A storm kicked in during one of their games but it was still unable to steal the thunder from the Hawke's Bay age-group representative boys' team in the province last week.

The Dale Smidt-coached Bay schoolboys stamped their supremacy when they claimed the bragging rights at the annual North Island Year 7-8 Championship in four games played at Cornwall Park, Hastings, and Taradale Park, Napier, during January 22-25.

"Wow, I've got some bloody good players here," was the reaction of Smidt when he first put them through the nets and drills. "I thought I'm going to have a very strong team if these boys go out and play to what they're capable of and, surely enough, they did."

The Hawke's Bay Cricket Association administrator and coach says the youngsters, all year 8 pupils bar one, didn't just win but established yawning margins against their overawed opponents.


They beat Wellington Gold by five wickets, with right-arm spinner Hamish James taking 2-21 from nine overs, including a maiden, in the 50-over affair.

In chasing down 156 runs, No 4 Lovpreet Singh Padda (44 runs from 40 balls) and No 3 Sam Cassidy (40 not out off 66) were the pick of the Bay batsmen.

The Taranaki game was abandoned with the Bay posting a mammoth total of 363 all out, with captain Cassidy scoring 128 runs from 130 balls and Padda adding a brisk 130 from 93 balls.

They beat Hutt Hawks by 105 runs with Cassidy (49 runs), No 9 Tim Slabbekoorn (37) and Padda (30) the main contributors with the bat as the hosts amassed 205. James (4-14) and Padda (3-8) delivered with the ball as their opponents were skittled for 100 runs.

It was the turn of Wellington Black in the last game to succumb by a crushing 10-wicket loss where only four batsmen got knocks between 10 to 20 runs.

Slabbekoorn and James took two scalps each as Wellington Black were dusted for 111 runs.

The Bay comfortably overhauled their target with 112-1 as opener Jonty Elmes remained unbeaten on 77 runs from 51 deliveries.

"After a few trainings, I told the boys I had pretty high expectations of them and they exceeded my expectations, to be honest," says Dale who named James his pick of the tourney.


However, he hastened to add the rest of the players were also handy cricketers.

"For kids of that age to score 363 runs against Taranaki is just massive, so I'm very pleased with the quality of players."

Smidt says many players have their own coaches but also it was a positive reflection on their clubs and schools.