They are talented in their own right but coach Colin Schaw has been around the traps long enough to know that isn't necessarily enough for anyone, never mind his Lindisfarne College cricketers to bank on success.
Consequently Schaw is mindful embracing the desired attributes — such as willingness to learn, harnessing the right attitude and finding a sense of role in the collective — will be imperative to help steer his first XI side to lift the Gillette Cup, the symbol of high schoolboys' supremacy in the five-day national tournament starting tomorrow.
"They're a good bunch of guys who like to have a lot of fun but when you're serious they put their foot down to respond really well," says the former Hawke's Bay senior men's representative coach before they jetted off this morning to begin their campaign against Otago Boys' High School in the 50-over matches.
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What Schaw has noted in two years at the helm of his young charges is their propensity to work for each other.
"The respect they have for the game is pretty good because you don't see a lot of that in this age group these days," says the 48-year-old Central Hawke's Bay Cricket Club stalwart.
They play St Andrew's College (Canterbury) on Monday, Wellington College on Tuesday, and Hamilton Boys' High on Wednesday before the final encounter against the Seb Langridge-mentored Rosmini College (Auckland) the following day at Hagley Oval, Christchurch. Langridge is a former Bay men's rep.
"If they boys express their skills and we get in to play good cricket we certainly won't go down lying down."
The experience will be invaluable for the teenagers, not just as players but how it'll help mould their characters into adulthood.
The sturdy westerly wind-whipped sultry days will test the mettle of the boys on what he, presumably, expects to be flat decks.
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Adopting a pack mentality to create pressure on the oppositions will be the mantra.
It doesn't help the teenagers are coming fresh off a diet of twenty20 cricket for a month in the Bay competition, albeit winning the division one crown for the third consecutive year early this month.
They beat Napier Technical Old Boys CC, Taradale, St John's College, Hastings Boys' High, Sher-E-Punjab Sports and Cornwall CC. The table toppers' only defeat was to Napier Boys' High before beating Sher-E-Punjab by a run in the final.
"To me it's not ideal as a competition for young guys because we're better off playing the 50 overs, especially when they are trying to make age-group sides," he says, revealing the demands of external exams add to that pressure.
Schaw says the biggest hurdle will be to mentally tick over his lads into a limited-overs mode.
"Nine out of 10 times if you bat your 50 overs you're going to be a quality side with a good target on the board."
Lindisfarne first XI also are unbeaten in their 45-over Bay competition which is still in progress.
Nine of the players will graduate from school at the end of this year so Schaw believes it's an opportune time for them to stand up for a proud academic establishment that has groomed pedigree athletes over the years.
"It'll be nice for them to put back what they've got out of Lindisfarne."
Captain Harry Mowat played his 50th match for the school against division one side Napier Old Boys' Marist in a warm-up match last Saturday. On Tuesday Farne beat the Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay CC premier men's side, albeit not a full-strength one, in a T20 clash.
Top order batsman Sam Ferguson just earned his stripes into the CD U19 squad and will be opening with Jack Hammond with Mowat coming in at first drop and Bailey McDonald at No 4.
"One guy who is undervalued at Hawke's Bay cricket is Hunter Lowe because, I believe, he's a match winner and I hope he gets more opportunities," says Schaw of the No 6 who bats after wicketkeeper Max Devonshire but also can roll his arm.
"He's a left-arm seamer and right-hand bat with a good cricket head on him."
Lovepreet Padda rounds off the batting but also signals the bowling attack with the likes of Sam Moore, Brandon Roberts, Fred Mowat and Tom Klingender.
The skipper's young brother brings all-round skills with his right-arm seamers and has the added incentive to catch the eye of selectors in making the cut for the CD U17 squad.
Klingender is of a similar ilk with the ball but masters the art of extracting purchase in hitting the deck with venom but also changing the pace while Moore rounds off the firepower.
It disappoints Schaw that Roberts missed out on the CD U19s but he rates the spinner highly. McDonald is the other tweaker.
He paid tribute to former Hawke's Bay Cricket Association administrator Dale Smidt for mentoring many of them.
"I respect what he's done to get us to where we are."
Lindisfarne beat New Plymouth Boys' High in their NZSSC qualifiers for the CD region and then stifled hosts Palmerston North Boys' High in Palmerston North in March this year.
The school finished third five years ago.
It's the final year for nine of the Farne players in the 13-member squad and also for Schaw but he is reluctant to turn the tourney about himself.
"I've had success in the Chapple Cup and the Hawke Cup so it would just top it off to be able to win this," says the stock agent from Tikokino.
Gillette Cup squad: Jack Hammond, Sam Ferguson, Harry Mowat (c), Bailey McDonald, Max Devonshire (wk), Hunter Lowe, Lovepreet Padda, Finn Calder (wk), Sam Moore, Brandon Roberts, Fred Mowat, Tom Klingender, Sam Cassidy.
Coach: Colin Schaw.
Manager: Rob Hay.
T20 final scoreboard: Lindisfarne 136/2 after 20 overs (H Mowat 44no, S Ferguson 39, L Padda 20no, M Devonshire 20) bt Sher-E-Punjab 135/7 after 20 overs (B Roberts 2-18, H Lowe 2-19, F Mowat 1-30) by 1 run.