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St John's College First XI skipper James McNatty (left) with mother Michelle McNatty, teammate Noah Tucker and another parent John Wilson, who are livid after HB Cricket CEO Craig Findlay's 307 runs against a schoolboys' team. Photo/Glenn Taylor

By Anendra Singh

The CEO of Hawke's Bay Cricket Association, Craig Findlay, has come under attack after scoring a blistering 307 retired from 115 balls against a schoolboy bowling attack last weekend.

Findlay, who smashed 27 sixes in his innings for his Complete Flooring Napier Technical Old Boys (NTOB), was last night having second thoughts about his mammoth feat as outraged parents, players and fans questioned his motive in the division one match against the St John's College First XI team at Nelson Park, Napier, on Saturday.

The former first-class cricketer pummelled the Hastings schoolboys into submission with a strike rate of 266.66.

See the scorecard from the game here

Hawke's Bay Today was yesterday bombarded with website, tweet, text, phone and email messages of complaints against the former Central Districts Stag player.

Andrew Frame tweeted: "Nothing to be proud of in that game. Tech should have declared at 300-1 at the 20-over break and saved face.

"I was playing on next pitch, almost got hit by two 6s. Felt for the St Johns' boys. Unfair contest, really."

Frame went on to say: "Bit of a farce overall. Not good for the game."

Megan Singleton said: "Can't believe the cricket CEO retired on 300. Some of those kids were 15 and completely demoralised. What a guy!

"That CEO should be nurturing these players not trying to show off and have his score on back page."

Yesterday St John's team captain James McNatty said he pleaded with Findlay to retire after just 23 overs of the 45-over affair "because it was really getting out of hand" but the former Hawke's Bay senior men's representative said he'd think about it.

"After another seven overs I asked him again but he just walked away and carried on batting," said McNatty who then approached the 42-year-old's former CD teammate, Mike Pawson, thinking he was the skipper but to no avail.

"Mike said there were only a few more overs to go and to keep our chins up," the 16-year-old said last night, bereft of ideas after using every member of his team, bar the wicketkeeper to roll their arms.

"There was nothing I could do so I used everyone to have a go," said the first-year captain whose players are predominantly 15 to 16-year-olds.

"We were just glad to get off the field but we're still determined to stay in the grade," he said of a team that has lost a few seventh-formers.

He said what compounded the problem was another premier club batsman and ex-Bay rep Bronson Meehan who has returned from Australia.

Meehan, who was out in the 28th over as NTOB amassed 578 runs, played his first premier club cricket match of the season on Sunday.

McNatty's mother, Michele, speaking on behalf of the players' parents, said they had heard even before the game on Saturday Findlay was going to "teach the schoolboys a lesson" because they were not good enough to be in the two-tier revamped senior men's grade.

Findlay last Monday contacted outgoing St John's principal Neal Swindells to ask the team to consider dropping to division two because they weren't competitive enough in the first round but the First XI coach declined.

Michele said: "I'm just so disappointed in the way they used our boys to prove a point."

Other schools in the grade were having the same problem.

She said Findlay had the audacity to say the boys were not good enough and that he didn't train but he had been playing consistently every summer after retiring from the prem grade two years ago.

"How would Finns [Findlay] feel if some day someone like him bullies his young boy [Toby, 10] on the park as a batsman or bowler?"

She said it was even worse that his father, Harry Findlay, the HBCA president, was sitting at Nelson Park pavilion telling other youngsters they should emulate Craig if they wanted to be good as he was and that also was wrong.

"Our boys came off the park with their heads up.

"Craig shouldn't have taken it out on our boys if he couldn't take it out on adult [Swindells]."

She said three other high schools and one club team also had not registered any points in the division, too.

St John's have won one game, against Celtics, in seven rounds to date.

Swindells, who is coaching for the last time this Saturday before heading off to St Pat's College in Wellington to assume the mantle of rector, said St John's had earned their place in division one but if at the end of the season they were last they would drop to division two.

He was loathe to judge Craig Findlay's knock because the cricketer had not broken any rules.

"Craig's has every right to play in the grade. We can't really complain about that.

"But there's something in the air that does not feel right and you can see that."

Swindells said "this has happened before and happens from time to time".

His team were demoralised and had not learned anything from last Saturday's flogging although they had beaten Tech when Findlay wasn't playing for them early this season.

"St John's has had an input in Hawke's Bay cricket ... we'll be back, don't worry, whatever the Craig Findlays do."

