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Nelson Pine Griffins Win Hawke Cup Zone Final

The Nelson Pine Griffins cricket team will challenge Southland for the Hawke Cup in a fortnight’s time.  It was three days of good old-fashioned Cup cricket at Horton Park that resulted in a first innings victory over old rivals Marlborough.

Day One: The visitors dismissed Marlborough for 212 late in the day and had scored nine runs without loss at the close of play. Despite a splendid century to Jerrym Lamb, who played a resolute lone hand, the home side’s innings was disappointing. The top order showed little resistance. Ma’ara Ave fended a fast, rising delivery to slip, Luke Frankland was bowled not playing a shot while Prabodha Arthavidu has adjudged lbw, leaving Marlborough perilously placed at 20-3 after opting to bat first. A grinding 100-run partnership between Celtic teammates Lamb and Josh Poole got the ship back on course, before Poole fell in the 51st over for 44 from 121 balls, clipping a Thomas Zohrab delivery to Willie Ludick at midwicket.  His demise sparked another mini-collapse, skipper Matthew Stretch bowled cheaply, Tarin Mason edging to slip and Tom Sutherland being yorked first ball. At 130-7 Marlborough were in danger of falling well short of 200 but Lamb found a gritty ally in youngster Joel Lavender, the pair putting on 76 runs for the eighth wicket. Lavender went at 206 for a commendable 18 from 99 balls then, five runs later, Lamb’s 227-ball innings came to an end. He was well caught on the midwicket fence by Ben Stark, giving Zohrab his fifth wicket of the innings.  Lamb’s superb 106, which was chanceless to that stage, included 12 fours and was full of determination and character.  The final wicket fell soon after, leaving six overs to be bowled before the close of play. Twins David and Thomas Zohrab safely negotiated the final overs, scoring nine runs along the way and capped a fine day for the visitors which leaves the home side very much with their backs to the wall, needing early inspiration tomorrow. While it was the spinners that unsettled Marlborough in their most recent encounter, this time it was the pacemen. Zohrab, with 5-25 from 14 overs of medium-paced variations proved the most successful, but they bowled superbly as a unit. Skipper Greg Hay shuffled his attack around regularly, the medium pacers generally operating in short spells. Jarrod McKay opened up well, picking up the key wicket of Ave, Stark operated economically without success, Ludick took 2-40 from 16, Ben Hazlett grabbed 2-30 from nine, including the prized scalp of Arthavidu, while spinner Felix Murray conceded just 39 runs from 22 steady overs.

Day Two: Chasing Marlborough’s underwhelming total of 212, Nelson ended day two at 331-6, a lead of 119 runs with one day of the Hawke Cup zone three final to go. The home side’s only chance of denying Nelson the right to challenge cup holders Southland for the coveted trophy in two weeks is to somehow force an outright result tomorrow. That seems a far cry given the fact they could only claim six wickets today and especially since Nelson’s best batsman, Greg Hay, is still at the crease having scored a commanding century to anchor the innings. The visitors began the day at 9-0, with the Zohrab twins, David and Thomas, at the wicket. They pushed the score to 58 before Marlborough broke the opening partnership. First to go was David Zohrab (19 from 66) who top-edged a short ball from Tarin Mason to Tom Sutherland at fine leg, who held a well-judged catch. Thomas Zohrab was joined by skipper Hay, the pair looking composed and well in charge as they headed for lunch. However, with the score at 85, left arm paceman Nick Weaver caught the edge of Zohrab’s bat and keeper Ma’ara Ave did the rest, leaving No 4 Willie Ludick to negotiate a few testing deliveries before the break.  Zohrab had scored a patient 45 from 138 deliveries. South African allrounder Ludick didn’t last long after lunch, a brilliant piece of fielding from Prabodha Arthavidu catching him short of his ground. With Nelson sitting at 100-3 the home side sniffed a chance, putting pressure on Hay and incoming batsman Patrick Howes, who was dropped early in his innings on the boundary, one of six chances and half-chances to be spurned during the course of the day. Howes hit out, complementing the clinical approach of his captain, and reached a well-deserved 54 from 78 balls, with eight fours, before hitting a catch to Joel Lavender off Matthew Stretch’s off-spin. His partnership with Hay was worth 103 valuable runs and left their side just 10 runs short of a first innings advantage. Nic Clark ensured they reached that milestone then fell victim to Lavender, who clung onto a hot return catch. When Jerrym Lamb bowled Brendan Hodgson three overs later Nelson was 252-6 and Marlborough had visions of quick wickets to limit the deficit, allowing them to push for an outright. However, it was not to be. The arrival of Felix Murray provided another staunch ally for Hay, who moved relentlessly towards three figures. A slash through the off side brought up yet-another century for the Central Districts regular whose muted celebration suggested he was far from finished at the batting crease. As Marlborough’s attack tired after being in the field for 108 overs, Hay and Murray took toll, lifting the scoring rate late in the day. Murray walked off one run shy of a half-century, while Hay was unbeaten on 127 from 238 balls with 14 fours.   Marlborough’s bowlers toiled hard, but conceded too many boundary balls and overall lacked penetration. Nine bowlers were used as skipper Stretch sought a breakthrough. Lavender, Weaver, and Stretch were economical, as was Lamb, who got through 25 overs.   The home side’s only chance lies with claiming four quick Nelson wickets tomorrow, scoring runs quickly, then putting Nelson back in and skittling them cheaply. It would require a dramatic change in the nature of the game for that to occur.

