- King’s College 132 all out (65.2 overs) and 181/5 (44 overs)
- Sacred Heart College 217/6 declared (66 overs)
Debut: Cameron Jerram
Final match: Menake Ratnayake
King's won the toss and batted. Sacred Heart College (SHC) bowled superbly and hardly gave the hosts any opportunity to get going. In total there were 21 maiden overs in the 59 overs bowled by the visitors - showing good control and economy. King’s did get off to a promising start though with the opening pair posting 37 runs when Douglas was trapped in front in the 14th over. Hardy showed a lot of resilience and was looking comfortable against the best of the visitors attack before he was dismissed in the same way as his opening partner but by the fast man Avery. At 66/2, in the 26th over, a target of 200 seemed a certainty but when Payle got a nick to the impressive Avery shortly thereafter, the target became that much harder. This was a match defining wicket as Payle was looking in good touch and has been the main run-getter for the team this year.
It was time for the middle order to step up, something they struggled to do this year. Nash looked totally out-of-sorts and was dismissed in the 39th over (87/4) and now 180 became an unrealistic target. McLean’s 60 ball vigil saw him score 13 before he was packed off (102/5) and Salmon was needlessly run out going for a non-existent single which left Wilson with the task of shepherding the tail. Wilson was building an innings but on 17 (119/7) he too lost his wicket in the most unforgiving fashion, failing to make ground in going for an unnecessary single when crease occupancy was vital. Meanwhile H Fletcher, the opposition skipper, kept tightening the noose with superb marshalling of his troops, urging them to press home their domination of the home team batsmen whilst sending down 18 overs on the trot of perfect-length spin, reeling out maiden over after maiden over till King’s was all out for a disappointing 132 runs in 66 overs. Fletcher bowled 13 maidens in his 21 overs to claim 2 wickets for a miserly 20 runs. Five of King’s batsmen got ‘starts’ but none of them showed the temperament to graft out something significant.
In defence of this mediocre score, King’s had the perfect start when Van Riele sent two back in quick succession to have SHC reeling at 6/2 at the start of the 3rd over. The young SHC opener MacKinnon, who was playing in only his second match at this level, was joined by the perfect partner in the experienced, talented and brilliant Jack Coman. Together, they stabilised the innings and slowly built a decent partnership of 52 by the end of Day One to bring themselves within 74 runs of the home teams total with 8 wickets intact. The match was still fairly even at this stage and King’s had a lot to play for on Day Two. The injured St John was clearly a missing ingredient. Cameron Jerram on debut started off well including a maiden in his first spell but the experienced Coman proved too good at this level and the big fast bowler was pulled out of the attack after conceding 17 runs off his 5 overs, perhaps too long a spell for him at this level. Nevertheless, he’s done enough to be persisted with and I look forward to seeing him breathing fire at the Auckland Grammar School batsmen in the next match.
After ending Day One in complete control at 58 for 2, just 74 runs behind King's paltry 132, Sacred Heart's young opener A MacKinnon and veteran Jack Coman pressed home the advantage. On a good batting strip, this pair continued to operate positively and after 18 overs had taken the score to 124 (8 runs behind) when MacKinnon lost his wicket. This young batsmen still has 2 years of high school left and demonstrated maturity, skill, temperament and courage well beyond his tender years. The brilliant Coman continued to dominate the home attack and was beginning to display a wide range of strokes, including 3 audacious reverse sweeps. He picked up the pace after his half-century and shifted into over-drive after his well-deserved century. SHC declared during lunch at 217 for 6 with Coman undefeated on 147. Mabin and McCulloch shared the other 3 wickets to fall but both came in for rough treatment from the opposition batting star.
With the second half of the match underway after lunch on Day Two, SHC was ahead by 85 runs and began to push for an outright win. To stave off outright defeat King’s had to bat long and hard – much harder than they did in their first dig. At 6 for 2 in the 4th over it looked like SHC would romp home and when King’s best batsman Tristan Payle was bowled by the spinner Westerlund in the 16th over, King’s was still 38 runs adrift and hopes of staving off an outright loss was beginning to disappear as the middle order, lacking the presence of an injured William St John was deemed to be brittle. McLean ran himself out when he was beginning to blossom and with 4 wickets lost, an innings defeat was starting to take shape. Mitchell Nash and Sam Wilson came together with the job of patching things up. Luckily for King’s, Gibson and Coman the dangerous opening pair, had to be rested and the pacy Aston Avery was nearing the end of his first spell, allowing the enigmatic Nash to prosper. The skipper is a good player of spin and his positivity helped him to race away to the quickest half-century of the match (38 balls) whilst Wilson dug himself in bravely at the other end. Coman returned to the attack and got rid of Nash with his second delivery – a poor shot at this stage of the innings when a century was there for the taking and the lead a mere 32 runs. When Salmon weakly skied one to mid-wicket it seemed like defeat was closer but fortunately for the batsman, the fielder dropped a sitter. It also turned out to be a no-ball. Salmon prospered thereafter and Wilson mixed sound defence with well-chosen strokes to build a match-saving partnership of 64 before both captains decided to call the game off. Salmon batted well after his let-off and Wilson showcased his class – both batsmen coming into some well-needed form for next week’s clash against Auckland Grammar School, away.
At the end of play Menake Ratnayake, featuring in his final game, was clapped by his team mates as he led them off the field. The medium pacer has been a useful opening bowler and must be congratulated on maintaining his place in the First XI after debuting at the start of the year at the Quad Festival Tournament in Christchurch. From the beginning, he performed admirably and was the most reliable and selfless team member – a real gentleman of King’s College. A highlight of his contribution was the 5 wickets he claimed against Mount Albert Grammar School in Term One.
|G Hardy||27||C Douglas||15|
|T Payle||24||H McLean||13|
|M Nash||8||S Wilson||17|
|F Salmon||2||W MacCulloch||4|
|C Mabin||0||M Ratnayake||6|
|J van Riele||0 not out|
|J van Riele||10-5-13-2||M Ratnayake||5-2-16-0|
|C Jerram||8-1-37-0||C Douglas||9-4-8-0|
|C Mabin||14-1-55-2||H McLean||10-0-45-0|
|M Nash||2-0-14-0||W MacCulloch||8-0-26-1|
|G Hardy||3||C Douglas||2|
|T Payle||16||H McLean||26|
|M Nash||64||S Wilson||23 not out|
|F Salmon||39 not out|