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This season marks the first in more than a decade a team of Mount Aspiring College pupils has entered the Central Otago men’s senior reserve competition and, while it may be a learning curve, they are aiming for the top.
The team, made up entirely of 15 and 16-year-olds, has tasted sweet success and bitter defeat from its two games this season, and skipper Sam Teal (16) admits his side is still finding its feet.
"It’s a big step up. The boys bowl quicker, hit it harder. You’ve got to be a lot more accurate with your bowling especially, because anything down leg will just get hit. Batting-wise you can’t go out there and swing; you have to bat deep and play a more controlled innings than in the youth grades."
For the boys last week after a big loss to Maniototo, they’ve realised it’s a step up and we need to play harder."
Teal said the team was not overly concerned about wins and losses this season, but was focused on learning and getting better."It’s a bit about finding our feet this year.
"I think next year is going to be when we’re going to try and take out competitions."
The side has been a long time in the making.
Manager Ian McNabb said many of the side first came together 10 years ago when they were just 5 or 6 years old.
The fact they were still together now was simply because they were "just having a bit of fun".
It is unlikely there will be another 11-year gap between this team and the next, according to Luggate-Albion Cricket Club president Mike O’Connor.
"There’s a pathway now right the way through from when they’re 5 or 6 years old which didn’t used to exist.
"Looking at the numbers we’ve got in the age grades below these guys, I think we’re going to be swamped with players [playing men’s cricket] for the next few years."