Findlay last night said he was disappointed with the public's reaction.

He had played in the seniors grade as a former NBHS cricketer and had also "looked up" to former first-class players to hone their skills.

"I now have other boys looking forward to having a crack at me so it's a great opportunity for them to get a former first-class cricketer out."

Findlay said what it effectively meant was people not wanting him to play.

While he could still play in the premier grade Findlay said he had a young family and didn't want the commitment of training and long days at the weekend.

"I played hard so that's why I won a lot," he said, adding that was his goal as cricket boss to ensure the young built a steely resolve.

"To create champions you have to be tough. I'm not allowed to play and I have others telling me where I can bat and when not to play," he said, adding it appeared the Bay was going down a slippery track to a "PC world".

Board chairman Derek Stirling, a former New Zealand international, said his phone was running hot all day from calls and texts and he had discussed the issue with Findlay.

"Did he go too far? Morally, yes."

It was, Stirling said, a conundrum because they were concerned their boys had taken a hammering but they also wanted to retain 25 to 35-year-old cricketers in the Bay club competition.

Debate on this article is now closed.

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158 Comments

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- Kaiwaka
03:12 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
Why not allow the kids who left school at the end of 2013 to continue playing for the First XI until the current cricket season ends?

A big part of this problem seems to have been caused by the school year and the cricket season being out of sync.

liam

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03:12 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
What an outrage, I heard no-one got Certificates of Participation too can you believe it

CryptoKiwi

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03:12 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
My opinion? Harden up lads! Playing in a men's grade with their tails up and they happen to get put in their place good and proper by a quality batsman - nothing wrong with that! It's disturbing to think some of these guys will be future Stags and Blackcaps - such mollycoddling from their parents and the 'community' is not going to do them any favors.

You didn't see the English players begging Brian Lara to come off when he scored 400 against them back in 1994! No, they took it on the chin, shook Brian by the hand at the end of his innings and came out and did their best in response. You don't improve with the attitude instilled in these lads - Shame on the parents and those who fail to instill a backbone in their lads (and girls) who play competitive sport at a high level.

Dools

- New Zealand
03:12 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
Boohoo! Stop whinging and dont get your mummy involved, after all you are playing in an open grade.If that grade is too tough for you sooks drop down to the next level.

What doesn't kill you will make you stronger! This is typical of NZ these days where there are no A or B teams in kids sport, but the Tigers and the Penguins etc etc.

Yes it is only a game ,but you learn alot from loses,it is character building.
If this team of whingers and mummys boys had flogged another team by the same margin would we be having this BS discussion?

I think not! Grow up boys.

Chris Murray

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03:12 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
What a load of whingers ! If they are playing in the same division then it is a level playing field. If they are not good enough then go down a division or two. Brian Lara scored 400 in a test match......no one asked him to retire. Absolutely pathetic..... those people who are whinging...with that attitude they will never succeed

Tahu Nikora

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03:11 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
What are the St Johns boys going to learn by other teams being sympathetic of their demolishment, this is what's wrong with society today in that we teach kids that second is just as good as first which is a load of bollocks. I think they learn a lesson that day, and are obviously not meant for that grade.

Eddie Watson

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03:11 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
Yes, but I'd like to think Jonah would not have gone out of his way to humiliate you. That would be like stepping up to you with the ball in his hand, holding it out to you, then pulling it back and laughing at you. You would be still talking about it, but you wouldn't be doing it with any pride, nor would you think much of Jonah. Its true the boys were out of their league, but they will drop down at the end of the session.

Why would he go out of his way to kick the crap out of them like that. As I've said, when you've beaten the man and he's on the ground, only a dog sinks the boot in, a sportsman stops, a true sportsman, a true great sportsman, holds out his hand to help him up. When you've won...you've won. There's no need to keep on kicking into the head, when you've proven the point, move on, you don't always 'harden up' young players with things like this.

A man of his so called legend, should and could have given the lesson and then done something he is obvioulsy not good at, talked. He could have met them after the game and had a chat, instead he chose to humiliate the boys and all he did was show that if he was once a sportsman he certainly no longer qualifies.

Eddie Watson

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03:11 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
I can only repeat what others have said, and I am surprised more don't see it. He could have done what he 'claimed' he was doing, teaching them a lesson, showing them they did not belong. And he could have done it with a lot more sportsmanship.