Day Three: The Griffins wrapped up a comprehensive first innings victory over Marlborough, the zone three final ending midway through the middle session with the home side in no position to push for an outright victory. Nelson had cruised past Marlborough’s under-par first innings total of 212 by stumps on day two, well-placed at 331-6 with skipper Greg Hay unbeaten on 127. Marlborough’s only realistic hope of forcing an outright decision was to take quick wickets but it was 28 overs into the final day before they were able to make inroads. Felix Murray was the first to go, seeming well poised on 92 to push for a century before he played a Sam Boyce delivery onto his stumps. The two Bens, Hazlett and Stark, came and went quickly but No 11 Jarrod McKay hung around with Hay who was nearing another double century. However, his marathon 370-ball knock came to an end when he was adjudged caught behind by Ma’ara Ave from Matthew Stretch’s bowling with his score at 180. He registered 18 boundaries in a totally professional exhibition of efficient run-gathering. Late wickets to Stretch and Boyce helped Marlborough’s cause but it was a tired and frustrated team who trooped off for lunch after being in the field for 158 overs. After the break a maximum of 52 overs were available to be bowled for the day, leaving the home side, who trailed by 238, their own version of “mission impossible” if they were to recover the situation. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Marlborough’s top order chased quick runs and paid the price, former team-mate Stark grabbing 3-16 and fellow opener Jarrod McKay 1-9 from four overs apiece. With the score at 4-40 drinks came on the field and the respective captains agreed to conclude proceedings.

Nelson coach Ryan Edwards said he was extremely satisfied with how the match had gone. “We had a couple of big KPIs we wanted to achieve over the course of three days and I thought it was a really professional performance from the lads.“From the get-go, they were good, that first hour on Friday, and obviously to be able to drive home the advantage over the course of day two was pretty important, so we’re very happy.”  When it came to singling out players Edwards said it was hard to go past Hay, but also mentioned the bowling unit which he described as “brilliant on Friday”. “As a unit, they were good in trying conditions. The wicket was pretty flat and there was a hefty breeze which we had to bowl into from one end. I thought Thomas Zohrab at times was very good doing the hard yards into the wind, Felix [Murray] again but, to be honest, while there are some good numbers against a few people’s names I am pretty happy with all 12.”  Now his side will turn their attention to the cup challenge in Invercargill after what he describes as “perfect preparation.” “It’s been two and a half days of hard cricket … if we can repeat that performance in a couple of weeks’ time, whatever the result I’ll be pleased.” 

The Hawke Cup Challenge is scheduled for 15-17 February.


Marlborough first innings 212     (Jerrym Lamb 106, Josh Poole 44, Joel Lavender 18, Thomas Zohrab 5-25, Willie Luddick 2-40, Ben Hazlett 2-30)

Nelson Pine Griffins first innings 450   (Thomas Zohrab 45, Greg Hay 180, Patrick Howes 54, Felix Murray 92, Nick Weaver 1-71,  Joel Lavender 1-45, Tarin Mason 1-54, Jerrym Lamb 1-71, Sam Boyce 2-37, Matt Stretch 3-88)

Marlborough second innings 40-4 (Prabodha Arthavidu 10, Ben Stark 3-16, Jarrod McKay 1-9).

Nelson wins on the first innings.    



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