With four runs needed off the last ball, opposition batsman Sam Borland smashed the ball high and long towards the boundary. Some heads sank as it seemed Howick Pakuranga had won the match, with the ball seemingly on a trajectory out of the park. But, who was there on the boundary to claim a clean catch and take the Auckland T20 title for North Shore Cricket Club? Captain Graeme Beghin.
A perfect end to a perfect summer's afternoon of cricket at Eden Park saw Graeme add another scalp to a season that saw him break into the Auckland Aces, represent New Zealand at the Hong Kong 6s, steer North Shore to many victories with century after century, and even making an appearance in Rebel Sports' summer TV commercial. Channel chatted to North Shore Cricket's golden guy...
Channel Magazine: What is your earliest memory of cricket?
Graeme Beghin: Let me take you back to the 1999 Cricket World Cup Semi-Final, South Africa vs Australia. I would have been about 10 and on this fateful night was up a little later than usual, watching the drama unfold. In the closing moments of this game when Allan Donald was run-out, I can remember being on top of our couching, screaming at the TV, before bursting into tears as Australia celebrated. Mum was also in tears, but hers were from laughing at the hysterics of her son.
CM: Did you have a cricketing idol as a boy?
GB: Jonty Rhodes was my hero as a boy. He was always exciting to watch with bat in hand and electric in the field. He seemed to lead the energy within the team with great attitude and passion.
CM: The game has changed a lot in the 2000s, what's your take on the current formats and which is your favourite?
GB: T20 has been hugely successful and provided cricket with a boost of energy for players and coaches. It has given us a platform to express ourselves and results in such an entertaining brand of cricket. From the IPL and Big Bash all the way down to Wednesday afternoon at Devonport Domain, people of all types are engaging in the game. The traditional versions of the game are still important and I believe as players we are able to create value in long formats by playing an aggressive brand of cricket with a high degree of skill.
CM: Why did you choose North Shore Cricket Club?
With the 2015 CWC being hosted by Australia and New Zealand I'd hoped to use the event as an excuse to see a new part of the world and play some cricket while enjoying the spectacle. I was referred to North Shore by a mutual friend and after getting in touch with the club immediately felt a synergy with the culture around the "Shore". Playing at the club would provide a challenge of new conditions, a good standard of premier cricket, to live in beautiful Devonport and have the opportunity to engage with youth through coaching, something I am still very passionate about.
CM: Can you tell us a little about where you grew up, and how does it differ to Devonport?
GB: I grew up in a small South African town called Hluhluwe (good luck getting the pronunciation right). Like many of our kids, I attended the local primary school before being shipped off to boarding school at the nearest big city four hours away. My family lived on a big cattle ranch surrounded by tough African bush and a lot of natural wildlife. In summer, temperatures range in the 30s, with the occasional thunderstorm to offer respite. It's certainly a long way from our residential suburb surrounded by beautiful beaches and there is definitely no traffic.
CM: How do you prepare for match day?
GB: Fortunately most of the preparation is done by match day and we can go into things relaxed, focussed and determined to have some fun with my mates out in the park. There are a few constants though; check the weather outside, have a good breakie, pack kit for the day, double check kit for the day and then head off to the ground nice and early. At the domain we get to enjoy the little league kids having a hit around, have a chat with team mates and opposition before getting down to warm-ups for the game.
CM: What are some of your favourite North Shore places to hang out when you’re not playing cricket?
GB: If I'm not playing cricket you'll have a good chance of finding me over at the nets, where a lot of action happens through the day. When the sun is out, at any one of the beaches having a dip, or over in the village for a sushi lunch.
CM: What’s your own personal cricketing highlight so far?
GB: There have been a string of amazing highlights in the past 12 months. Playing for the MCC at Lords, representing the NZ Kiwi select team at the Hong Kong 6s, making my debut for the Auckland Aces and being part of the NSCC Premier Men's team to win the Auckland T20 competition at Eden Park.
CM: By the end of 2018, I hope to have…
GB: Established myself as regular member of the Auckland Aces team and be contributing to that team's success. Continued my role at North Shore Cricket Club and Takapuna Grammar School while seeing growth and success in both cricket programs.