Whanganui's Sam Sherriff has a good feeling as captain of a Central Districts team that is dominating the National Under 17 tournament in Lincoln.
It's understandable when he is batting with the competition's form player, as Hawke's Bay's Sam Ferguson has been unstoppable at opener with an extraordinary 344 runs in just two games.
Undefeated after wins over Auckland and Northern Districts, Central Districts picked up a big 100 run victory over Otago on the Bert Sutcliffe Oval yesterday, coming on the back of Ferguson carrying his bat for a phenomenal 200 not out off 166 balls.
The young man punished the Otago bowlers with 21 shots to the fence and six more over it.
This included a 98-run partnership with Sherriff, who after his cheap dismissal against Northern Districts was back in form with 46 from 37 balls, which was the second highest score of Central Districts' innings of 368-6, but obviously runnerup by quite a way compared to the rampant Ferguson.
The pair batted together from the 20th to 33rd over, with Sherriff rotating the strike but still hitting five boundaries and a six himself until he was caught by the bowler Jacob Cumming (2-62)
"It's been pretty good to watch, he's made it pretty easy with the bowlers," said Sherriff of his partner.
"He's just picking the right balls to go after and defending the one's he has to, along with putting some of them away."
Otago made a game chase of the monstrous target, but they did not have anyone capable of Ferguson's superlatives, and were bowled out for 268 in the 45th over – a strong innings on any other day.
Whanganui spinner Joel Clark conceded 35 runs from his five overs, with one maiden, while like Ferguson, Taranaki's Jordan Gard continued his excellent form by taking 6-61 from his 9.2 overs.
Central Districts had then wracked up another big innings against Canterbury on Lincoln No3 this afternoon, scoring 340-9 on the back of another Ferguson blinder – scoring 144 from 124 balls.
Ferguson hit just one six, but stroked 25 boundaries to bring his team to 219-3 in the 35th over when he was finally caught.
Sherriff was batting with him at the time and continued on to make another score of 46, this time from 50 balls and again second highest score of the innings, before he was trapped in front by Ollie Curtis (2-54).
Curtis at least help Canterbury peg back Central Districts slightly at the end of the innings to stop them reaching 350, but the damage was done.
Although comparisons to Ferguson are arbitrary, Sherriff was happy enough with his own form after scores of 52 and two of 46 from his four innings so far.
"It all depends on who I'm batting with, like at the moment I'm batting with Sam, I'm getting him on strike," he said.
"My role is fairly [adaptable]."
Central Districts, who are coached by Cricket Wanganui's Dilan Raj, are now defending their total, and now have a rest day tomorrow before their final round robin match with Wellington on Wednesday.
The semifinals are on Thursday and naturally Sherriff likes their chances.
"I'm pretty confident with how everything's going.
"Everyone's really enjoying it, come together as a team and gelled very well, in a short period of time."