28 Mar 2023

Tuesday 28 March 2023

Match Report for Wednesday 22 March 2023


King’s College – 105/7 in 20 overs

Takapuna Grammar – 96 all out in 19.5 overs

The last time King’s played at Melville Park in Epsom, they pilfered victory from the jaws of defeat against St Peter’s College in the Regional Gillette Cup Final. Mitch Murray was the captain and Charles Bevin’s heroics took that team over the line. Just! Almost exactly nine years later the 2023 edition, battling hard to break-even in the 50-over competition, qualified against-all-odds and with a fair bit of luck to face off against Takapuna Grammar for the Premier T-20 trophy.

In group play, King’s were beaten by recent nemesis Sacred Heart College and by virtue of finishing second miraculously earned a favourable quarter-final draw against 2nd division, Rangitoto College, instead of facing St Kentigern College. Then followed a tense and highly charged win against a strong Mt Albert Grammar school. Takapuna Grammar on the other hand were riding the wave of T20 success, having turned this format into an art form, with crushing victories against Mt Albert Grammar in pool play and St Kentigern College in the semi-final.

A quick inspection of the wicket, minutes before the toss, led to King’s choosing to bat and look to apply scoreboard pressure, due to the slow and sluggish nature of the pitch. Takapuna used six different bowlers in the power-play, a ploy to disrupt any momentum a batting team might plan to apply. As expected, this was successful as King’s crawled to 26/2, with Oliver Kittle joining run-machine James Nelson for an early shower.

The skipper, Morgan Tapper was joined by James Bamford, two of the most dependable batsmen in the team, especially when a crisis ensues. Run scoring wasn’t easy – tight bowling, testing pace and the nature of the wicket added to the woes of these two. Nevertheless, with renowned gallantry, they knuckled down and slowly built a respectable partnership, mainly running quick singles, often at high risk before Tapper was trapped in front with the score on 58/3 in the 12th over. Bamford followed soon after, the third LBW victim of the innings and at 64/4 in the 14th, lots of work was left to the capable batting to come. Jack Hernon, on debut, Samar Singh, Liam Denny, Malcolm Barrow and Tim Hamilton, all batted bravely, against a well-drilled bowling attack and King’s reached what the coach thought was a very defendable 105 runs. He was absolutely correct!

Takapuna’s openers looked solid against the King’s attack and seemed composed during the first five over, accumulating 23 runs. Liam Denny was punished in the first over and was replaced by Finn Priddy. Nelson bowled the second over and his four dot balls showed that spin was going to play a big part in the rest of the innings. Priddy was rewarded with another over, after his brilliant first over and Justin Nori, joined the attack in the sixth over, picking up the first wicket to the huge delight of his team-mates and the large group of boarders, in attendance. Priddy was on a roll and got a third over in which he claimed his first wicket – a good catch by Jack Hernon, near the square leg boundary. Nori got another over due to his impactful first over and picked up his second wicket – courtesy to a brilliant catch by Nelson on the mid-wicket boundary.

At 32/3 in the 8th over, King’s felt uplifted, and their vocal supporters close to the boundary were cheering every dot ball and every piece of good fielding. Samar Singh joined Nori, after Malcolm Barrow got an over and these two front-line spinners bowled five overs in tandem, for 18 runs, whilst scalping three wickets. When Barrow came back for the 15th over, Takapuna were 58/6, needing 48 runs in 6 overs at 8 RPO. Barrow conceded seven runs, Tim Hamilton bowled the 16th over, conceding 7 runs and Nelson conceded 5 runs in the 17th over – 77/6, a worrying partnership was developing but 29 runs were needed from the last three overs.

The match was on a knife-edge. Both teams stared each other out like boxers at a weigh-in. Who was going to blink first? Denny bowled the 18th over, broke the partnership with his second ball bringing huge relief to the King’s camp. He conceded eight runs so the equation was now 21 runs off two overs. Priddy took the pressure off the final over bowler by conceding just seven runs.  Who was brave enough to bowl the final over and keep Takapuna to under 12 runs. Would it be Denny? Barrow? Singh? Hamilton? The ice-cool Nelson had the ball in his hand. He has bowled in tight situations before. He knows how to dot things up. All he needed was to give away ones and twos, nothing more. The Takapuna tail enders had a monumental task, but one or two massive swipes could have given them the advantage. But it was too much to ask on a difficult wicket and Nelson kept his cool to take his team home by nine runs.

Three losses in succession in the 50-over competition has led to a lot of soul searching, player rotation, experimentation and drop in confidence. The euphoric victory over MAGS, last week, has lifted this team immeasurably and brought new-found belief into the camp. This was a final of tiny margins. King’s won by nine runs – Takapuna conceded 15 wides to 3 from King’s.

This was the best bowling effort of the season, both in penetration by Priddy and Nori, in profligacy by Nelson, Singh and Barrow, and in manipulation by Tapper. Fringe players are starting to make notable contributions and the belief is growing.


J Nelson


O Kittle


M Tapper


J Bamford


T Hernon


S Singh


L Denny

12 not out

M Barrow


T Hamilton

6 not out



DNB: J Nori, S Illerbrun, F Priddy

L Denny


J Nelson


F Priddy


J Nori


M Barrow


S Singh


T Hamilton




Debut: T Hernon

King’s win by 9 runs

23 03 28 Cricket Photo Batting (1)