Alex Ridley the opening bowler has become Alex Ridley the all-rounder.
The year 13 Onslow College pupil usually aims to knock over the stumps but was also knocking it over the boundary last weekend.
Ridley hit 12 fours and four sixes when scoring 114 from 98 balls against the Wellington College second XI last Saturday. It was his first century since year 8, for Raroa Intermediate.
"It was hard to believe but pretty cool," Ridley said.
His previous highest score for the Onslow first XI had been 65, against the Wellington College third XI in a grading match last month, and he managed one 50 last year.
The Wellington under-19 pace bowler has been in the Onslow first XI for four years but has usually batted down the order.
"I've had a few good knocks but nothing too substantial. I found it quite intimidating when I first made the team and I've been batting quite low most of the time.
"But I've tried to consider myself as an all-rounder over the last year and was hoping to make the most of it this year."
Ridley, who brought up his century with a big six, was promoted to No 4 in the order last weekend and also captained the side, in the absence of usual skipper Tim Johnston and fellow top order batsman Angus Henderson.
"I got away to a pretty good start - with three fours from his first five balls - and felt quite comfortable after that. I settled pretty quickly and the pitch played well."
Ridley's primary role with Onslow has always been as an opening bowler and he is approaching 100 wickets for the first XI.
He has always been hard to score against and had the lowest economy rate for Wellington at the national under-19 tournament at Lincoln last month.
"I've often struggled to take wickets in premier one, possibly because I swing the ball, but I pride myself on my economy," Ridley said. "Though I have been a bit expensive in the last couple of games."
He will be eligible for the Wellington under-19 team again next year, when he hopes to be in contention for the national under-19 team.
"That's definitely a major goal and I'm hoping that I will at least to be asked to go to a squad training. But I will be a month too old for the next under-19 World Cup [in 2016].
"I definitely want to make something of the game. That's been the big dream since I was a little kid."
Onslow made hard work of the promotion-relegation games but have made an excellent start to premier one.
An unexpected opening round win over Wellington College gave their campaign impetus and Onslow and St Pat's Silverstream, who will meet this weekend, are the only unbeaten teams after three rounds.
"We absolutely battled in the grading round but the boys have responded very well since and it's been quite exciting," Onslow coach Matt Tilley said. "They have trained well and have got a good culture going.
"We put Alex up the order [last weekend] and he responded brilliantly. It was a pretty special knock.
"But we aren't getting carried away. On paper, Silverstream, HIBS and Wellington College are quite a bit above the rest."
Callum McLachlan (Silverstream) and Ashvin Muthumala (Tawa) also produced standout individual efforts last weekend.
Opener McLachlan, a year 11, was 100 not out as Silverstream got to 307 to set up a big win against Scots College, while Muthumala took 6-16 from nine overs as Tawa knocked over Hutt Valley for just 52, in the 19th over.
"Callum is improving quickly and has an exceptional temperament," Silverstream coach Ewen Thompson said.
Muthumala helped Tawa record their first win since returning to premier one and there were just 10 runs from the bat in his nine overs.
The Wellington College first XI demonstrated their potential with a six-wicket win over Hutt International.
HIBS made 195 batting first but Wellington College reached their target with more than five overs to spare.
Jack Sargentina had a good double for Wellington, taking 2-27 from 10 overs before being 33 not out, from 35 balls.
- The Dominion Post
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