Boxer Ryan Scaife won’t be beaten to punch at McEvedy Shield

Ryan Scaife is fighting fit for the McEvedy Shield. Scaife, an outstanding amateur boxer, will captain the St Pat’s Silverstream McEvedy Shield team next week.

He has fought at the world youth boxing championships but gets as nervous at the McEvedy start line as he does before entering the ring.

“It’s a different type of nerves but we don’t usually box before a crowd of 2000 yelling people.

“The crowd definitely has an impact, though when you are feeling knackered over the last 200m you tend to block out the noise, because you are in so much pain.”

Though better known for his boxing feats – he has not lost a bout in New Zealand since he was 12 – Scaife has been a willing and effective contributor to the McEvedy Shield team in middle distance events, with four titles, two seconds and a third over four years.

He won the under-15 1500m and 3000m in 2012 and took the 800m and 1500m double in the under-16 division the following year.

He was the runner-up in the open 800m last year, behind Town’s Mat Arand, and fifth in the 1500m.

He beat Arand in the 1500m at the Old Boys Cup last week, with the result being reversed in the 800m.

Scaife also went under two minutes for 800m for the first time last month, though not by a big margin.

“The official time was 1:59.99.

“I’ve been doing a lot of running over the last few months, because it also complements my boxing training.”

Scaife is head of sport at Silverstream and is enjoying leading the McEvedy squad.

“It’s just awesome to be able to lead so many capable athletes, who are all giving it their all and a little bit more.”

He also plays football for the Silverstream first XI, though he is not sure whether his boxing commitments will allow him to play football this winter.

“I can’t help getting involved in some sports but I probably need to start making up my mind about concentrating on one.”

Scaife’s main target as a boxer this year will be the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa in September.

The 17-year-old has career record of 43 wins from 47 bouts and will look at the possibility of gaining a college scholarship in the United States.

He won the national youth title in the 69kg division last year and was also named the most scientific youth boxer at the championships.

Silverstream have not won the McEvedy since 2003 and were well off the pace last year, finishing a distant third, with just 87 points, their lowest tally in the past decade.Silverstream won 18 events and recorded 124 points in 2013, though a lack of depth prevented them challenging for the shield. But there were only six wins last year, at a meeting dominated by Town, who won 36 of the 55 events.

However, Silverstream will be more effective this year, in part because the team has been boosted by two national secondary schools champions.

Nick Smith, who was previously at Hutt Valley School, and Eddie Korent, who has transferred from Hutt International, will both be running in the Silverstream colours on Tuesday, which probably says something about the lure of the McEvedy.

Smith took out the junior 100m and 200m double at the secondary schools championships in December, and his PB for the 100m of 11.05 ranks him among the top 15 in New Zealand, of any age, this year.

His rivals in the under-16 sprints will include Town’s Yasheek Rosario, who was the runner-up to Smith in the 100m at the secondary schools champs.

Korent won gold in the junior long jump and high jump at the secondary schools championships and should also make a mark on the track next week.

Michael Poa, winner of the under-14 800m last year, and middle distance runners Max Press and Liam Kennedy should be prominent on the track for Silverstream and multi-talented athlete Kenneth Tuffin will be competitive in a variety of field events.

Rongotai College recorded the last of their seven McEvedy wins in 1989 and have struggled to be competitive in recent times but believe they are making progress.

“We have been working hard over the last three years to change the culture,” sports director Scott Richardson said.

“We cherish the event and want Rongotai to succeed again. But it can’t happen overnight.”

Rongotai captain Denny To’o will be a force in the open throws and Scott Rae, a newcomer to Rongotai, should be competitive in the under-16 field events.

Young sprinters Sia Anesi and Sen Chut will also make a mark.