Hawke's Bay stalwart Ray Mettrick has come across some amazing cricketing feats in 50 years in the code but the performance of two of his youngsters got him excited last weekend.
"I doubt that I have seen a more convincing all-round performance," said Mettrick after Lincoln Paton and Daniel Niblett helped the Cornwall Year 5 team beat Johnsonville and Upper Hutt counterparts in Palmerston North last Sunday.
The pair from the rural Sherenden School were involved in 13 dismissals spread over two innings at Hokowhitu Park.
They included nine run-outs from the field, just as many catches (Niblett five, Paton 4) and two wickets each with the ball (bowled).
No7 Paton had racked up a quickfire 28 not out against Johnsonville and 11 against Upper Hutt while No6 Niblett added an unbeaten 25 not out and a "royal duck", respectively.
The former, who also captains his school's only "hard-ball" team, got two of his run-outs and catches mostly from the gulley as well as a caught-and-bowled wicket.
Mettrick had promoted both boys to open against Upper Hutt after their earlier knocks in the Carter Pirie-captained Cornwall side playing in the 25-over affairs.
"When I open I get nervous," said 11-year-old Paton, who found 10-year-old Niblett singing from the same songsheet.
Said the latter who feels more comfortable in the middle order: "I kind of felt I was going to go out from the first ball. I was nervous."
The pair travel for about 45 minutes each week in summer to train at the majestic Hastings club.
Niblett, a right-arm second-change pace bowler who got his catches mostly at fine leg, is indebted to his parents, Bridgette Karetai and Jeff Niblett, who take time from running their pheasant farm.
"I just like competing against other teams," said the youngster who started playing cricket three years ago.
So did Paton, whose parents — Nicola, a finance company employee, and Graeme, a farmer/refrigeration expert — take turns to chauffeur him around
The pair hope to make Hawke's Bay age-group teams.