The misty drizzle shrouded Burnside oval early on Saturday – dark & gloomy clouds hanging low in the sky and threatening a 2nd successive wash-out for most cricket to start the season.
But that hadn’t stopped Bussy from making the bike ride from Buchanans Road and chatting excitedly about the rugby league season and which way the boundary flags should point to make them the most difficult to see from the field.
Our Championship 2nd’s spent a couple of hours taking covers of then putting them back on again every time the groundsman looked skywards but the wind finally blew the last of the drizzle away and they agreed to commence their match against Lancaster Park at 12pm.
That same groundsman has chosen to hand water the No: 1 deck on Friday as the week’s predicted rain had never eventuated – so Matt Janett saw enough in the surface to insert Park once he won the toss, in a match reduced to 40 overs each.
Park started cautiously as Hunter Rowe claimed the 1st wicket in just his 3rd over . Then came a brisk partnership from Park which lifted them to 44/1 off 10 overs. The introduction of spin on the drying surface brought a change of fortunes as firstly Harry Wilson (1/21) and later Scott Kitto (4/16) ensured wickets fell regularly.
Despite Park opener Nathan Wingman digging in to top score with 28 our lads kept the pressure on eventually dismissing them for just 109 in the 33rd over. Will Kennedy & Jack Morrow each took 2 wickets as well while Alex Heenan’s screamer of a catch in the cordon typified the standard of grounds-fielding on the park.
In reply the Park lads smelt blood early – with Heenan & Aspell dismissed cheaply to reduce the home side to 13/2 off 9. Tom Dunlop (17) and Alex Tait righted the ship before James Naylor took 3 wickets to claw Park back into the contest.
Alex Tait’s 44 was the best of the match but the evergreen Patrick ‘Paddy’ Sullivan returned with his left-arm fast to claim his and other wickets – causing a few fingernails to get chewed sideline as BWC slumped to 99/9.
Harry Wilson (6 not out) and Hunter Rowe (4 not out) scratched and scrambled the required 11 runs however as the home side banked the points in as thrilling contest.
A late morning roll of damp pitches on 2 & 4, followed by a brisk sou’wester, saw 2 belter’s produced – and it’s only October. On 2 the Hustlers enjoyed the hard & fast surface as they amassed a handy 160 odd off their 20 overs.
I don’t have the specifics at hand but understand one of our T20 tyros copped a bouncer to the head at one point – no doubt it had little effect on cruiser consumption post game however.
In reply Saints Cavs were never in the contest and they faltered to 90 all out inside their overs.
No: 4 has always been the groundman’s favourite and he rolled out an absolute road for the Foxes to take on Hornby in President’s grade action.
The newly introduced orange ball in the grade was entitled to be eyed cautiously initially but Marty Conway had other ideas – dispatching it to all parts (including an 80+ metre effort into a neighbouring property) in a quick-fire 30 to get his season underway.
Once he departed Jordan Buchanan joined new Presidents’ recruit Steve ‘War Machine’ McKean – as the pair added 77 in quick time. When Buchanan (37) departed McKean pressed on with the skipper – raising his maiden Presidents half-century in his 1st innings.
His 71 was a mix of classy stroke play and brute force – lifting the Foxes to 158/3 in the 23rd and nicely placed to launch.
A flurry of boundaries and wickets followed as the home side pressed on – Jeff Roy’s rapid 25 including 2 sixes and launching the Foxes through to 236/9 off the 40 overs. In reply Horny;s openers played positively to post 49 for the 1st wicket before Burny Martin (2/27) exerted his influence.
A series of solid scores through the middle order saw Horny nicely placed at 165/4 and needing 8’s off the last 9 overs.
The return of Stenchy Twaddell put paid to their chances as he took 3 wickets in 5 balls. He had taken a bit of stick just prior so his 3/37 was fair reward for perseverance as the Foxes pulled Honby back and they limped through to 211/9 from the overs.
Our top side traveled to the picturesque Heathcote Domain to take on the newly promoted home side in the 1st Senior game to be played at that venue under the current structure.
The mornings weather was localised to individual suburbs and Heathcote appeared to have coped OK as play got underway on a greenish surface.
It is assumed that Skipper Carl Huyser won the toss as Heathcote were given 1st use of the surface. Josh Peake, returning from a stint playing in the UK and slotting into the No: 1 fast bowlers role with the retirements of club legends Inglis & Farrant, repaid the Coach’s faith with 2 quick wickets to put the home side immediately on the back foot.
