Sun, Nov 5, 2023 7:58 PM

Nelson hold onto cricket trophy


Peter Jones

Cricket’s prized Newman Shield remains in Nelson hands after a closely-fought match at Horton Park today.

The holders eventually came out on top of the annual two-leg 50-over clash, hitting the winning runs with six balls to spare and two wickets in hand.

Marlborough won the toss and opted to bat first, but were in trouble early. They lost their first four wickets with just 31 on the board, Sukh Aulakh, Andrew McCaa, Luke Pannell and Corey Bovey unable to get a start against spinner Ben Neale, who bagged 4-21 from 10, and the steady Tim O’Connor, who bowled 10 overs for just 23 runs.

Fortunately for the home side, wicket-keeper batsman Matthew Stretch, fresh off a score of 95 in club play on Saturday, was able to provide an anchor for their innings, forming several handy partnerships.

He and Hunter Ruffell started the consolidation with a 26-run collaboration, then Stretch joined forces with Tom Sutherland to push the score past the 100 mark. Sutherland went for 21, the second top score, then Stretch added 18 with Harry Boyce and 26 with Nick Weaver as Marlborough edged towards a competitive score.

Debutant Kirk Nicholas fell for a golden duck with the score at 149, then Jaden Adams chipped in to push Marlborough to 180-9. However, the loss of Adams’ wicket saw the experienced former captain stranded one run shy of a well-deserved ton, scored off 116 balls with nine fours.

Ronan Restieaux, 3-21 from 8.2 overs, and Michael Olsen, 2-52 from nine, joined Neale as the main wicket-takers for a Nelson side who bowled with accuracy and discipline, conceding just 14 extras.

With a below-par total to defend, Marlborough needed early wickets and they got them, replicating Nelson's initial bowling effort.

Adams started the ball rolling with the wicket of Ryan du Plessis, then skipper Nick Weaver took over, claiming three consecutive lbws to have Nelson reeling at 4-37. However, Jonty Raxworthy, 28 from 53, and Ronan Restieaux, 28 from 72, pushed the score to 112, before co-captains Sean Neal and Ollie Jones-Allen joined forces to amass a match-turning partnership.

They added 64 runs before Neal departed with the score at 178-8, just three runs then required for victory. Neal scored a cleverly-constructed 41 from 62 balls, Jones-Allen left unbeaten on 42 from 51 as they wrestled the initiative from a home side who defended their low total superbly. Although they put down a couple of catches, including a sitter off Jones-Allen early in his innings, their ground fielding was superb, especially in the final overs when light drizzle set in.

However, the honours belonged to Nelson, who ensured Marlborough had a small total to defend then dug deep when at the crease, keeping their nerve despite rocked back initially.

Weaver, who finished with 4-33 from a maximum 10 overs, Adams, 2-42 from 10 and spinner Tom Sutherland, 2-28 from 10 stood out among the Marlborough attack.

Marlborough player/coach McCaa was disappointed his side were unable to get the job done, but praised their efforts, especially in the field, plus the batting of Stretch.

“We let ourselves down at the top of the order … with shot selection and we got off to a slow start. That left us behind the eight ball and we were always fighting to come back after that. Matthew and Tom’s partnership got us going though and we got through to 180, which we thought was an OK score.

“We thought we could defend that, and we were competitive the whole time in the field. At times we felt we were on top, but catches win matches, and we put down a couple that we should have taken.

“That was disappointing but I thought overall the ground fielding was really good and the bowling was generally in the right areas.”

McCaa said there was plenty there to build on for the forthcoming season, which continues with another match against Nelson, the MacDonald Cup match scheduled for Blenheim on November 18-19.

Marlborough 180 all out (Matthew Stretch 99*; Ben Neale 4-21, Ronan Restieaux 3-21) Nelson 184-8 (Sean Neal 41, Ollie Jones-Allen 42*; Nick Weaver 4-33). Nelson win by two wickets.

Marlborough App Logo
Marlborough App
Marlborough App is owned by Top South Media. a locally owned media company.