Consistent season for Tawa College’s cricketers

Story courtesy of College Sport Media


They missed out on qualifying for the National Gillette Venus Cup tournament at the end of the year, but Tawa College’s girls’ cricketers are reflecting on a consistent season that saw them win the College Sport Wellington Premier 1 Girls’ First XI competition.

“We were unbeaten throughout the season, so we were really happy with that achievement”, said captain and year 13 player Rachel Bryant.

The Twenty20 competition was played every Thursday, leading up to the final at home against Onslow College (played last Monday).

“We batted first and lost a few early wickets but the middle order steadied the innings. I think we only scored 97 but we backed our bowlers and defended it well,” added year 11 player Ava Conroy.

“I think the final was probably our best game, because we were all a bit down from losing the national qualifying match, and to come back from that was pretty good,” said Ava.

In the previous week’s Gillette Venus Cup qualifying tournament, Tawa won all their pool games, then beat Hutt Valley High School in their semi-final before losing to Wellington Girls’ in the final.

“We qualified for the National tournament last year, but it was cancelled because of Covid,” said Rachel.

Rachel and Ava bowling all-rounders. Both are spinners – Rachel bowls off-spin and Ava bowls leg-spin.

Rachel was captain and Ava was also in the Wellington U19 team that competed at the National U19 tournament at Lincoln in the summer school holidays.

Rachel was Wellington’s MVP at this tournament, being the joint leading wicket-taker with 13 scalps at an average of 14 and with a best of 4-35. She also played for the Wellington A Women’s team and captained that side in a match against the Hutt Cricket Academy.

Both are handy with the bat as well. Playing for North City in the Wellington Women’s club cricket final, Ava recently produced a match-winning knock of 65 not out off 46 balls, which was the difference in their 33-run defeat of Johnsonville.

Rachel plays her club cricket for Upper Hutt.

While the school games are the Twenty20 format, some club cricket matches are 40 overs-a-side, while all but one of the National U19 games were 50 over per innings.

Both said they didn’t have a preference for playing either format, although Rachel noted that as a captain, she probably prefers the longer version as its easier to rotate the bowlers and give them longer spells.

Tawa College’s team kept a keen interest on the recent Women’s Cricket World Cup, particularly given the fact that no fewer than four of the White Ferns squad members are former Tawa College students.

Ava is related to two of them.

“The Kerr sisters are my cousins, so it is always good to watch them and support them,” she said.

As well as Amelia and Jess, New Zealand captain Sophie Devine went to Tawa College, plus last year’s College Sport Wellington Cricketer of the Year Georgia Plimmer who was in the New Zealand squad for the tournament.

Plimmer was Tawa’s captain as recently as term 4 last year, with Rachel taking the reins from her at the start of this year.

Tawa’s team was given tickets to the Australia -West Indies semi-final at the Basin Reserve, which was a highlight for them from the recent World Cup.

The future is also bright for this team, with about half the players being year 11 or younger. In fact, Rachel and Iris Campbell are the only year 13s in Tawa’s side at present.

It’s also very much a family affair.

“There are three campbell sisters in the team, and one more coming through who will start at Tawa College next year,” said Rachel.

The current Campbells are Iris, Phoebe Campbell (year 11) and Lily Campbell (year 10).

Ava’s older brother Micah is the team’s coach.

With cricket winding down, many of the players will stay together over the winter and play football together for Tawa College. “It is more social though, mainly in the second XI,” they added.

By winning Premier 1 Tawa took home the Trish McKelvey Cup.