Tom Zohrab, at 1st change, grabbed 2/20 before Matt Hay tore the heart out of the middle order with 3/23. Fellow spinners Howard & Carlaw also took 3 between them in support of Hay as Heathcote hobbled to 97 all out inside 33 overs.
With the loss of Zohrab and the skipper fairly early it fell to Steve Murdoch (24) and JJ Naude (21) to steady things before they, along with Matt Hay, departed to prime the nerves slightly at 69/5.
Mr Dependable – Mitchell Hay – took up the challenge with a pacey 27 off just 12 balls (including 3 sixes) and, despite the loss of Joel Williams at 74, he and Sam Carlaw saw our Prems through to the total inside 20 overs to claim the bonus point win.
Division 2 Lions (3rds)
A rejuvenated 3rd’s side. having been shown some much needed love by the club and bolstered as a result of new season recruiting, traveled to Hillsborough Domain to also take on Heathcote.
New Skipper Henk Huyser chose to field and opened with McKenzie and Scott – the latter claiming the 1st opposition wicket at 33. Then Henk himself, at 1st change, turned things on their head with a stunning spell of bowling – claiming 6/18 off 9 overs and single-handedly destroying the Heathcote lineup.
5 of his victims were bowled and 1 only managed to get a leg in the way as Jared Weston’s 3/9 was well & truly overshadowed by Henk’s golden spell.
In response – Aaden Mikaera opened with Jaco Huyser. The latter was the only wicket to fall – knicked out for a patient 9 – before Scott Finlayson joined Aaden to rollick home inside 18 overs.
Mikaera’s 46 not out, off 47 balls, included 6 boundaries and was not far off matched by Scott’s run a-ball 33 which involved 5. A great confidence boosting win 1st up for our Lions and they will have big numbers at training again this week to continue the momentum.
Division 4 Boomers
A new look Boomers side rocked up to Elmwood 3 to meet the OBC Cavs. A sudden surge of fertility has struck the usual “closed team” Boomers crew this season – with several players largely unavailable due to pending additions to the Family or other commitments.
The Club has stepped in to fill that space – taking on statutory management of the side for the season and assigning a multitude of new recruits to fill vacancies in the line up.
New Co-Captain Jonno Moss mustered the side for some catching practice before they took up batting duties 1st up on the Elmwood turf. Mike Chun took an immediate liking to conditions with a useful 40 before the other Co-Captain Sunnie Gogia got into his stride with a bruising 53 not out (6 fours and a single six in that).
Jay Sran also joined the party with a rapid 37 (5 fours / 1 six) as the Boomers posted a challenging 176/5.
In reply OBC started positively enough but were soon up against it as Jonno Moss used the new ball to good effect in delivering the 1st 3 wickets for his side (3/31 off his 8).
Throw in wickets from Mike Banks and Sran, stir in a couple of run outs and then garnish with some Cric HQ confusion – and you’ve got yourself an OBC team falling 31 short at 145 at the close. Great stuff Jonno, Sunnie and the lads!
Division 3 Cannons
El Capitan Peters led the Whangaparoa Pony Club Cannons over to deepest, darkest Richmond to take on their home side at that odd little park.
Batting 1st only Footie Foote (16) and Tom Batty (38) made double figures – the rest of the innings appearing a procession of single figure scores as the Cannons were reduced to 101 all out in the 37th.
In reply Richmond likewise struggled – losing regular wickets as the Cannons fought through Knowlesie and Big Red Grimshaw, who each claimed 2 wickets.
CP inserted himself into the game at 4th change – claiming top-scorer Herd for 42, then threatening to clean up the tail with a further 2 knicked out to keeper Taser.
But it wasn’t to be as Richmond hobbled home – 8 down in the 39th over.
Over at Nunweek the Dubai Diamond Traders posted a sound early win against their Riccarton Hogs rivals. Braces from Greg Knowles, Alex Ryan & Mack Finlayson assisted in restricting the Hogs to 88 all out inside the 20 overs.
In reply Simon Calder saw the side through with 40 not out as an opener – support from Tinning (17) and Finlayson (14 no) seeing the job done in the 15th over.
Over at Denton Park our Believers batted 1st against Hornby – with Curtis McNaughton pumping a few around the park en route to a 44 not out in the number 4 spot.
Assisted by a 20 from Alex Gregg the lads posted 119/5 off their 20.
Despite Scotty Reid claiming 4/23 the Hornby side wasn’t to be denied a victory on home soil and they reached the total with 6 balls to spare.
See you on the park next week when Juniors also commence for the season!