It's school, sleep and sport for Lachi

CLAY WILSON
Last updated 08:57 27/07/2012
Lachi Woolf
DEREK FLYNN

Sports mad: A rising star on the cricket and badminton scenes, Picton teenager Lachi Woolf is nuts about all things sport.

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Picton teenager Lachi Woolf's life is pretty simple - he just follows the three-S concept.

School, sleep and sport, not necessarily in that order, rule Lachi's world.

Just turned 14 on Sunday, the year 9 Queen Charlotte College pupil has jammed more sport into his 14 years than many manage in a lifetime.

Cricket was his first love and firmly remains No 1, but he is a rising talent on the badminton scene and plays touch in the summer when cricket allows. On top of that, if not for a lack of numbers to raise a team, he would be playing rugby and if it didn't clash with badminton he would also be playing basketball.

While there is no question as to what reigns supreme in summer, unfortunately the talented and successful youngster has had to make some choices about what to play this winter. Badminton eventually got the tick and, given the success he has had in just two years since first seriously picking up a racket, it was the right move to make.

Last month, the reigning Marlborough under-15 champ won the under-15 singles, doubles and mixed doubles crowns at the Nelson Age Group champs and was part of the QCC team which won the boys' division of the Tasman schools competition. The icing on the cake, though, came earlier this month when he was runner-up in the under-15 singles at the South Island champs and impressed enough to earn a spot in the tournament team.

Despite his rapid rise, the intelligent and self-assured teenager remained laidback about his success and said badminton was simply something he had a bit of a knack for.

"When I moved up here I made a friend who said badminton was pretty cool. I went down and had a go and picked it up quite quickly. Then I went to a few tournaments and got a bit of coaching from Gary [Timms] and it's just gone from there.

"I didn't really expect [to make the South Island tournament team]. I just thought I'd go down with my friends for a bit of a hit round, so it was a bit of a bonus."

Aside from his obvious natural talent for the sport, the high-quality coaching and competition Lachi gets at QCC has been key. The nationally-successful Timms brothers, Joseph and Blair, give him a standard to aspire to, while their father Gary has been extremely helpful.

Although Hamilton-born, Lachi and his family only moved to Picton two years ago. After two years in Reefton, followed by eight years in the small Western Southland community of Otautau, he says the family feel right at home in their new surroundings.

Once the summer of 2010-11 rolled around, it didn't take Lachi long to stamp his mark on the Marlborough cricket scene.

He played a key role as QCC won both fourth grade competitions that season, then early last season he was selected in the Marlborough Primary Schools team. A top order batsman and handy off-spin bowler, the former Invercargill age-group rep was proud to raise his bat as he scored 70 against Buller.

However, the undoubted highlight came in March when he was awarded the prestigious Eric Shattock Trophy for Marlborough's most outstanding primary school cricketer. It was an accolade he said he had no idea he was going to get.

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"There is another guy who won it last year and I thought he might get it again. I was quite surprised because prizegivings can usually be a bit of a drag and you only win spot prizes and things like that."

Lachi is not the only member of his family who is mad on sport. His older sister Tamsin plays netball, basketball and touch, while younger sister Laura is a soccer player and a swimmer. Dad Jeff, a police constable in Picton, helps out with coaching cricket and mum Ana enjoys running. Both have been hugely supportive of Lachi and his sport, constantly carting him to and from trainings and games, and are almost always there to watch him play.

Spare time away from sport is rare for Lachi, but he would not have it any other way. When he is not training or playing, he enjoys hanging out with his mates and shooting a few hoops or watching whatever cricket might be on TV.

As for the future, cracking the Marlborough under-16 cricket team and pushing for possible Central Districts selection is the immediate goal. Beyond that, the ultimate goal is to play cricket for a living. "The dream would be to play cricket professionally and, if not that, then coach to a high level. I really do want to go all the way."

For a teenager who exudes confidence, and has the talent to match, it is a dream that seems well within reach.

WEEKLY SPORTS STAR

Name: Lachlan Woolf.

Nickname: Lachi or Woolfie.

Born: Hamilton, July 22, 1998.

Educated: Otautau School (Western Southland) and Queen Charlotte College.

Earliest sporting hero: Brendon McCullum.

Latest sporting hero: Jacques Kallis and Alastair Cook.

Must-watch TV programme: Sports highlights.

Must-have food: Lemon meringue pie.

Favourite holiday spot: Queenstown.

Superstitions: I always put my left batting pad on first because the one time I didn't I got out first ball of the match (royal golden duck). Not the highlight of my cricketing career.

Pet hates: The annoying noises my little sister makes.

Fashion crime: Always wearing trackpants.

Favourite sporting moment: Getting 50 runs for Marlborough and raising my bat.

Worst sporting moment: The embarrassing moment when I'm the only one appealing for a wicket and everybody turns and looks at you.

In five years I'll be: Hoping to be embarking on a successful cricketing or badminton career, and if that fails I want to be somewhere at university studying something I have yet to decide on.

- The Marlborough Express

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