Tue, Mar 19, 2024 3:36 PM

Cracking half century cricketers compete


William Woodworth

Horton Park’s final cricket of the year has seen the over 50’s Quad Series competed for fiercely between two New Zealand sides, Australia, and the USA.

And it was the Australian side who put together their best performance of the week, taking the Quad Series title back across the Tasman with them after a dominant final victory over the USA.

The American batsmen started solidly, however weren’t able to build partnerships due to consistent wickets from the Australian attack. Parak Ananta (41) and Arun Tholudur (33) battled hard for the 7th wicket, but only got their side to 199/9.

Australia’s dangerous openers were dismissed by the American spin trapping both LBW, but the 3rd wicket combination of Andrew Kratzmann and Chris Holding carried the Aussies through to an easy 8-wicket victory.

An all-Kiwi bronze medal matchup saw the GreyCaps facing the New Zealand ‘A’ side, where selection ambitions were on the line for the upcoming Over 50 World Cup in Sri Lanka.

The GreyCaps, led by Richard Petrie’s 98, made 284/9, despite NZ A’s bowler Scott Mason’s best figures by a Kiwi ever in any over-50s match with 6/36.

The NZ A innings got off to a good start with Damien Grant’s 65 and John Garry’s 42, but the lower order wasn’t able to fire the A’s home – falling 70 runs short bowled out for 214.

GreyCap and Marlborough Cricket Association board member Greg Stretch said that while the results on the pitch for his side may have been disappointing, the event was incredibly well received by all involved.

"It was great to see international cricket on Horton Park, the weather mostly played ball and we saw four days of great cricket which eventually, and probably rightly so, ended with Australia on top.

"It was a great opportunity for players to put their hands up as all the teams look to the Over 50's World Cup in Sri Lanka early next year.

"Marlborough Cricket is rapt with how the Quad Series went, with the competition and region getting great feedback from our local and touring teams".

Steve Mace cuts the ball away vs New Zealand.

Thursday’s anticipated Trans-Tasman clash between Australia and New Zealand became a tough watch for the home side as the Australian combination of Steve Mace (116) and Andrew Kratzmann (92) saw them through to 311/6 off 45 overs.

While the GreyCaps felt the total was chaseable on an excellent batting surface, the Australian bowlers skittled them for 124 with Colin Owens top scoring with 39, and standout bowling from James Morris (4/29) and debutant Craig Trindall (4/34).

The USA and New Zealand A battled eagerly on the second wicket, with the American top order batsmen finding the boundary on the way to 311/5 with a hard hitting 103 from opener Monappa Uthaiah and significant contributions from Rafay Kazi (74) and Fazal Alam (60).

NZ A's chase saw a record-breaking 160 from opener John Garry, the highest score in NZ O50s cricket history, and hard-hitting Leigh Kelly hit five sixes off one over.

However, he fell for 56 off 27 balls and Garry was run out at 7-293, with NZ A’s tail falling seven runs short as wickets fell due to desperate running and excellent fielding from the USA.

Wayne MacKenzie looks to slide one between the slips for NZ A.

Friday’s games saw the round robin civil war between New Zealand and New Zealand A, alongside an eagerly awaited rematch between the Australians and Americans after the USA’s one wicket warmup win in Rangiora.

Steve Mace continued his great form with 86, while Chris Holding’s 85 and a late 75 off 40 from Paul Evans carried the Aussies to a huge 323/4.

While captain Sanjeewa Weerasinghe battled to an excellent 124, none of the other American batsmen were able to launch their innings with their chase falling short at 279/9 off the full 45 overs.

The New Zealand derby matchup saw the GreyCaps batting first, and Richard Petrie’s 82 and Colin Owens’s 76 set the platform for Robbie Frew and Mason Robinson to get them to 262/5, while Vishal Dube’s bowling found three wickets through accurate bowling at the stumps.

The New Zealand A side’s innings was ably anchored by Damien Grant’s 105* and Wayne MacKenzie’s 59, however the end of their chase was prevented by rain. This meant that on Duckworth-Lewis method, the A side were given the win by having a higher run rate.

The USA's Fazal Alam guides a shot behind leg.

Sunday’s cricket saw the Kiwi’s start well against the USA with the opening pair of Richard Petrie and Andrew Hore getting to 84 without loss, but the American spin attack led by Himanshu Patadia saw 8 wickets fall for 65 runs. Number 10 Kelvin Scott got the New Zealand side to a total of 232.

Mike Harrow claimed two wickets off the first over, but USA captain fantastic Sanjeewa Weerasinghe dug in for his second consecutive century (117 from 106) and Ozair Nana’s 50 steered the Americans home with 6 overs to spare.

The NZ A bowling attack, led by Scott Mason’s 3/23, claimed regular Australian top order wickets and kept an efficient strike rate. The late aggressive hitting of no 7 Ashley Sippel (40 from 33) and no 8 Damien Meek (37* off 23) got Australia through to 221/8.

However, the Australian bowlers held their nerve defending their lowest total of the weekend, with efficient bowling limiting the NZ A batsmen. Leigh Kelly and Mark Murphy gave the locals hope, but when they fell in quick succession with their side at 182 and 184 respectively, the A’s were bowled out 37 runs short.

Horton Park’s wickets now mostly empty until October, with a successful and enthralling 2023/24 season of cricket complete in Marlborough.

The teams and staff at the powhiri on Wednesday.
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