Eastern Suburbs have won the the Pearce Cup Final. The side only needed to draw the match to take back the Pearce Cup for 2016/17. A professional and complete performance from the 14 time champions played out over the 3 days at the Basin Reserve. Knowing that Karori needed to chase the outright victory didnt really change how they played the match and the side was always targeting an outright victory. The ultimate result would have been for Karori to win the toss and have a bowl which would have given them the ability to chase the game and control it slightly more.
In the end Lance Dry won the toss and had no hesitation in asking Karori to have a bat. 4 overs in and Karori lost Harry Wright who was bowled looking to flick one through the leg-side. Both opening bowlers were looking testing and bowled 20 in a row between them. Jacob Bhula came and went very quickly at number 3 feathering an edge off Ricky Joseph through to Lauchie Johns. That bought Sam Noster to the crease who bought his experience to the game and with James Banicevich the pair started to gain some momentum in the innings. They put on 54 for the 3rd wicket with Banicevich passing 50 on along the way. Noster was trapped LBW to the bowling of Jamie Gibson for 23, he too was trying to wipe a ball through the leg side. Jarred Sewell the Karori skipper came to the crease and he and Banicevich guided the side safely through to Lunch. At 115/3 on a green looking track you would have said the game at lunch was very evenly posed.
It was certainly Easts session between lunch and tea though as the side came out with a wee bit more fire. Shortly after lunch they Lance Dry trapped Banicevich infront. While the innings was of great value to Karori and he will have been pleased with his efforts you cant help but think he had done the hard work and a hundred was their for the taking. Karori started to falter. Jono Sole came and went for a quick fire 17. Zankurt Desai went for 1 and Dan Pile while soaking up 44 balls departed for just 7. Jarred Sewell needed a partner to help him out but on 40 he fell himself when he lost his wicket to Jamie Gibson. Gibson quickly finished off the tail and Karori had gone from a position of strength to all out for 194. Jamie Gibson finishing with figures of 4/52 while Peter Connell picked up 3/62 and Lance Dry 2/32 off 20 overs.
Easts chase started brightly as Luke Georgeson and Ben Orton put on 50 in just 12 overs. Orton was the main hitter and was going along nicely at a run a ball including depositing Karoris opening bowler over long off for a big 6. Orton went for 1 shot too many though and was bowled by Mitch Butler on 28. This bought Matt Ansell to the crease. His stay was rather brief as 3 overs later he fended a rising delivery from Henry King to first slip. James Price came to the crease and got off to a nervy start. He somehow managed to survive his first 3 balls which all hit him on the pads and all had furious appeals from the Karori bowler and slips cordon go with them. He settled into his work though and with the help of Georgeson the pair saw the side through to stumps for no further loss and another 47 on the board. Easts ended 104/2 which leaves them 90 behind on the first innings.
Day 2 started brightly for Karori as 8 balls into it they picked up the valuable wicket of Georgeson who was unable to add to his overnight total of 47. Easts were looking to score quickly though and James Price and Jamie Gibson pushed the score along at a quick rate. Karori needed to slow the scoring rate and take wickets so they turned to the spin of Dan Pile. He was immediately successful as he trapped Price in front for 46. Soon after they made it 5 as Jono Sole removed Jamie Gibson for 24. Easts were 157/5 and they needed a partnership.
They got in in Jimad Khan and Lauchie Johns who saw the side through to lunch. The pair batted with pose and composer and survived some very close calls. Johns just managing to get his bat down in time after a tip on from Pile while Khan managed to evade the fielders by the skin of his teeth on a couple of occasions. On 247 Sewell managed to find a little bit in the wicket and Johns was caught by Harry Wright. Andrew Fullerton-Smith prove to be a solid partner for Khan and the pair looked comfortable seeing the side through to 295.
Karori than found some inspiration. Knowing they need to win the match the found some fight. Sole picked up the wickets of Khan and Fullerton-Smith within 3 balls of each other. Khan left for a well made 74 while Fullerton-Smith made 12. Karori quickly wrapped up the tail and Easts were dismissed for 311 giving them a lead of 117. Karori new they needed quick runs if they were to give Easts something to chase and try to bowl them out on day 3. They started well as Harry Wright and James Banicevich put on 53 in just 16 overs. They were looking good too and Easts while not overly worried would have been starting to get a bit nervous. Connell then picked up Banicevich and Karori started to falter a wee bit. They lost the next 3 wickets for just 20 runs. This bought Jono Sole and Jarred Sewell together. These two had the capabilities to take the game by the scruff of the neck and score some quick runs. They started doing this putting on 40 in 10 overs before just 4 overs before stumps Sole was caught down the leg side.
Sewell and Desai managed to get the side to stumps but 5 down with a lead of only 5 the side have a lot to do on day 3. Easts arrived at the Basin Reserve full of confidence on day 3 knowing that if they could get a couple of early wickets they would have a great chance of wrapping the game before lunch. They got just what they were after early as Jarred Sewell was caught on the boundary by Matt Ansell off the bowling of Peter Connell. Most in the ground thought that from here Karori may just roll over but that was not the case. Zankurt Desai and Dan Pile batted responsibly and showed some great grip and determination to continue to push the sides lead. The pair frustrated Eastern Suburbs and put on 96 for the 7th wicket. They gave Karori a bit of a lead but when Pile was on 47 he was caught in the deep trying to go for one too many. They had to take the game to Easts and in this case they were just unlucky it didnt pay off.
Easts toiled hard and it paid off in the end as Desai was the last man out for 66 which gave Karori a lead of 141 meaning Easts would need 142 to win the Pearce Cup. Karori got themselves right back in the match though as the side took two very early wickets to leave Easts 5/2. The second came at a cost though as in the process of effecting the dismal the ball hit captain Jarred Sewell right above the eye before being brilliantly caught by Sam Noster. While the wicket for Karori Sewell needed to head across the road to the after-hours clinic and received 6 stitches. It seemed to just take a bit of fight out of Karori and Easts through Price and Ansell started to wrestle back the momentum. The pair took the side to tea at 100 meaning when they came back they had 8 wickets and only 42 to get. From their it never looked in bought. Price was trapped LBW for 53 just after but Ansell kept up the scoring. He would eventually depart (bowled by Harry Wright) for 52 with just 2 runs required. Jamie Gibson made now mistake 4 balls later and Easts were the victors by 6 wickets. Fitting that Gibson hit the winning runs after taking 9 wickets in the match which included 5/53 in the second innings.
Easts will now depart to Auckland to defend their national club championship title. Karori must be commended on their fight in the final and the young side will be much better for the experience.
Scorecard here – https://www.crichq.com/#matches/500179/2nd_innings