NZCT National Club Cricket Championship 2019
Cornwall Cricket Club, Auckland
2-7 April 2019
Green Island defeated Greerton by 5 wickets
A good day for a bat, and straight boundaries short enough that a fast bowler might actually consider putting his mark over the rope, were two of the reasons the Greerton-Green Island clash on Cornwall Number Three saw a hefty 38 sixes slammed in their round-two clash.
The batsmen also had something to do with it.
Yet to chalk up a win, Greerton captain Brett Hampton won the toss and batted — and was always personally going to be a handful on the boutique ground. The hard-hitter would have to wait his turn, however, with the opening pair of Nick Hendrie (45 off 26, 9x4, 1x6) and Henry Collier (77 off 63, 9x4, 4x6) putting on 60 for the first wicket at just a tick under 10 an over.
Hendrie had dominated the stand, but Collier accelerated after the breakthrough and reached his half century at run-a-ball pace. Having been joined by Hampton at 79 for two, the sixes were already raining thick and fast, Ethan Childs and Mark Joyce with the miserable job of trying to contain them for the Green Island “Swamprats”.
The Green Island pair had already teamed up to dismiss Tom Renouf, but the fourth-wicket stand would escalate to 91 before Collier was finally bowled by leggie Jack Mockford, at 170 for three — in just the 21st over.
Knights pinch-hitter Hampton was the prize wicket, of course. He had hit 68 off just 47 balls (4x4, 5x6) when Otago Volts paceman Christi Viljoen came back on and trapped him LBW.
That brought together a fresh pair in Lee Watkins and Dan Spencer for the sixth wicket. Mockford had already picked up Pip Thickpenny cheaply, and would have his third in Spencer en route to 3-57 off his eight overs.
But Greerton wasn’t done with smashing the ball, Watkins blasting five fours and five sixes until he was finally caught, off Childs, in the 44th over — his 77, like Collier’s, also flying off 63 balls.
Watkins had put on 78 for the seventh wicket with able support from Shane Wineti (31 off 41). Wineti was on 28*, now batting with Jared Tutty, when the rain briefly gave everyone a breather.
Green Island’s attack started to pick off the tail after the match resumed, stopping the damage in the 48th over: Greerton all out for 349. Blair Soper, who had taken 1-28 off his first seven overs, came back and mopped up for 3-34.
Their persistence would pay dividends as the exciting chase headed almost to the wire.
After losing Brad Kneebone to Hampton early doors, opener Ant Harris combined with first drop Brad Wilson for a monumental 208-run second-wicket partnership.
Veteran Wilson, who retired from cricket for the Volts a couple of weeks earlier, was the first to reach his century, off just 75 balls, (12x4, 5x6).
Harris followed with his own ton off 102 balls. Harris had already hit two sixes (and Kneebone two of his own) before Wilson had joined him, and he went on to strike eight — along with nine boundaries, as the pair batted together for almost 30 overs.
It was a fair old grind for the Greerton attack but Spencer finally separated the pair when he bowled Wilson on 118, then Collier got Harris stumped a few overs later on 110 — then picked up Geordie Scott next ball to put himself on a hat-trick.
The southerners weren’t home quite yet, but as Christi Viljoen began blasting away again, the required run rate kept dropping.
When Gregor Croudis was run out by Hampton at 315 for five, Green Island needed 35 runs at just over run-a-ball from the last half dozen overs.
Viljoen had already galloped to 36* off 19 balls, and would win the match with an over in hand with his fifth and last six of the innings, having reached 64* off 33 balls.
He took Green Island’s tally of sixes for the innings to 22, while Greerton had pumped 16.
After two matches on the Number Three ground, undefeated Green Island will finally get to play on the big Number One in the third round, against winless Eastern Suburbs. Greerton will meanwhile look for its first win against Parnell on the middle Number Two ground, Parnell also yet to chalk up a victory.
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