2013 - Jack Boyles Run in Record Books

The following is the text of an article by Brendon Egan that appeared in the Christchurch Press 22 November 2013.

A broken ankle on the rugby field last season has proved to be a blessing in disguise for St Bede's College run-scoring machine Jack Boyle.

The year 13 student and first XI cricket captain underwent surgery this year and was forced to sit out the winter sports season. The break has had a positive effect for Boyle, who has been able to enjoy a longer pre-season and more time to fine tune his batting.

That extra training over the off-season has translated to an avalanche of runs for the gifted right-handed top order batsman.

Boyle has scored five centuries for the first XI since the beginning of the season in late September and has notched eight for the calendar year.

He has scored a staggering 1740 runs at an average of 82.86 in 2013, but more importantly written himself into the college's record books.

Boyle has racked up 10 centuries during his four-year first XI career - which is the most by any first XI batsman in St Bede's 102-year history.

The 17-year-old, who is the son of St Bede's rector and former first-class cricketer Justin Boyle, said he was incredibly humbled by the achievement.

"It's a great feeling. It's pretty special because it's had a long history, the school. It's pretty rewarding. It's been a goal of mine since the start of last year to give it a really good shot."

He listed his 115 in the first innings against Wellington's St Patrick's Silverstream in the annual interschool in February as his most meaningful 100. He said the game between the two Catholic boys' schools was steeped in tradition and it was nice to help contribute to the win.

Boyle is one of the top schoolboy cricketers in the province and captained the Canterbury under-17 team to the quadrangular title last summer. He was also selected in the Canterbury under-19 side, but had to pull out due to a school leadership camp.

Last year, he was in Canterbury Cricket's junior boys' academy and is now in the the Canterbury Wizards' academy.

He has had coaching from former Black Caps batsman Craig McMillan, who is a batting coach for Canterbury Cricket, as well as Wizards' players Peter Fulton, Shanan Stewart and Andrew Ellis, which had only improved his skills and mindset.

McMillan, who played for New Zealand between 1997 and 2007, said Boyle was a wonderful prospect, who had a sound technique for a young player.

"One of the key things with Jack is he's got a real thirst for scoring runs and batting time in the middle," McMillan said.

"He's got a real hunger and not all kids his age have that. That's probably been shown in the runs he's scored this season."

McMillan has worked closely with Boyle on playing the short ball and said he had provided valuable insight around shot selection and pacing an innings.

"A lot of the focus in the nets has been on the short stuff. The Wizards academy has been a real step up. There's some good coaches and they've really pushed the guys in the academy to go well," Boyle said.

McMillan was excited about Boyle's potential for the future and said he was always searching for ways to better himself as a cricketer.

"He's a deep thinker of the game and is always thinking about his batting and things he can improve on. Technically, he's pretty sound. It's all about making good decisions and he's obviously done that with the runs he's scored."

Boyle has two two-day games left for the St Bede's first XI before he finishes at secondary school.

He played his final game at the St Bede's No 1 wicket on Saturday in a two-day victory over the Christchurch Boys' High second XI. Boyle signed out in style with 128 in the first innings, but said the moment was tinged with sadness.

"It was a bit emotional being in the changing shed for the last time. I've really enjoyed playing at that ground."

Boyle, who lists Black Cap Kane Williamson and Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar as his cricketing idols, is expected to feature for the Canterbury under-19 side at the age-group nationals in January.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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