RARELY, if ever, does a cricket side from Orange face a Haka.
But, thanks to the 2016 Western NSW Under 15 Cricket Carnival welcoming its first international side, that’s exactly the chance the Orange Invitational XI was afforded at Riawena Oval on Monday.
Along with a group of enthralled onlookers, the stoic Orange side faced up to the visiting Wakatipu High School’s Haka prior to the two sides’ competition opener.
Led by the passionate Xavier Sadler and taken to with gusto by all of the visiting players, Wakatipu’s challenge - unique to their school - captivated the small crowd at Riawena Oval, reflecting every bit of the passion, beauty and history associated with the Haka.
The Queenstown school is the first international side to contest the tournament since its inception 21 years ago, and somewhat reinvigorates the region’s former reciprocal tour arrangement, which was last conducted when Mitchell Cricket Council’s under 19 side toured Otago in 2008-09.
Wakatipu will perform their Haka once again in the lead up to the carnival’s Select Twenty20 Invitational match-up, where the best of all the sides are split into two teams to take each other on from 5.30pm on Tuesday.