Sat, Mar 9, 2024 8:54 PM

Wairau club claims cricketing double


Peter Jones

The Wairau club ended the 2023-24 senior cricket season in fine style today, claiming both the senior and second grade 40-over titles at Horton Park.

Wairau’s senior team took on a Renwick side which had gone unbeaten through the preliminary rounds but tripped up in the decider, losing by seven wickets.

The second grade final, between Wairau and Celtic, was much closer, Wairau eventually dismissing Celtic with 18 runs required for victory.

On the number one ground, Wairau won the toss and asked Renwick to bat, aware that the top qualifiers were very comfortable chasing targets.

Wairau reinforced their decision with a strong opening in the field, their tight medium pace bowling backed up by a committed fielding effort as Renwick’s dangerous batting unit was kept in check.

Man-of-the-match Hunter Ruffell.

Opening bowlers Baxter Croad and Hunter Ruffell showed the way, Ruffell picking up openers Andrew Marshall and Corey Bovey with just 15 runs on the board. Croad accounted for Luke Frankland, playing his final match for Renwick, then spinner Griffin Carter picked up Max Armstrong’s wicket to have the Green Machine reeling at 4-42 after 19 overs.

Rikki Bovey, who anchored the top order with 31 from 54 balls, was next to go, brilliantly caught behind square by Luke Petrie off Andrew McCaa’s bowling and Renwick were looking for a partnership.

Piers Landon-Lane and Richard O’Shaughnessy provided that, adding 63 together to deliver some substance to Renwick’s innings. However their demise, Landon-Lane for a run-a-ball 46 and O’Shaughnessy for 33 from 47, signalled the beginning of the end, Renwick dismissed for 157 on the final ball of the 40thover.

Wairau used six bowlers. Ruffell’s 3-25 from seven overs provided the highlight, while Croad bagged 2-20 from seven, Nick Weaver 0-15 from four, Josh Alexander 1-16 from seven, Carter 1-42 from eight and McCaa 1-34 from seven in a strong all-round effort.

Renwick batter Max Armstrong on the drive. 

Although chasing a mediocre target Wairau needed a solid start and that was provided by Sam Young and Nick Weaver, the opening pair taking the score to 22 before Weaver perished for 10. This brought McCaa to the crease and he combined with Young, who scored 28 from 34, to push the score to 60.

McCaa, 30 from 37, and new batsman Ruffell then joined forces to take the score to 100, then it was left to Ruffell and Tarin Mason to finish the job in the 26thover, Ruffell ending not out 60 from 47 balls, with Mason unbeaten on 15.

Rikki Bovey, with 2-35 from eight, was the stand-out bowler for a Renwick side who will be disappointed to fall at the final hurdle but can be congratulated on a wonderful series of results which earned them a place in the decider.

Slip fielder Hayden McWilliam prepares to take a catch to dismiss Celtic batter Stella Cornelius. 

Second grade

On the adjoining ground, Wairau’s second team had to battle to get the job done. They won the toss and elected to bat, struggled initially with half their wickets gone for just 46 runs in the 11th over.

However, Josh Harris came to the rescue, scoring a superb unbeaten 75 from 89 deliveries to anchor their innings. Niko Russell’s 23 and a quick 35 from Billy Hurren helped Wairau post 186 before being bowled out in the 38th over.

Celtic's John Diamanti hits out.

Oliver Kennedy and John Diamanti both picked up three wickets, Ryan Clark bagging a brace.

Celtic struggled to form partnerships, teetering at 5-58, until Dave Kennedy and Darryn Stewart came together, taking the score through to 117 before Stewart was dismissed for 25 from 37 balls. Kennedy carried on but when he was ninth out for 42 from 66 in the 38th over with 27 runs needed the writing was on the wall, Celtic eventually dismissed for 169 in the final over.

Wairau’s attack all contributed, James Crowe bagging three wickets, Hayden McWilliam and Niko Russell a brace apiece, while the economical Nathan Ward and Billy Hurren chipped in with a wicket each.

Quad series

Meanwhile, cricket fans are in for a treat over the forthcoming week with an international age group tournament coming to town.

From Thursday, March 14 until Monday, March 18, a quadrangular series of matches will be staged at Horton Park, featuring over-50 sides representing New Zealand, Australia, USA and New Zealand A.

The Quad Series should be very closely-fought. New Zealand and USA both reached the semi-finals of the IMC Over-50s World Cup in Cape Town in March, 2023, and both sides had tight games with Australia in round-robin play.

All three international teams will be looking to finalise their combinations ahead of the IMC Over-50s World Cup, which will be held in Sri Lanka later in 2024.

Quad Series schedule

March 14: USA vs NZ A; New Zealand vs Australia

March 15: New Zealand vs NZ A; Australia vs USA

March 17: USA vs New Zealand; Australia vs NZ A

March 18: Grand Final (1 v 2) and 3/4 playoff

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