Cricket in the Bay

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

What a spectacle at the Bay Oval on Sunday, where India played Australia in a Group B encounter in the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup currently being played in New Zealand.

In a battle between the only two, three-time winners of the ICC age-group championship, there was everything for cricket fans, from blazing shots over the picket fence to express pace bowling, with sticky fingers (dropped catches) in the field to add to the drama. 

The vast majority of the 700 plus cricket fans that came through the gate at the Bay Oval were Indian supporters.

The rousing vocal support displayed by the Indian fans was amazing and created a real atmosphere around the ground. 

India batted first and thrilled their supporters, when the two opening batsmen put on a match winning partnership.

Indian boundaries were celebrated with joy and plenty of noise, and an outstanding Australian catch out of nowhere and good work in the field received claps of respect. 

The team from the Indian sub-continent laid down the gauntlet to the other Under 19 CWC contenders with a big 100 run victory.

However, it's early days and New Zealand impressed many in the opening game of the tournament, with an easy win over the West Indies. 

Add in the other world cricket heavyweights of Australia, England, Pakistan, South Africa and defending Under 19 champions West Indies and you have plenty of high drama on the horizon, before the 2018 Under 19 Cricket World Cup champion is found. 

The current Under 19 Cricket World Cup being held in New Zealand, is a bit like gazing into a crystal ball.

You know that there are super-stars of the future here in our country, but only time will reveal who they are are. 

Bay of Plenty Cricket has produced a good number of international and professional players via their cricket pathway.

While the exploits of Mathew and Robbie Hart, Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Daniel Flynn, Graeme Aldridge and White Fern Anna Peterson are well documented - there is another young Western Bay player waiting in the wings to go on to the big stage and hit the headlines. 

Fifteen-year-old Tauranga Girls' College student Nensi Patel has been making big hits and grabbing wickets, since taking up the game a few years ago.

Nensi first received national attention playing for the Tauranga Intermediate School girls' cricket team, that won through to 2015 NZ Cricket Primary Schoolgirl National Finals. 

The Tauranga Intermediate all-rounder received the tournament MVP award after blasting 341 runs and taking nine wickets. 

In a amazing batting performance, Nensi hit 150 runs more than the second highest total. 

Nensi has progressed through Bay of Plenty and Northern Districts age-group and senior women representative selection, to have already played 15 games for the Northern Spirit, in NZ Cricket major association women's matches. 

Mark down NH Patel, as another Bay of Plenty Cricket pathway graduate to go on to higher honours.


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