Teen has sporting world at his feet

16:00, Jan 24 2014
Heath Murphy
Heath Murphy

Rugby and cricket are sports many young Kiwi males are brought up on. One Marlborough teenager has already compiled a long list of achievements in both. Clay Wilson caught up with him at his Blenheim home to find out about his success. 

Heath Murphy may have a tough choice to make in a few years time.

If he does have to make it, that choice will be one of a sporting kind because when it comes to cricket and rugby, the 14-year-old Blenheim teenager has talent to burn.

Preparing to begin his second year at Marlborough Boys' College, Heath is a Marlborough age group representative in both his chosen codes and has been since his family moved to Marlborough from Christchurch during 2009.

However, the slightly built and softly spoken youngster has not just been a member of those teams, more often than not he has been a standout.

That was no better evidenced than last month at the Central Districts under-15 cricket tournament at Rathkeale College in Masterton.


After several good scores for his Wairau Valley third grade club side and 62 off 59 in the Marlborough under-15 side's loss to Nelson a month previous, Heath was superb with the bat at the CD tournament.

He struck his maiden rep century, 114 off 129, in Marlborough's second match against Horowhenua-Kapiti and, just to prove that was no fluke, backed it up the next day with 65 against Wairarapa.

The wicketkeeper/batsman, who has earned a call-up to the MBC first XI squad, said it was his goal to get to three figures at the tournament and described his innings against Horowhenua-Kapiti as one that got off to a fast start.

"‘I was talking to my coach before the tournament and I said to him I wanted to make a hundred.

"When I went out there the bowling was short, so I started out fast, but when I got past 50 [my innings] slowed down a bit."

Heath went to lunch on 96 and, although his team-mates did not tell him during the break, he soon noticed the nervous looks on their faces once play resumed and realised he must be close to 100.

He brought up the milestone when he "got a full toss on my pads and just flicked it for one" and said making a century on the main ground at Rathkeale made it that little bit more special.

"It was a bit different because we were playing on a ground with a picket fence around it.

" It was pretty cool [to score 100] and my coach and all my team-mates were happy."

Making Heath's cricketing feats even more commendable is the fact he is only in his third season playing New Zealand's favourite summer game.

Prior to that he played tennis and was part of the Canterbury junior development team before moving to Marlborough.

While the former Renwick school student is clearly a promising cricketer, he displays just as much talent on the rugby field.

A Canterbury Metro age grade rep when his family was still in Christchurch, Heath has been a part of the Marlborough under-10, under-11, primary schools' and under-14 rep teams. In 2010, he was named the Town player of the day in the annual Town v Country junior matches.

Heath was a halfback before he moved to Marlborough, but the Renwick side he joined already had a No 9 so he has played first and second five-eighth ever since.

However, he has enjoyed the shift into the backline because "you get more room and time and I like to run with the ball."

Besides a lot of practice, Heath points to the support of parents Paul and Heather and uses older brother Logan, a Marlborough under-17 cricket rep and member of last year's MBC first XV rugby squad, as his role model.

When he's not at school or playing sport, Heath enjoys hanging out with his friends, including a lot of his team-mates, and swimming.

Given his ability in and love for both cricket and rugby, it seems inevitable Heath will one day have to put one ahead of the other. For the moment, though, he does not have a preference and plans to wait and see how the next few years pan out before he makes a call on which is No 1. His goals are simple, and it seems anything else is a bonus.

"I'd like to score another 100 and also make it fully into the first XI by next season . . . with my rugby I just want to keep making rep teams."

The Marlborough Express