Skipper’s century tips Onslow to victory

Daniel Pile has had the Midas touch this month.

In the space of nine days, the Onslow College skipper guided his team to three wins and picked up his first century and first five-wicket haul for the first XI.

Pile has had to wait for both milestones, as the year 13 student is in his fourth year with the senior team.

A five wicket bag had looked a matter of when, rather than if, but the 17-year-old could have got long odds on his chances of scoring a premier one century.

Pile batted in the tail last year and faced more balls during his 106 not out against Scots College last Saturday than he did in the whole competition last year.

He had only seven innings in the premier grade last year, with a top score of 13, while he had a top score of 29 not out in 2013.

However, he has been promoted to open the innings this year with his younger brother Nicholas and has taken advantage of the chance to build an innings. He made 25 against St Pat’s Silverstream and 34 against Hutt Valley, before notching his century in the final over against Scots.

“It [opening] has been a big step up but it was good to get there on Saturday,” he said. “There haven’t been many Onslow hundreds [in premier one] in the past.”

However, Pike’s primary role for Onslow is as a bowler.

An orthodox left-arm spinner, he was the leading wicket-taker at last month’s national under-17 tournament and usually opens the bowling for Onslow.

He has had an economy rate of under two, from 33 overs, this season and took 5-13 from 10 overs against Silverstream.

“I had got four wickets quite a few times but that was my first five-for in all 50-over cricket. It was definitely one of my best performances. We were only defending 156 and I knew I had to take wickets. We lost twice to Stream last year and it was nice to beat both Coll [Wellington College] and Stream in the one weekend.”

Onslow coach Matt Tilley was among those impressed by Pile’s efforts against Silverstream.

“It was one of the best spin bowling spells I’ve witnessed and he single-handedly won us the game.

“He only bowled five overs against Scots but he did what we wanted, which was to get the key wicket of Joseph Bowden.

“He’s got his limitations as a batsman but he’s a gutsy player and sticks at it.”

Pile’s brother, named Nicholas but better known as Picky, beat Daniel to a premier one century by scoring 105 against Hutt Valley last year, as a year 10. Nicholas, who also made the Wellington under-17 team, has yet to get a big premier one score this year but his coach expects that to change shortly.

“He’s been unlucky with a couple of his dismissals,” Tilley said. “He’s been batting well and looking good and just needs a bit of luck.”

Onslow finished third in premier one last year but lost seven of their 2014 squad and have had to rebuild their pace attack.

However, they have been more than competitive again and, along with St Pat’s Town, remain unbeaten after four rounds.

HIBS retrieved some lost ground when beating Silverstream by five wickets last weekend. Silverstream won the toss and batted but folded for 127 against an improved HIBS attack.

Hutt Valley recorded their first win for the year against Wellington College.

They set up the win by making 229, their first score of over 200 in the competition since March 2013.

Hutt Valley were 27-4 before Dhvanil Gandhi and Vatsal Desai put on 122 for the fifth wicket, with Gandhi getting 79 and Desai 48. Scott Galloway, better known for his squash exploits, helped take the total over 200 with a rapid 42 from 31 balls, including three sixes.

Wellington College were dismissed for 194 in the 46th over.