Versatile Easthope in demand

Story courtesy of College Sport Media. 

 

Rugby, league, baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball are codes that Lennox Easthope has thrived in at St Patrick’s College, Silverstream.

Representative honours quickly followed as did leadership duties at school. Easthope is a Kotahitanga – that is a part of a leadership group that runs events and assemblies. Something had to give. What sport has the Year 13 student sacrificed?

“I can’t be good at every sport. Basketball and volleyball have always been more social. I love league but the First XV is a big commitment, as is rep softball and baseball. I hope that answers the question,” Easthope laughed.

Easthope was brought up playing softball. A capable batter, Easthope’s major strength is pitching. The right-hander is able to throw 120km an hour, but boasts plenty of variation too.

Last season he helped Hutt City United win the Under 17 intercity title and finish runners up in the Under 19 and Premier Reserve competitions. He was selected for the Hutt Valley reps and was top pitcher in the Lower North Island Regional tournament. This performance saw Easthope selected for the Black Sox. He’s aiming to make the team for the Junior World Championships in the Czech Republic.

“The hardest guys to pitch to are the strategic guys. I’ll give a shout out to Tane Mumu. He’s a hard player to come across because he’s fast on the bases, an all-round player who is really good.

Craig Wallace, Bodey Foley, Grant McCarroll and my cousin Blair Easthope are four coaches who have been awesome. I’ve grown up with them and they’ve helped me a lot.”

Softball certainly helped Easthope’s ability to play baseball. In 2017 he was a part of the first National Baseball Championship title winning team in Wellington. The Hutt Valley Hornets beat North Shore in the Under-13 Ripken tournament. Easthope can deliver a fastball at 140km an hour and is on the radar of the Auckland Tuatara – New Zealand’s only professional franchise.

Easthope only played league in the second row for the first time last year. However, with role models like NRL superstars Jarome Luai and Kotoni Staggs it’s little wonder he flourished. He made the Wellington Orcas Under 16’s.

“We travelled up to Rotorua to play representative sides. I really enjoyed it. I think league and rugby are like softball and baseball and have a lot of transferable skills.”

The St Patrick’s College, Silverstream First XV are the reigning Premiership champions (sharing the title with Scots). On Saturday they were the only Wellington side to win a game in the Tranzit Coachlines First XV festival. In Napier they beat Gisborne Boys’ High School 39-11.

“It was an awesome win. I got a couple of marks on my head. It was a very physical game. They gave it to us but we stepped up and we got the win.”

A Wellington Under 16 lock, Easthope grew in stature throughout 2021.

“It was a good start for me. I had Toby Crosby and Tom Mannix as older boys helping me grow as a rugby player and person.

“My favourite games were against New Plymouth Boys’ High School at the Gully. I just loved travelling up there and winning the semi-final against Wellington College. We were under the pump but we got out of it.”

Emmanuel Solomona landed an improbable 45-metre goal to win the Wellington game 33-32. Silverstream was down 23-32 with less than five minutes to go.

“I had faith. I had no doubt whatsoever,” Easthope laughed.