, glared at him.
``Lance is a pretty quiet fellow but I just though `Get some bat on ball',' Dykes explained.
The quickie bowler went straight for the block hole but the ball deviated, straying down leg.
Dykes instinctively played a leg glance and the ball rocketed down backward square leg for a four.
The Bay boys got delirious.
Later Smidt, patting Dykes on the back, said: ``You got us out of jail there, Willy.'
Bay were locked at 238-9 before the four.
What Wanganui didn't know was that wicketkeeper Dykes is actually the opening batsman for his school's 2nd XI side. Next year he will bat at No 5 for the first XI.
Napier Boys' High bowler Jurgen Anderson took 4-31 while in Bay's innings, Central Hawke's Bay batsman Sam McConville scored a useful 70 with Cornwall opener Matt Wiggins contributing 61.
In other games, Taranaki beat Wairarapa, Manawatu beat Marlborough and Nelson defeated Horowhenua-Kapiti.