Power Base of Club Cricket Alters – Just
Power Base of Club Cricket Alters – Just
The last weekend of club cricket was planned to be this coming weekend with the culmination of the T/20 competition. Enter Covid-19, the advent of self isolation and it is all over. The season featured an aborted T/20, a Nelson only 50 over competition which also had its final cancelled, a 110 over local competition which was played when the Nelson Pine Griffins representatives were absent and the Tasman Premier League (TPL). Without doubt the TPL is the premier competition which was played on a home and away basis and featured an elimination final and a grand final.
ACOB ended up top, but it was a hard slog with some tense finishes. Their three encounters with Car Company Stoke Nayland were all epic affairs. Way back in Round One in October and before daylight saving these two fought out a gargantuan tie in farcically dark conditions at the Marsden Rec. They then meet again in November at the Botanics with Stoke Nayland just sneaking home by two runs and quite deservedly met again in the final at Saxton Oval with ACOB, on the back of some Thomas Zohrab heroics, squeaking home by three runs. The overall run tallies over this three – match series were: ACOB 651 Stoke Nayland 650, amazingly tight.
While ACOB had a core base of local players they also had Jake Milton who returned from England and they relied heavily on the talents of the itinerant student group of Thomas and David Zohrab, Josh Simpson and Nic Clark. BJ Barnett proved to be an astute coach and he also produced some match winning performances with both bat and ball when required. Milton’s class is displayed by the fact that he is the only player on both the top ten batting and bowling lists below. These figures would have been higher if he had not been forced to miss a number of games due to a head knock.
The corpulent James Graham was top of the wicket keepers in dismissals for the season and he also amassed over 200 runs at an average of better than 20. Evergreen Reuben Smith has something of a golden Summer as he took vital wickets most weeks. Thomas Zohrab though was ACOB’s key performer however and he played just seven matches in picking up his 25 wickets and the measly average of 6.04 runs per wicket. He also backed this up with 255 runs at 42.5 including a century.
This was a cheerful group of young men who appeared to enjoy each other’s company. They were well led by the popular Ollie Jones-Allen and they seem to have good depth in the club with a solid enough second grade team and a pool of talent coming up through Nelson College. As long as they continue to be able to utilise the returning student base there is no reason why they have not begun something of a dynasty.
Car Company Stoke Nayland have been the big dogs on the block for a couple of years and while they were by no means disgraced, they certainly showed a little vulnerability. They have a charismatic leader Brendon Hodgson who skippered a group who are well used to winning. Generally, one of their top three batsmen, Darius Skeaping, Chris Dittmer or Kurt Pahl would produce a solid performance to get them to competitive totals. Then Hodgson, Ben Homan, Dylan Eginton or Paddy Howes would capitalise on the start. While Howes fell away slightly after his lightening beginning to the season, he scored a couple of centuries and is a class act.
They also had a more than handy keeper/ batsman in Ricky Edwards and Stoke Nayland were the best fielding team in the grade. Their bowling attack was very useful and possessed good variety. They had plenty of seamers to call on, with young Englishman Thomas Chambers further enhancing their all-ready abundant stocks. Timothy O’Connor, Ben Stark, Billy Guyton, Skeaping and Eginton ensured plenty of pressure on opposing batsmen. Add the spin of Howes and Liam Clark and this became a pretty formidable unit.
Further mention must be made of Eginton. He is a match winner with both bat and ball. His bowling talents are well regarded, but because of the strength of Stoke Nayland’s top order he did not always get full opportunity with the bat. He still scored over 300 runs at an average in excess of 30 to go with his 19 wickets and with Thomas Zohrab are probably the two best all round performers in the grade.
With this slight dip in performance it will be interesting to watch how Car Company Stoke Nayland fares in the future. They still won the 110 over comfortably enough and had qualified for the aborted Nelson only 50 over final to prove they are not a spent force. They have a solid core of seasoned veterans who are not used to coming second though, so their durability will be tested.
