Sun, Dec 10, 2023 8:54 PM
Marlborough’s senior rep cricket side made an underwhelming start to their 2023-24 Hawke Cup qualifying campaign at Nelson’s Marsden Rec over the weekend.
They met Nelson in the first zone three qualifying match, losing to the home side on the first innings by a considerable margin.
Nelson batted first and scored 400-7 from 101 overs, making the most of favourable batting conditions to declare late on Saturday. Marlborough ended the day at 15-1, confident they could mount a decent challenge to Nelson’s total on Sunday.
However, morning rain added moisture to a low drying pitch, creating inconsistent bounce which the visiting batters were unable to cope with. They were eventually dismissed for just 147 after 64.4 overs, handing the home side first innings points. Leading by 253, Nelson enforced the follow-on, putting Marlborough in again, but they found the going much easier second time around, reaching 53-0 when stumps were pulled after 18 overs.
On day one, Marlborough were immediately under pressure after the home side won the toss. Nelson openers Nic Clark (97) and Jonty Raxworthy (92) combined for a first-wicket partnership of 185 to set the foundation for a sizeable score. When they were dismissed, along with dangerman Greg Hay, Marlborough looked to push on, but a fourth-wicket partnership of 76 between Thomas Zohrab (60) and Ryan du Plessis (40), plus an unbeaten eighth-wicket stand of 65 between Mike Olsen (59*) and Sean Neal (25*) saw the home team reach a formidable 400.
It was a tough day in the field for Marlborough, whose spin trio of Tom Sutherland, Josh Poole and Matthew Stretch, making his 100th senior rep appearance, stood out. Poole, plus medium pacers Sam Boyce and Luke Pannell bagged a brace of wickets each, Stretch snaring the other.
Marlborough’s reply began badly. Opener Hunter Ruffell was dismissed before stumps on Saturday, nightwatchman Jaden Adams and Boyce quickly following him back to the pavilion when play resumed on Sunday. When player/coach Andrew McCaa was adjudged lbw to spinner Matthew O’Sullivan first ball Marlborough were in immediate trouble at 41-4. Stretch and number six Corey Bovey looked likely, but when Stretch (16) fell with just 56 on the board and new batsman Josh Poole was dismissed from the very next ball the end appeared nigh.
Fortunately, Bovey had other ideas, battling on with the help of the lower order to his highest score for Marlborough. The in-form Renwick batter scored 83 from 160 balls, showing patience and a solid technique.
However, his defiance was merely enough to push the visitors to 147, he and Stretch the only batsmen to reach double figures.
Bovey and Boyce opened when Marlborough batted a second time in improved conditions, pushing the score past the half century. Boyce finished unbeaten on 35 and Bovey 13.
There will be little time for Marlborough to dwell on their below-par effort, with Buller awaiting in Westport next weekend, the Coasters losing by 10 wickets to Canterbury Country at the weekend.
Celtic and Wairau picked up victories in the latest round of Friday night senior T20 cricket.
Celtic claimed a four-wicket win over Renwick on the Horton Park one ground, while Wairau beat Wairau Valley by 81 runs on the adjoining wicket.
The Celtic v Renwick clash came down to the final over, Celtic needing four runs from the final two balls. Happily, for the Green and Golds, incoming batsman Jaden Adams hit a four to get the job done.
Stranded at the other end was opener Tom Sutherland, who batted through the innings for an unbeaten 63 from 47 balls, guiding his team out of trouble after they were perilously placed at 5-18. Keeper Joel Logan then joined Sutherland for a 119-run partnership that took the Celts to the brink of victory.
Corey Bovey, 2-16, and Piers Landon-Lane, 3-16, did the early damage for Renwick.
Earlier, 52 from 40 balls from the in-form Bovey helped Renwick to 140-8 off their 20 over allotment, Liam Young and Luke Holdaway each bagging a brace of wickets.
In the other match, Wairau batted first and put a formidable 198-3 on the board. Andrew McCaa continued his recent hot streak with an unbeaten 94 from 58 balls, Mike Hood adding 33 not out to set a target that proved too high for Valley.
Tim Abrahams got their chase off to a good start with 28 from 17 and, although Chris Coull scored 30 from 27 down the order, Valley never seriously threatened Wairau’s total, being dismissed for 117 in the 19th over.
Baxter Croad, with 3-29 and Griffin Carter, 4-20, were the chief destroyers.
Meanwhile, in second grade action, Wairau claimed the early season 40-over title with a comprehensive victory over Celtic Gold in the final at Horton Park on Saturday.
Batting first Wairau amassed 247-5, number three batter Max Ruffell hitting a superb 134 to dominate the scoring. Josh Harris chipped in with an unbeaten 35 to add icing to the cake. Veteran John Diamanti picked up 2-13 from his eight overs.
In reply, Celtic were bowled out for 85 in just 28 overs. Niko Russell took 3-24 from eight overs while Teagan Birkett picked up 3-13 from five overs to be the leading wicket-takers as Wairau finished in complete control.