- King’s College 63 all out (31.1 overs) and 17/2 (7.4 overs)
- Auckland Grammar School 244 all out (90.3 overs)
In the final game of the season, King’s had lots to play for with more than half the team featuring in their farewell match. If losing the toss was a bad omen then King’s was in for a forgettable day. The home team ground their way to 244 runs in 90.3 overs, making the visitors toil long and hard in the field. Apart from McLean who scalped 6 wickets for 67 in 24 overs, the other front-line bowlers were punished for their lack of penetration and profligacy. The batsmen were too often gifted easy singles and boundaries, allowing them to settle comfortably in the middle. None of the seamers bowled with the discipline needed on an unresponsive wicket – a nagging length to dry up the runs and force the batsmen into errors. Even St John, the most penetrative of the pace bowlers in recent times, was wasteful in his fourth spell, possibly due to fatigue. After 12 overs Auckland Grammar School (AGS) was looking untroubled with 34 runs on the board and both openers seeming well settled, forcing the captain to resort to spin. By the end of the innings the spinners sent down 53 of the 91 overs, ensuring that there was plenty of time left in the day for the AGS bowlers to have a crack at the King’s top-order.
Instead of pursuing the massive target on Day Two, King’s had to face 10 overs in fading light with the opposition bowlers on a high, knowing that with a big chase they could go all out on attack and rest up for a week before resuming again. The powerfully built Jack Dymond was causing havoc with his sharp off-cutters at testing pace and both King’s openers were sent packing, with the help of the umpire, before the third over was completed. McLean, batting at four, was out for a 13 ball duck and Mabin, the night-watchman lasted just 5 balls, courtesy of Dymond – 4 down in the 8th over and St John joining Payle with their backs to the wall. At 15 for 4, surely these two would see out the 10 remaining balls and live to fight another day. St John safely manoeuvred the remaining 4 balls of Dymond’s over and not satisfied with 4 wickets AGS experimented with the young spinner Leggat in the final over of the day. Tristan took a single of the first ball allowing the in-form St John to do battle against Leggat. St John defended 3 balls well and needed to see through just two more. The penultimate ball of the day saw St John stuck in his crease a disastrous start turned into a nightmare as he edged a regulation catch to first slip. With 4 capable batsmen still available King’s had a big fight on their hands to save the game and Day Two would certainly provide an opportunity to define the season.
A week later and plenty of rain was forecast. Would the weather come to King’s rescue? With Payle, Nash, Wilson and Salmon still there, did King’s need rescuing? MacCulloch at 10, if needed, is no slouch either. The rain-delayed start meant that there would be just 70 overs in the day and with play starting at 11.45am, just 45 minutes to the safety of lunch. With rain expected to play a major part in post-lunch proceedings, the result was still in doubt. Out strode the elder-statesmen of the King’s First XI, the skipper Nash and his deputy Payle – a duo of proven battlers. A lot hinged on this partnership and the first few overs. Both settled in comfortably, judiciously selecting balls to block, pull, drive or leave until the 7th over of the day when C Watson got the umpire’s nod of approval for a half-hearted shout and the seething Nash trudged back. Two overs later and the unfortunate Wilson was adjudged to be trapped in front as AGS were appealing for anything that looked like hitting the pads, seeing that it was quite likely to get the umpire's approval. In the meantime the dogged Payle was building an innings of substance in search of a mini-milestone. Now he had the in-form Salmon as a partner. Could they take the team safely through to lunch? Salmon looked composed for 8 balls before he played a silly shot to a knee-high full-toss and was caught at long-on. MacCulloch joined Payle and this pair saw out the remaining overs safely to the break. At this stage only rain would prevent AGS from gaining a well-deserved first-innings win.
After lunch the battle to save a first-innings loss continued with Payle punishing loose deliveries and MacCulloch showing a semblance of resilience. This pair came together at 26 for 8 and took the score to 37 at lunch and were starting to build a respectable partnership when MacCulloch mis-timed a pull and threw away his wicket after showing so much promise. Van Riele was the last batsman in at 53 for 9. Payle had no option but to hit out but also lost his wicket tamely when he was caught trying to blast a ball through covers but mistimed the drive.
King’s suffered the ignominy of following-on and rain saved further embarrassment when play was called off at 17 for 2 in the 8th over.
It was the most unceremonious finish to their schoolboy cricketing careers for Nash, Payle, McLean, Van Riele, MacCulloch and Salmon but less so for Jerram who recently debuted. Nevertheless, this is a perfect opportunity to pay homage to these fine young men for their services to cricket at King’s College. Some great memories I nostalgically rekindle are listed below:
- Nash: A comeback 50 v Saint Kentigern College and 64 (49 balls) v Sacred Heart College
- Payle: 107 v Takapuna Grammar School, 61 v Rosmini College, 232 aggregate runs in 2015 and a century at Quad 2015
- McLean: 4/26 v Takapuna Grammar School, 6/67 v Auckland Grammar School, 15 wickets (2015), 34 wickets 2014), Quad 2014 bowler of the tournament
- VanRiele: 3/6 (7 overs) v Liston College
- MacCulloch: 5/14 v Rangitoto College
- Salmon: 39 v Sacred Heart College, 54 v Saint Kentigern College (2014)
Sincere thanks to the team of 2015 and the parent helpers co-ordinated by Sue Nash for their role in providing comfort and sustenance to the players. We now look ahead to a new-look First XI, captained by William St John, with the first outing of 2016 at the Quadrangular Tournament in Sydney.
|G Hardy||0||C Douglas||1|
|T Payle||39||H McLean||0|
|C Mabin||1||W St John||0|
|M Nash||3||S Wilson||0|
|F Salmon||2||W MacCulloch||7|
|J Van Riele||0 not out|
|J van Riele||10-1-43-1||W St John||18-1-61-2|
|C Jerram||5-0-10-0||C Douglas||3-0-7-0|
|W MacCulloch||18.1-8-30-1||H McLean||24-4-67-6|
|C Mabin||10.2-4-16-0||S Wilson||2-0-10-0|
|G Hardy||0||T Payle||16|
|C Douglas||0 not out||H McLean||0 not out|