Nelson College continues to be competitive in Senior cricket. While they battled all season for runs, they showed pluck in the field and also had a huge bowling armoury to call upon. Lanky Jarrod McKay was the form seamer in town and at times he was downright quick. He took his 26 wickets at a cost of just 7.88 runs per wicket and always looked menacing. His “little” brother Kaleb was also pretty useful while young Dmitri van der Colk came into the team after Christmas and became decidedly handy. They had good spin options with Finn Raxworthy and Mason Lund both being able to maintain scoreboard pressure and pick up wickets.
Jack Morris begun the season with a maiden and undefeated century in the first game but failed to build on this milestone. Finn Restieaux and the Raxworthy brothers, Finn and Jonty, are all capable players but although they all had plenty of opportunities none really had a breakout Senior season. Patrick Wilson had some handy knocks and smashed a scintillating 52 ball century in the T/20 competition but most of the time runs were at a premium for the schoolboys.
Coach Garry MacDonald had the ability to maintain the fighting spirit amongst his steads. They made the Elimination Final in the TPL and were scheduled to play in the final of the Nelson only 50 over competition. Wilson developed into a strong and forceful captain and when he was able to retain concentration, a tidy enough wicket keeper. The Nelson College 1st XI is still alive in the National Gillette Cup Competition and will continue to be a thorn in a number of team’s sides in Senior cricket. They have a strong Cricket Academy programme running at the school which will ensure their longevity. Cricket at Nelson College is in a very healthy position.
Four wins heralds a less than satisfactory performance for the Jubilee Park based WTTU. They had four outstanding performers in their midst, but not a strong enough supporting cast to produce a regularly competitive squad. The loss of club stalwarts Jon Routhan and Tom Ingham and the left arm spin option of Sam Halsey was not adequately catered for.
Joey O’Connor accrued three centuries in the TPL to top the run scoring chart at an average of a tick under 47. Fellow opener Tom Cross was also in the top ten run scorers and he got his runs at a rate of just under a run a ball. These performances should have guaranteed WTTU winning totals but most weeks the starts were squandered. Andrew Drummond scored useful runs in his fleeting appearances, Mason Thelin and Jack Aldridge occasionally hung around but it was all a little sparse. Aldridge actually topped the run scoring stats in the 110 over competition but was nowhere near as effective in the premier TPL league.
Likewise, opening bowlers Sam Baxendine and Josh Newport were amongst the top ten wicket takers but also lacked support. They took 46 wickets between them which again should have supplied WTTU with a strong competitive edge. Andrew Beatson toiled away with some success and both O’Connor and Cross picked up handy wickets but there was no real bite in the middle overs. While O’Connor toiled well, the lack of a top flight spin option was a real short coming in the WTTU attack.
While WTTU were coming home with a wet sail in the T/20 competition coach Richard Percy would have been disappointed with their overall seasons results. They have blooded some young Waimea College talent however and as long as their big four return for 2020/21 there is hope. They need to be on the look out for a quality spinner over the winter months however.
The amalgamation of Wanderers and Motueka allowed those two, once proud clubs, entry back into Premier club cricket. While it is true that Wanderers/Motueka struggled at times they also had some good days and it is in the best interests for cricket in the region to have at least one country based team.
Hayden Ingham mentored a team which begun as a group of young lads, primarily from Motueka and two overseas professionals, which morphed a little bit with the addition of a couple of seasoned and well performed more mature players.
It was probably hoped that Englishmen Max Mannering and Jack White may have produced more dramatic statistics than they did. White was only to play in four matches though he did show his undoubted class. Mannering netted a double of 18 wickets and 218 runs which was useful enough but not earth shattering.
Ingham led the team with both bat and ball and the young guard of Boe Bamford, Alex Brogan and Logan Ogilvie all had their moments with the bat while Ogilvie and Jackson Harris also persevered with some useful bowling efforts.
