The final was delicately poised late on day three when play was postponed for bad light at 4.40 pm, with Easts requiring another 30 runs to win and Hutt District requiring another 2 wickets to secure outright victory and get their hands on the trophy.
In retaining the Pearce Cup, Easts won Wellington cricket’s major club cricket prize for the 12th time in the past 13 seasons and end season 2013-14 holding all three Wilkinson Insurance Brokers Cricket Wellington Premier club cricket trophies, the Pearce Cup, the Twenty20 Cup and the Ewen Chatfield One-Day competition title.
They now head to Auckland this week to contest the national One-Day club cricket championship.
As well as the three Premier titles, Easts also end the season still holding the Cook Shield, a challenge Shield up for grabs at the holder’s home games. Easts’ Cook Shield reign has now spanned six seasons and 38 successful defences.
The club also won Cricket Wellington’s Premier Reserve competition this season, the Alan Issac Trophy.
The Pearce Cup final at the Basin was played in bright sunshine over the first two days. Previously forecast adverse weather finally caught up to the match late on day three when the skies darkened and bad light brought an early finish.
Easts were 176 for 8 when play was stopped, 206 to win. In turn, Hutt District were hunting for the last two wickets after previously capturing three wickets for one run to see Easts fall from 114 for 3 to 115 for 6.
They then lost their 8th wicket with the score on 151 and still 57 runs in arrears but Jeremy Dean (36 not out) and captain Lance Dry (1 not out off 34 balls) carried them safely to the game’s premature conclusion.
As befitting the pattern of most Pearce Cup finals, the final had been low scoring but hard fought throughout.
Hutt District batted first on Friday, making 222. Captain Kieron Lennon led the way for Hutt with 66 not out, while several players made starts. Dry took 3 for 42 for Easts to lift his wicket tally for the season to 57.
Opener Ben Orton held Easts top order together in their first innings, making 52. Lower down, Scott Golder (35) and Andrew Fullerton-Smith (37) helped Easts up towards the 200 mark and Dry and Joesph put on a valuable 21 for the last wicket as Easts were dismissed for 217. Adam Williams took for 4 for 56 and Kyle Hitchman 3 for 50.
With a first innings lead of 5, Hutt District went into bat a second time and were dismissed for exactly 200.
Lennon again was the mainstay, making 61 off 92 balls in an innings that twice threatened to derail. First, Hutt fell from 48 for 2 to 52 to 4. Second, after regrouping, Hutt found themselves 147 for 8 and 164 for 9 after Lennon’s departure. But Ian McPeake (30 off 37) and Will Brunton added a valuable 36 for the last wicket.
Jamie Gibson took 5 for 78 off 19 overs for Easts in Hutt’s second innings.
The pendulum swung Hutt’s way early in Easts chase for 206 to win, with Firebirds opener Josh Brodie dismissed without scoring.
The top and middle order, led by Lauchie Johns (57) fought back, but Johns’ dismissal triggered a mini collapse and Easts were now 116 for 7. Dean and Malaesaili Tugaga took Easts to 151 for 8 when Dry joined Dean at the crease.
This pair then blunted Hutt’s bowling to ensure a drawn result and another title for their trophy cabinet.
To view the Pearce Cup online scorecard go here