Cricket: Johnson mixing it with the big boys

Llewellyn Johnson under the Waitaki Boys' High School honours board. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Llewellyn Johnson under the Waitaki Boys' High School honours board. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
A year after hitting the highest score in half a century of South Island primary school cricket, Waitaki Boys' High School pupil Llewellyn Johnson (14) has his eye on helping his school to a long-awaited team achievement.

Johnson's 159 for North Otago at the South Island primary schools tournament was a record in the competition's 50-year-history, surpassing the previous best by former Black Cap Craig McMillan.

His 116 not out for Waitaki Boys' in a First XI interschool against Timaru Boys' High School this week showed the hard-hitting batsman is clearly capable of running with the big boys.

Still in his first season playing in the secondary schools competition, the year 10 pupil said he was enjoying playing for the First XI, and added he had taken on a new role as wicketkeeper this year.

''It's a lot more challenging.''

Playing in the Borton Cup against men's teams in Oamaru was also helping to challenge his game, he said.

Johnson's century anchored Waitaki's first innings of 244 in the interschool at Milner Park. Waitaki went on to win the game by 57 runs.

Waitaki has also beaten Otago Boys' High School in an interschool this year, and can complete the treble if it beats King's High School.

Coach Hamish McMurdo said Johnson was averaging 45 with the bat in the Borton Cup and 87.5 in interschool fixtures.

''We have just brought him in to the senior side this season, and he's been ticking away quite nicely,'' McMurdo said.

''He's got a couple of 50s already, and he's playing in the men's competition, which is pretty exciting stuff.

''He's very, very quick on to the loose ball and he makes a bad ball look very bad. He's quick to smash them off for six.''

McMurdo said the Waitaki team was very keen to finish its interschool programme with a perfect record.

''We have big expectations, but I think they are justified. One of our major goals in the near future, if not this year, is to win the Borton Cup. Waitaki hasn't won that for 20 years.''

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