Gaining a couple of former Central Districts elder statesmen added a bit of solidarity to the young group. Though John Ogilvie did not bring the house down with his run scoring he often batted for time and was also his usual tidy self behind the stumps. Dave Leonard re-visited his youth with a couple of classy knocks and although he played just six matches he topped the averages and was third best run scorer for the combined clubs.
It was great to have this diversity in the competition and hopefully there will remain to be at least one country club in the league for next season.
While Wakatu has a very strong club base with a couple of second grade teams and heaps of junior players their senior team continues to flatter to deceive. They should be capable of producing better results than finishing on the foot of the log.
Campbell McLean continues to score runs regularly and he was ably supported this season by the rangy ginger headed flanker Fergus Hughes. They both finished well inside the top ten run scorers and Wakatu also produced the top wicket taker in young seamer Damian Aitken. Matthew O’sullivans spin consistently took wickets and contained, while McLean likewise usually picked up wickets each week.
Jason Campbell generally gave Wakatu a flyer at the top of the order, but Victory Square can be a tricky ground to defend on. It has some short boundaries and the outfield becomes very hard and fast. One would have thought that this could afford the home team some advantage, but Wakatu managed just two victories in the TPL and only the solitary one at their home ground.
Veteran keeper Mason Robinson maintained his standards behind the stumps and also scored some useful runs while Devon Serrurier displayed what a loss he was to the club when he returned for a cameo and obliged with an undefeated century. Brad Smith scored heavily in the T/20’s but did not leave a huge impression on the TPL.
Wakatu showed they are better than this result with a stronger showing in the 110 over competition where they finished runner up. They are a good club but must some how develop the winning habit going forward.
The Blenheim based clubs, Dolphins and Falcons, did more than just make up the numbers. They had some outstanding individual and team performances and indeed the Dolphins very narrowly missed out qualifying for the Elimination Final. Overall this was a very satisfactory competition and is a legitimate format to establish the best club team in the Top of the South.
Final Points: Car Company Stoke Nayland (49), Nelson College (40), ACOB (40), Dolphins (39), Falcons (27), WTTU (25), Wanderers/Motueka (18), Wakatu 15
Elimination Final: ACOB beat Nelson College by 6 wickets
Final: ACOB beat Car Company Stoke Nayland by 3 runs
Batting: Joey O’Connor (WTTU) 563, Prabodha Arthavidu (Dolphins) 534, Matthew Stretch (Falcons) 482, Patrick Howes (Car Company Stoke Nayland) 352, Campbell McLean (Wakatu) 336, Fergus Hughes (Wakatu) 315, Jake Milton (ACOB) 309, Tom Cross (WTTU) 308, Darius Skeaping (Car Company Stoke Nayland) 295, Josh Poole (Dolphins) 281
Bowling: Damian Aitken (Wakatu) 30, Sam Baxendine (WTTU) 27, Jarrod McKay (Nelson College) 26, Thomas Zohrab (ACOB) 25, Nick Weaver (Falcons) 25, Thomas Chambers (Car Company Stoke Nayland) 25 , Reuben Smith (ACOB) 20 , Josh Poole (Dolphins) 20, Jake Milton (ACOB) 19, Josh Newport (WTTU) 19, Dylan Eginton (Car Company Stoke Nayland) 19
Wicket Keeping: James Graham (ACOB) c16/s/3, Ricky Edwards (Car Company Stoke Nayland) c14/s5, Mason Robinson (Wakatu) c11/s6, Jack Aldridge (WTTU) c13, Luke Frankland (Dolphins) c9/s1
**Wicket–keeping stats subject to confirmation
Catches in Field: Brendan Hodgson (Car Company Stoke Nayland) 9, Reuben Smith (ACOB) 9, Campbell McLean (Wakatu) 9, Jonty Raxworthy (Nelson College) 9