Last Action Signs Off 2017-18 Season

The 2017-18 New Zealand cricket season formally ended this week with the National Club Championships played at Auckland’s Cornwall Park. The Wellington region were represented by Rothbury Wilkinson Ewen Chatfield Cup winners, Onslow, who played some brilliant cricket when the city of sails wasn’t been battered by storms.

After the first two days saw action restricted to cards and changing room cricket, Onslow finally got on the park against Dunedin’s North East Valley. The opening pair of Alex Ridley and Daniel Rose did the early damage, with NEV’s innings spiralling out of control with five batsmen back in the sheds – including BLACKCAP Jimmy Neesham – and only 8 runs on the board. Things didn’t improve when spin came on as Wellington Firebird, Malcolm Nofal claimed a hat-trick and the southerners were bundled out for 42. In reply, Andrew Fletcher hit 28* as Onslow cruised to a 7-wicket win.

The next day also saw play, with Pukekohe Metro ahead on the infamous Cornwall No 3. While the ground’s short boundaries saw the Pukekohe batsmen hit 11 sixes, Onslow’s bowlers did a superb job too bowl them out for 189. Nofal again led the bowlers with three wickets while captain Sean O’Connor, Calvin Harrison, and Daniel Rose all chipped in with deuces. With the game in the balance at 52 for 4, Harrison (55) and Nofal combined in a stand worth 95 to lead Onslow to another solid win and the top of the table. Nofal finished 68*.

Rain returned on the penultimate day of competition, leaving Onslow as top qualifier to face Napier Tech Old Boys for the title on the final day. Onslow won the toss, which they had done in their two previous games, and opted to bat, going against their earlier choices. While Fletcher and Tim Robinson got the side off to a good start, they both fell for 20 and it was only some late resistance from Jack Sargentina that got them beyond 100 – all out for 108 in the rain-reduced game. While Alex Ridley claimed a couple of quick wickets to keep the game interesting, Central Stag, Christian Leopard drove his side home with an unbeaten 60.

Congratulations to Onslow on their second-place finish in the tournament.

Over the first week of April, Cricket Wellington hosted a number of finals on the Basin Reserve with winners crowned for various competitions across the age-grades. Here’s a summary of the action.

Pearce Cup

Eastern Suburbs and Johnsonville drew in the Pearce Cup final over Easter, seeing Eastern Suburbs retain the Pearce Cup for the 15th time in 17 seasons – a remarkable achievement.

Having won the toss and opted to bowl, Johnsonville had some early success with Zac Ringrose claiming both openers inside 11 overs. From that point, however, it was mostly one-way traffic as Easts compiled 550 with Jamie Gibson and Lachie Johns both hitting centuries. Only the players in positions #1 and #11 in the batting order didn’t reach double figures for Easts.

In reply, Johnsonville made 208 with Hashan Goonetilleke blasting more than 50% of those runs in making 111 off 97 balls. Peter Connell was Easts best with the ball on the stats sheet, claiming a 5-wicket bag.

Easts chose to go in to bat again, knowing a draw would secure them the trophy as top qualifier, reaching 208 for 9 before handshakes. The second innings saw BLACKCAPS’ Under 19 representative Luke Georgeson add a Basin Reserve century to his CV while Dominic McAlister put a 5-wicket bag on his.

In the end, the match saw four centuries scored while the bowlers played a role, collecting two 5-wicket bags. A special moment for all the players to have made their mark playing on the historic Basin Reserve.

New Zealand Secondary Schools Qualifying Finals

The qualifying finals for the New Zealand Secondary Schools competition saw two comprehensive wins. In the boys competition, Wellington College 1st XI beat St Patricks Silverstream by 120 runs while Tawa College Girls 1st XI continued their history of success in the competition when they beat Wellington Girls 1st XI by 95 runs. Both schools will now represent the Wellington region in the National finals in November & December.

NZ Primary Schools Cup and Shield Finals

In the New Zealand Primary Schools Cup qualifying, Raroa Boys narrowly beat Hutt International Boys by 16 runs in the semi-final. Facing Wellesley in the final, Raroa backed this performance up to win by 25 runs. In the NZ Primary Schools Shield competition, Raroa’s Girls XI maintained the school’s impressive record, beating Evans Bay Intermediate by 7 wickets. Both schools will now represent the Wellington region in the National finals in November & December.