King’s won the toss and under heavy clouds put Mount Albert Grammar School (MAGS) in to bat.
• MAGS 172 all out (66 overs) and 4 for 1 (2nd innings)
• King’s College 262 for 8 (66 overs)
Some enterprising early partnerships saw MAGS off to a good start which would have caused some concern for the hosts. The visitors had their innings curtailed by rain at 93 for the loss of 3 wickets after 39 overs. The home team did not bowl sufficient maiden overs to maintain any sustained pressure on the visitors and the 3rd wicket partnership between the dangerous Katene Clark and the composed Jarod Challis was starting to get out of hand. The wet ball that was beginning to lose its shape did not help the bowlers.
A week later, the sun shone brilliantly on a chilly, breezy day and there was promise of a mouth-watering battle. Toby Baker found the misshapen ball difficult to control and was removed from the attack after 3 overs, to be replaced by Hamish McLean. In the meantime the visitor’s third wicket pair had firm control of the match and were beginning to dictate terms. The King’s attack was in need of a plan! As usual with the hosts, when something special is needed they often deliver.
This time the magic came from Scott Johnston. In the 49th over with the partnership having amassed 50 superb runs, Scott Johnston having gone wicketless for 11 overs still ran in with energy and zip to the awaiting batsman Jarod Challis who was on 22, having plundered 7 runs from the previous Hamish McLean over and looking to dominate the home team’s main strike bowler who was nearing the end of his morning spell. Scott Johnston delivered the ball of the day – just short of a length, decent pace, nipping in slightly to beat the inside edge and crashing into the top of off-stump.
Three overs later, Hamish McLean flighted one to Clark who had been shackled for a while. The ball looped, hung in the air, drew the batsman out, the bat came down in a powerful arc, missing its target – easy stumping for Tristan Payle. Big, big wicket! The belligerent Clark gone for 45! Was there any fight left in the visitors batting?
At 129 for 5, with the positivity and creativity of Clarke and Challis gone, MAGS limped along to be all out for 172 in the 66th over as the home team spinners of Hamish McLean and Charles Bevin maintained the pressure till the end picking up 6 wickets in the innings. Such was the control of these two spinners that the services of Oscar Shepperson, William St John and Cameron Whiting were not needed.
King’s began the run-chase without much trouble. Hamish McLean treated anything that looked hittable with disdain whilst his opening partner Callum Douglas was more circumspect and happy to have a good look. There was a mini-collapse and some nervous moments as key wickets were lost with Mitchell Murray being the last of these at 137 for 4. The last recognised batsman, Charles Bevin was left to take the team home. A mature innings and solid partnerships were needed. Oliver Williamson took on the responsibility and provided the stability that Charles Bevin needed to gain the first innings lead. Oliver Williamson rekindled memories of his fine innings against Kelston Boys' High School last season as he took advantage of valuable time in the middle and assisted Charles Bevin in taking the team to safety. Thereafter, the tail made use of some much needed batting practice highlighted by Toby Baker smashing 26 runs of 18 balls.
Earlier on in the innings Callum Douglas and Tristan Payle fell tantalisingly short of half-centuries whilst laying the platform for this victory.
C Douglas 45 H McLean 13
T Payle 46 M Murray 22
C Bevin 51 O Williamson 29
S Johnston 10 T Baker 26
W St John 10 not out O Shepperson 0 not out
S Johnston 13-1-33-1 T Baker 9-3-27-1
O Shepperson 5-2-11-0 W St John 6-1-15-1
M Murray 8-2-23-0 H McLean 18-4-47-4
C Bevin 7-0-15-2