Teen making mark on sports fields

Weekly sports star Corey Bovey
Weekly sports star Corey Bovey

Corey Bovey lives a lot of his life on the rugby and cricket fields of Marlborough, and increasingly outside the district, as he represents his province and school. The 17-year-old discussed the sports that occupy his time with Patrick Dawkins 

Rugby, cricket, rugby, cricket, rugby, cricket . . . so goes the sporting merry-go-round for Marlborough teenager Corey Bovey.

In his house you do not need a calendar to determine the season, in summer you can guarantee there will be cricket whites in the laundry, in winter, dirty rugby boots. It has been this way since 17-year-old Corey was eight, when his grandfather, Ray Bovey, signed him and older brother Rikki up to the Renwick Cricket Club.

Both are excelling this summer, having been named in the Marlborough senior representative squad. Corey debuted for the side last weekend in a rain-affected Hawke Cup match in Westport.

He credits his grandfather with his involvement in cricket.

"He had a big part to play in me playing cricket. He saw an ad in the paper for the Renwick Cricket Club and offered us the chance to play."

During Corey's childhood, his family bounced around the small towns of Marlborough. Renwick is home these days but, no matter where they were, the brothers would compete in the backyard. His grandad's Onamalutu property holds fond childhood memories.

"When I was little it had big rugby posts up, and they used to mow the cricket pitch and roll it with the truck tyres. It was fun."

It's not just the time spent preparing the cricket pitch that has paid dividends either, as Corey has played age-group rep rugby for Marlborough and was a member of the Marlborough Boys' College Press Cup champion first XV team this year. He did not get on the field in the team's Press Cup semifinal and finals wins, but played an important part in the team's late surge during the South Island title game against Otago Boys' High School at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium. Coming off the bench with 15 minutes remaining to play fullback, he landed two important conversions. The second, to get the team within a converted try of victory, was tough, about 15 metres in from touch.

"I just knew I had to get it to keep us in the game. If I missed that, it was all over. I was just trying to focus on the conversion as much as I could, and trying to get it between the posts."

These moments come with the territory when you live to play like Corey does, and sometimes one game a Saturday is not enough. After a first XV game this year, the rugby enthusiast motored to Lansdowne Park to play the final 20 minutes in the Pelorus division two team's semifinal win. Pelorus is Corey's club and this season was not his first taste of rugby in a senior grade. He also turned out for their top team and under 16 team on the same day in a previous season, including playing a full game in a division two final aged 15.

Making Corey's sporting successes all the sweeter is being able to share it with, not only his brother, but also his two best mates.

Since he was 15, Corey has played senior club cricket for Renwick alongside his brother and childhood friend George Kenny, and this year all three have been part of the Marlborough rep squad. The trio practise together at least three times a week over summer, on top of team practices, something Corey credits with getting him into the rep team.

His senior rep debut on Saturday was made extra special as George also made his first appearance for the Marlborough side.

"Its crazy, I'm in his team every single year . . . fifth grade, fourth grade, right through. Debuting with George was pretty cool, he's usually in most of my rugby teams, too. It's pretty weird but it's good."

One of those rugby teams was this year's first XV. Another close friend, Josh Sutherland, also joined them.

Next year Bovey will be without those mates when he returns to MBC for a second crack at year 13. He claims he is returning to get extra academic credits, but you get the feeling it is the schools' sports fields where much of his focus lies. Even over the summer holidays he has been given a training programme for the first XV, requiring running and weights work.

The lines between seasons continue to blur as the Corey Bovey sporting merry-go-round spins faster and faster. One day it might just propel him to dizzying heights.

The Marlborough Express