He did not have to do that to the boys, he could have given them the lesson he wanted to give them without the humiliation. If they are not good enough for the level, they will drop out at the end of the session. And they will, because it is clear they are not up to it. But it is not an ex pro's job to rip them apart like that. He could have done the right thing, given the lesson, and then left, but his ego would not allow it.

When you are are better than the other man, when you've beaten him and his down, that's the end, that's when a true MAN stops, that's when he walks away or even better, that's when he holds out his hand to help him up, when he's proved his point, he doesn't sink the boot in.

That's what he did to the kids, they were down he stuck the boot in. That is not teaching them any lesson a sportsman should be teaching our young. Show respect, teach the lessson, and walk away, they were boys, out of their league yes, but boys.

Eddie Watson

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03:11 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
If they are not good enough to play the level, they will drop down at the end of the session. They did not have to be treated like that by a man that knew before he walked out there they would have no or little chance against him. True 'legends' of the game would not do that to prove a point. You teach the young you do not destroy them. You do not show them that poor sportsmanship is the thing you should look up to.

He could have retired, you want him to play, great, let him play, but a sportsman would have retired not pounded the children into the ground. He has no right to feel any form or pride for what he did. His ego got to him and that is the bottom line, he simply would not leave the feild.

He had won, he had proven his point, you don't kick a man when you've beaten him, when you've won the fight, when you've proven you are better. You prove your point and then you stop.

He kicked those kids to death, they were down and out, finsihed, they had lost, he did not have to go on and on and on. What he shows is that he is the kind of man that would wait for another man to fall and then run in and kick him in the head while he was on the ground. That is what he did to those kids.

Eddie Watson

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03:11 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
Findlay is a disgrace. You can teach young boys to be tough and also to play fair...mate. You don't to it by breaking thier spirt. I doubt that any TRUE cricketer would have done that to a 'boys' team, they are boys, you are or were a pro.

You knew before you walked out there that they had no chance, that is not 'sport', that is not sportsmanship. You are a disgrace to the sport and if anyone (Stirling) has any power at all to stop guttless men like you from doing that again, they should step in and do it.

If not then they too will live in the same box as Findlay and the smell of men like that is hard to wash off. As older sportsmen, we should look to teach the best of our sport to the youngsters. To teach them not only how to play, but 'how' to play, sportsmanship, you can be tough, you can be ruthless, but you should always be a sportsman. You should never do something like that to kids, disgracful.

Grant Falconer

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03:11 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
What a bunch of cry babies. I have been thrashed before in all sorts of sports which serverd as motivation to do better. Its sport, you play to have fun but mostly to win. Crying that you got belted is a losers attitude how embarrassing to have their photos shown.

Jupiter

- Napier
03:10 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
"...high school team captain, James McNatty, had pleaded with him to retire". Shame on St Johns. Pathetic.

Clubcricketfan

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03:10 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
Seems a pretty irresponsible way to prove a point especially considering his position. I'm all for competitve cricket, but it sounds like there is an issue with how this grade is put together. Unfortunately it sounds like it hasn't changed much since I played the grade many years ago.

If your losing young cricketers from the game over it, it can't be right. They may not have 'talent' now but as many grafters know, hard work and a positive playing enviroment can make the difference. Sounds like the only guy enjoying his cricket here is Craig.....

Matt O

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03:10 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
The more I think about this the more annoyed I get. This is beyond just being PC. Parents, schools, and the schoolboys themselves, want their 1st XI playing in mens grade so that they can feel like achievers and be more prestigious.

But they don't want to play by the rules that defines this grade ("play to your best ability"), as they are not really that interested in being good enough, just pretending to be. Where does this strange sense of entitlement and self delusional behaviour come from? I hope this is not be a glimpse of the mainstream NZ to come. ANZACs would be rolling over in their grave.

Matt O

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03:10 pm Tuesday 21 January 2014
After Snr Mens club cricket it goes first class and then international. No wonder NZ cricket is in the state its in if we pander to kids that shouldn't be there in the first place. Its not like Findlay is going into the 1st XI comp and bashing them round. They are choosing to play against adults, with a view that it makes them better and more experienced players.

This would be a classic case of dragging the game to a lower level, and at the expense of keeping much needed older players engaged in the game. Imagine how good and competitive NZ cricket would be if more people played at an older age and showed up and coming youngster what 'good' looked like. This wouldn't even be debated in Rugby.
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