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Round One results: NZCT National Club Cricket Championship

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Napier Technical Old Boys have made a power start to their NZCT National Club Championship defence with a 10-wicket round one win over Greerton that was over before the lunch dishes had been put away.

Bowling first on the Cornwall number one ground, the "Texans" took advantage of early swing to roll the team from Tauranga for just 71 in 31.1 overs.

Captain Liam Rukuwai put himself on an early unconverted hat-trick that was averted by number four Brett Hampton. Morten Freer would also put himself on an unconverted hat-trick later on in the same innings, and with a top individual offering of just 18, Greerton was just never in the contest.

Freer finished with 4-11 off his six overs and Rukuwai, Todd Watson and Jayden Lennox each picked up a brace before NTOB openers Christian Leopard and Matt Edmondson bashed their way to the target in just 7.4 overs.

Dunedin’s Green Island meanwhile celebrated their return to Nationals by stunning Parnell to the tune of a 185-run victory on the number three ground.

Sent in, Green Island recovered from the loss of big early wickets thanks to a century from Otago Volt Christi Viljoen who pummelled the short straight boundaries, the smallest of the three Cornwall ovals.

Batting at six, Viljoen slammed the first hundred of the tournament off just 87 balls (10x4, 5x6) and reached 116 before he became the last man to fall, trapped LBW by Nikith Perera (3-28) in the 45th over with the Green Island tally having reached 308.

Parnell’s tough day at the office continued with the bat, reduced to 28/5 inside the first seven overs of the reply as esrtwhile Volt Blair Soper made a searing start with the ball.

Soper (4-27) produced a peach to trap opening batsman Flynn McGregor-Sumpter with just his second delivery and from there things quickly spiralled out of control for the Aucklanders. Auckland Ace Ben Horne provided some resistance with his 39 at number four, but he lacked support and, after his departure at 89 for seven, the team was bowled out for 123 in 25.5 overs.

Green Island will be back on the number three ground in tomorrow’s second round.

The closest match of the round by far was a thriller on number two between Wellington’s Eastern Suburbs and Christchurch’s St Albans. The two strong teams wrestled until the penultimate over of the match, when "Easts" needed just one more wicket and St Albans just two more runs for victory.

Sent in, Easts had set St Albans a chase of 217 after the Wellingtonians were all out on the stroke of 50 overs. Two-time Player of the Tournament Jamie Gibson top-scored with 55, and would go on to claim two wickets. But it was two wickets in the space of three deliveries from Wellington Firebird Michael Bracewell - far better known for his batting than his off-spinners - that brought Easts back into the contest.

The "Saints" had been well set at 139 for two, the opening pair of Dan Sharples (53 off 30) and Greg Dawson (61 off 85) having both produced half centuries in a flying start to the chase. First drop James O’Gorman looked to be carrying on their fine work before Bracewell produced his double strike in the 26th over. From there Easts began to make regular breakthroughs until they had their quarry nine down after Ili Tugaga picked up his second wicket with St Albans still needing another four runs, off 16 balls. But their number eleven, Aaron Johnstone - the club’s most capped player - couldn’t find a run off Tugaga’s remaining four balls in the over.

A single to Bailen Thatcher and then a wide conceded by Easts captain Lance Dry in the 49th brought them closer, before Johnstone managed to scramble a two to win the nailbiting match by one wicket with eight balls to spare.

NZCT National Club Cricket Championship

Cornwall Cricket Club, Auckland

2-7 April 2019

Round Two

10am, Wednesday 3 April 2019

St Albans v Parnell, Cornwall Park Number One

Napier Technical Old Boys v Eastern Suburbs, Cornwall Park Number Two

Green Island v Greerton, Cornwall Park Number Three

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