Tamahere’s Scott Kuggeleijn and Daryl Mitchell have been mates since they were 10 years old.
On Saturday night, the two sons of famous Waikato sporting identities teamed up to see the Northern Knights home in the final of the domestic Twenty20 cricket competition in Hamilton.
The duo combined for some dynamic late batting as ND beat the Otago Volts by five wickets at Seddon Park, reports the Waikato Times.
Chasing Otago’s 143 for five, the Knights ended up winning with an over to spare after Mitchell top-scored with 46 not out off 42 balls and Kuggeleijn walloped an unbeaten 22 off seven to qualify ND as New Zealand’s representative in the lucrative Champions League.
The 22-year-olds have sporting success running in their veins.
Mitchell is the son of former All Blacks coach and Waikato rugby captain John Mitchell, while Kuggeleijn’s father, Chris, played cricket for New Zealand, and is used by the Knights as an assistant coach after previously being the side’s head coach.
“It’s good to have him come out and give me a big hug after we had finished,” Kuggeleijn said of his dad. “It’s cool and I’m just excited to be home, and this is awesome.”
Having grown up here, Kuggeleijn made his first-class debut for Wellington, where he spent two seasons, before returning for this one, while Mitchell shifted to Perth with his family before gaining a Knights contract for the 2011-2012 season.
“My grandparents and my little sister were all here, so it was cool to have them,” Mitchell said.
“Mum still lives in Perth and Dad lives in South Africa – I haven’t seen my dad for a long time to be honest. But it’s cool to have my granddad here especially.
“He comes down to every game and he’s a big supporter, so it’s probably for him to be honest.”
ND will now have to make their way through a qualification tournament immediately prior to the Champions League, which will be played in September-October in either India or South Africa.
“It’s exciting exposure for ND Cricket and New Zealand Cricket obviously. It’s going to be awesome and I can’t wait to get over there,” Kuggeleijn said.