27 Feb 2024

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Read on to learn how our First XI cricket team did over the weekend.


Saturday 24 February 2024

Auckland Grammar – 150/8 in 50 overs

King’s College – 152/7 in 47.5 overs

Jack Hernon (Year 13, Selwyn), playing in his 10th premier competition match, was once again thrust with the responsibility of shepherding the less experienced batters in a tough chase on a challenging track at Auckland Grammar. Having ground their way to 150 runs in their allotted overs, Grammar seemed happy they had enough runs to dictate terms. King’s lost Sam Bamford (Year 11, Major) in the 2nd over, but Tom Nelson (Year 12, Marsden) got into his work easily and picked on loose deliveries to make good use of the first power-play. Varnan Pasupati (Year 12, Greenbank) showed sound technique and temperament to keep out Grammar’s quick bowlers, who were bowling demanding spells at a good pace. Nelson was removed in the 10th over with the score on 31/2. It seemed like Pasupati and skipper Morgan Tapper (Year 13, St John’s) would safely manoeuvre the innings into drinks without further damage when the former, who was growing in confidence, especially against the brilliant leg-spinner Harry Waite, miscued a drive and was caught at long off. Less than two overs later, the hero of Macleans, Tom Boucher (Year 12, Greenbank), was caught in the covers – 49/4, and Hernon joined Tapper. Could Hernon continue his good form with the bat, or would the pressure from the excellent Grammar attack be too much to cope with? This pair put on a small but valuable partnership of 23 runs in just over 13 overs when Tapper succumbed to a searing yorker to be adjudged LBW. Aekkam Sarao (Year 11, Parnell) came in at #7 with almost 80 runs required in 18 overs on a tough track, with the Grammar bowlers causing lots of discomfort. In his 3rd appearance, Sarao immediately settled in and demonstrated wonderful composure and a sound technique to repel the bowlers initially and then masterfully rotate the strike to allow Hernon to face most of the bowling. Hernon, recognising the durability of Sarao, realised that he did not have to take risks and merely played each ball on its merit as the younger batter fed him the strike at every opportunity. Unfortunately, as he was nearing an impressive and exciting half-century, Hernon was dismissed by playing a risky stroke.

This match was an almighty arm-wrestle from the beginning, but with Hernon’s dismissal, Grammar had finally taken a strangle-hold on proceedings with the score on 122/6; the 29 runs required seemed a long way off, especially with the impressive AGS pace-quartet having overs in the bag and the wind in their sails. Sarao soon followed for a valuable and impressive 15 runs – 126/7. This brought Malcolm Barrow (Year 11, School) and Tim Hamilton (Year 13, Marsden) into the battle. Meanwhile, Hernon was watching from the dugout, pads still on, visibly upset with himself for going out the way he had. This was a massive game for King’s, having lost the previous two encounters in the 2023 edition of the competition and the Year 13 players such as Tapper, Hernon, Finn Priddy (Year 13, Marsden) and Hamilton felt the pressure of the whole school on their shoulders and were desperate for victory. 2023 was a lean year for King’s College in all premier fixtures against AGS. Hamilton and Barrow were in the cauldron, playing and missing a lot against the impressive trio of pace bowlers tasked with the final overs. Harry Sixton, arguably the fastest bowler in the competition, was sending alarm bells amongst the high-spirited King’s supporters who occupied the shade of the southern end of the ground. Five runs in the 45th over took the score to 131, with 20 runs required in 24 balls. Ben Lucas, the Auckland U17 representative, conceded just two runs in the 46th over, with Barrow playing and missing regularly – 18 runs required of 24 balls, three wickets in hand, the tension was growing by the second. Who was going to blink first?! Sixton, another of the Auckland representative players in the AGS squad, bowled the 47th over, conceding just two runs – 16 runs required off 18 balls. AGS were in complete control now and both Barrow and Hamilton felt the pressure building another notch. The pace bowlers grabbed full control of this match. Lucas came back for the 48th over. Barrow had a good look at him in the previous over and knew that now was the time to pull the trigger. He did not want to take on Sixton in the 49th. He had to take on Lucas! Barrow drove for two runs off the first ball, followed by a wide – 13 runs required. Now Lucas was feeling the pressure. Barrow was sensing his moment, and the next delivery was deposited with ease over the long-on boundary. This was massive! That meant that the equation was now favouring King’s. Seven runs are needed. Two quick singles were taken – five runs required. Lucas had two more deliveries in this over – would he hold his nerve? The fifth delivery was met with the controlled arc of Barrow’s blade – in the slot and the ball sailed over the long-off boundary. The players and crowd went berserk! King’s had reclaimed the Scott Family Shield, last held in 2022, after two losses against AGS in 2023. This powerful AGS team, with six representative players, was overcome by the underdogs.

The fact that AGS had been restricted to 150 runs indicates the team effort by the bowlers and fielders in the pre-lunch segment when the hosts chose to bat. Tim Hamilton can always be relied upon to strike early or pressure the batters, and he did not disappoint. His first spell of five overs resulted in one wicket and a mere seven runs, including three precious maidens. Tapper shared the new ball and made a good start. When the AGS skipper and NZ U19 representative, Tom Jones, arrived in the 7th over, he took his time to settle, but once he got going, he almost immediately took control of proceedings. He played a range of strokes, taking the run rate from 1.29 per over to 3.35 per over before he was dismissed, trying to be too dominant and paying a heavy price for his over-eagerness. His dismissal gave King’s a huge lift and they matched AGS and, at times, overwhelmed them with a few patches of excellent bowling, backed up by sound fielding. Finn Priddy was used for three overs in the first session, but from the 16th over onwards, spin dominated the innings until Hamilton’s return in the 47th over. Over 30 overs of spin indicates the bowling strength of the 2024 King’s team and all four of Aekkam Sarao, Tapper, Barrow and Joel Gardner (Year 12, Averill) were fully utilised. John Robertson (Year 12, Selwyn), whose medium pace is usually utilised in the middle overs, was forced to watch the spinners ply their art. The sharp fielding engineered two run-outs and from the 32nd over onwards, the run rate was kept to below 3 per over, a magnificent team effort. Hamilton’s seven overs for 12 runs was one of the many highlights of the morning session and all 12 players will remember this match for many years to come. 

King’s win by three wickets

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Tapper receiving the Scott Family Shield from Tom Jones, the AGS skipper.


T Nelson


S Bamford


V Pasupati


M Tapper


T Boucher


J Hernon


A Sarao


M Barrow


T Hamilton




DNB: J Gardner; J Robertson; F Priddy


T Hamilton


M Tapper


M Barrow


F Priddy


A Sarao


J Gardner