Tue, Feb 20, 2024 11:26 AM

Young guns get a crack at Chapple Cup


William Woodworth

A youthful Marlborough cricket team fought valiantly at the 2024 Chapple Cup in Palmerston North but returned without a victory.

Led by new captain Sam Boyce, Marlborough named debutants in Luke Holdaway, Nathan Brooke-Taylor and Josh Alexander for the Central Districts provincial competition.

A late withdrawal from vice-captain Nick Weaver with Covid meant the short-handed side expected to rely on many new faces.

Three days of games strongly started against Whanganui with Corey Bovey and Andrew McCaa combining to hit early boundaries that left Marlborough at 54/1 in the 9th over.

However, a destructive two overs by Nick Holding saw Matthew Stretch bowled, before both Luke Holdaway and Sam Boyce were caught in a double wicket maiden.

Griffin Carter and Hunter Ruffell’s rearguard action, and quickfire cameos from the tail, saw Marlborough bowled out for 146 in the 35th over.

Whanganui opener Greg Smith’s 101 not out off 52 balls, which included 20 fours, battered the Marlborough bowling attack as he and Joel Clark finished unbeaten in the 15th over.

Jaden Adams removed both openers to start the Saturday game against Horowhenua Kapiti, but the Marlborough attack battled to break the 83-run 3rd wicket partnership of Jayden Rose-Miles (58) and Prabodha Liyanage (49).

Kelsey Fahey also scored a quickfire 51 off 33, being the final wicket to fall leaving Marlborough 271 to win. Griffin Carter took 3/62 off his nine overs, while Adams, Andrew McCaa and Sam Boyce chipped in with two.

McCaa’s great batting form continued, building partnerships with Matthew Stretch (32) and Luke Holdaway (30) while Griffin Carter chipped in with 22.

However, suffocating death bowling and fielding from Horowhenua Kapiti kept Marlborough’s batsmen hunting runs.

McCaa’s starring effort saw him bat the whole innings, finally falling for 109 off 142 as Marlborough fell short by 43 runs.

Sunday saw Marlborough play Nelson, who set 302 to win. Younger players were given more opportunity, while playing on a pitch that hindered Marlborough’s seamers and helped Nelson’s spinners.

Baxter Croad bowled an efficient nine overs taking 3/45, while Sam Boyce claimed 3/63.

Corey Bovey set a platform with his opening 45, while significant contributions from Baxter Croad (28), Matthew Stretch (59) and Joshua Alexander (29) down the order resulted in Marlborough being bowled out for 231 in the 47th over.

Despite the weekend’s results, player-coach Andrew McCaa was pleased by the grit shown by the young side.

“We knew it was a tough tournament with tricky games against some very experienced sides with only having four players experienced at this level of cricket, but the boys toured really well”, says Andrew.

“The boys got a rude awakening on day 1 and didn’t match the necessary standard, but day 2 saw a really good attitude and effort change and despite falling short on a very tricky, turning, slow and low wicket we took lots of learnings”.

“We knew Nelson has a strong batting lineup and saw it as an opportunity to test our younger guys and see how they battled on with everything against them, including the pitch.

“Nobody backed down, and I’m really proud of how everyone applied themselves”.

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