Sun, Jan 14, 2024 3:38 PM

Canterbury Country too strong for cricket reps


Peter Jones

The Marlborough men’s rep cricket side found recent Hawke Cup holders Canterbury Country too hot to handle at Horton Park over the past two days.

Country, who lost the trophy to Hawke’s Bay in November, booked a home zone three qualifying final in a fortnight, against Nelson, with a convincing first innings victory over Marlborough.

The home side’s total of 250 always looked light against a powerful visiting batting line-up and so it proved, Country cruising to 386-6 when the match was called off at 2.30pm today.

Marlborough won the toss on a picture-perfect Saturday morning and decided to bat first.

As has been the case in recent times, they lost early wickets, openers Tom Sutherland and Sam Boyce gone with the score at 21, the latter run out by a brilliant piece of fielding from Robbie Foulkes square of the wicket.

The experienced duo of Matt Stretch and Andrew McCaa then set about steadying the ship. They dug in, playing the tight bowling on its merits, and pushed the score through to 81 before Stretch was adjudged caught behind off the pace bowling of Canterbury rep Fraser Sheat for a patient 31.

Andrew McCaa on the drive.

When Corey Bovey strode to the wicket just before lunch the Marlborough innings was in trouble, but he survived, alongside McCaa, and they flourished after the break.

Mixing belligerent strokeplay with resolute defence, the pair took the attack to the Country bowlers in the blazing sun, combining for a 117-run partnership.

However, just when it seemed the home side may push on to a formidable target, three wickets fell quickly.

Firstly, McCaa went for a well-compiled 68 from 126 balls, clean bowled looking to play an extravagant shot. Then, new batsman Hunter Ruffell faced just nine balls before having his castle re-arranged as pace bowler Angus Sidey dragged his side back into the match with a double strike.

Bovey’s wicket followed just six runs later, his entertaining run-a-ball 87, which contained 10 fours and six sixes, ending when he was caught by Archie Redfern on the long-on boundary.

Rhys Mariu, left, and Jesse Frew both scored centuries today.

At 206-6 it was up to the tail to wag if Marlborough were going to register a target that would test a classy batting side such as Country, but their contribution was minimal, bowing to the varied spin of Rhys Mariu.

After dismissing the hard-hitting Bovey, the leg spinner picked up the wickets of Josh Poole, Nick Weaver, Jaden Adams and Luke Pannell in relatively quick succession to end the home side’s innings at 250 in 79.4 overs. Luke Frankland remained unbeaten on 17.

Mariu claimed 5-46 from 20.4 overs, while Sheat picked up 2-38 from 13 and Sidey 2-36 from nine to headline a consistent, relentless bowling effort in hot conditions.

With 28 overs remaining in the day, Country’s batters didn’t waste time in setting out in pursuit of their target, going at five an over until stumps on day one to sit at 141-2. Canterbury allrounder Mariu again proved a thorn in the home team’s side, unbeaten on 66 from just 77 balls.

He continued in the same vein on Sunday, taking toll of wayward bowling with ease as he rolled to his century, scored off just 102 deliveries.

He featured in a 117-run partnership with Harry Chamberlain, who scored 66, then teamed up with Jesse Frew to put on 150.

Eventually man-of-the-match Mariu fell for a superb 139, an innings containing 23 fours and one six, but by then Country had rolled past Marlborough’s total.

Frew continued the momentum, reaching his century immediately after lunch. The wicket-keeper batsman reached three figures for the first time for Country, going through to 111 from 151 balls before departing with the score at 386, whereupon the captains agreed to call a stop to proceedings.

Robbie Foulkes also chipped in with a steady 60, adding exactly 100 in combination with Frew.

The home side’s bowlers toiled away on a flat track but struggled to consistently bowl to their field. Sam Boyce (1-69 from 18) and Andrew McCaa (1-27 from eight) were the most economical, while Luke Pannell (2-43 from 10) chipped in with a couple of late wickets.

Marlborough skipper Nick Weaver had no excuses after such a comprehensive defeat.

“Batting-wise we were well-placed when Andrew and Corey were going well together but we fell away when they went … we were probably 80 to 100 runs under-par. The plan was to bat all the first day and get close to 350 but it didn’t work that way.

“They batted positively late on day one and we didn’t bowl to the standard we should have – gave them too many boundary balls. We came back better this morning but they were just too good for us today.”

Women’s reps

The Marlborough women’s rep side was also in action over the weekend, playing a double-header at Rathkeale College, near Masterton.

On Saturday they took on Taranaki and, thanks to a classy 82 from 96 balls by Carly Englefield, managed to post a healthy total of 175-5 from 40 overs. Eden Pettigrew chipped in with an unbeaten 40 from 50 balls to ensure Marlborough had a defendable total.

However, Taranaki’s batters were up to the challenge, scoring 176-4 from 27.2 overs to take the honours by seven wickets. Eden bowled tightly to claim 1-6 from four overs, while Maddie Winstanley also picked up a wicket.

On Sunday they met home side Manawatu, who scored a formidable 199-4 from 35 overs batting first. Stella Cornelius bagged 2-21 while Eden and Maddie each claimed a wicket.

In reply, Marlborough were dismissed for 89, Englefield top-scoring with 19.

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