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Ngatapa seize Hope Cup lead

It was Ngatapa by a head.

The Hope Cup holders beat Old Boys Rugby to seize the lead in Senior B club cricket with only this Saturday to play in the six team, 15-week round robin.

The Civil Project Solutions Ngatapa Green Caps (31 points) beat Rawhiti Legal OBR (28pts) by six wickets, Coastal Ultrasound Horouta (16) hammered Bollywood High School Old Boys Presidents (19) by 115 runs and Gisborne Boys' High School (13) overcame Campion College (7pts) by 59 runs.

This weekend the schools will match up again in the playoff for fifth while Ngatapa face Horouta in 1 v 4 and OBR take on HSOB in 2 v 3.

Horouta, who for the first time in their cricket history are playing in both the Senior B and premier grade competitions, were superb under captain Heyan Ranasinghe on Saturday. Having won the toss on the Harry Barker Reserve's No.2 ground, they were dismissed by HSOB for 185 in 29 overs of the 30-over match.

First-drop Terry Temoananui (40), No.4 Ranasinghe (31) and Abdul Fahad (29), seventh man in, were the batsmen to make noteworthy scores.

New-ball menace Hunter Jones took 4-21 off six overs and left-armer Daniel Torrie, 2-29, for HSOB.

When HSOB batted, Piumal Madusanka (4-11 off five overs) was the bowler to shine, with Kayley Knight (2-16) and Abdul Fahad (2-18) in support.

Luke Fisher was the leading scorer for HSOB, with nine not out from No.7 as the Presidents were bowled out for 70 in 21.3 overs.

“That was a tough game,” said their captain Isaac Hughes, whose side can — and need — to make close to 200 against the Ian Loffler-led OBR.

OBR were bowled out for 125 with one ball remaining in their six-wicket loss to Ngatapa.

Ngatapa skipper Mike Gibson chose to bowl first on HBR 3. First-change seamer Tim Gardner took 4-31 off six overs, and the captain himself took 2-23.

The game's seminal moment came two balls into the top-of-the-table clash. Opening bowler Angus Orsler had Loffler — who averages 71 — caught by 'keeper Gibson for a duck without a run on the board.

OBR went five down with the score at 43, three balls after drinks. But for a 43-run stand for the sixth wicket between basketball convert Rongomai Smith — who crunched two sixes and three fours in his 36-ball 27 at No.5 — and Ben Brick (13), batting at 7, OBR might have been all out for under 100.

Ngatapa then put the game to bed with two great partnerships: a 44-run opening stand between Jeremy Castles (45) and Jack Jefferd (18), then 53 for the second wicket, Castles and first-drop Grant Walsh (21).

George Reynolds (2-17) impressed for OBR with the ball

“Ngatapa have a tight bowling unit — we thought 125 was competitive, though, if we could get early wickets,” said Loffler, who deputised for regular OBR captain Craig Christophers on the latter's birthday.

Gibson was delighted for the Green Caps: “That was a cracking game of cricket. Our boys made a good all-round effort, Tim Gardner benefiting from Angus's spell and catches being held, Jeremy and Jack then backing that up with their great opening stand.”

He cracked it.

Having previously made 49no against Campion and 47 against OBR this season, Nathan Trowell showed poise, patience and timing in making his first half-century for Gisborne Boys' High School.

His 59 from 62 balls at No.3 was a classy knock in Boys' High's 59-run win against the college, the only other contribution of note in the total of 161-9 being second-drop Sebastian Wilson's 25.

Campion's game-day captain Blake Marshall had won the toss on HBR 3, elected to bowl and taken 2-29, knocking over both opener Max Briant (8) and GBHS skipper and No.6 Daniel Stewart (17).

Maddie Ashworth took 2-34 with Marshall a constant threat in the field, effecting two run-outs with his speed to the ball and return throw. The Campion skipper made 22 as second-drop with his team's leading scorer once again being teacher Matt King — he battled bravely for 26.

Seamer Cohen Loffler (2-18) and leg-spinner Dylan Foster (2-2) bowled well. Loffler took the big wickets of Marshall and Daryl Dunn, while Foster aided his captain, off-spinner Daniel Stewart (1-2), in closing the game out.

Campion were dismissed for 102 in 25.1 overs.

Stewart said: “Both teams fought hard: we batted well after being put in — Nathan was brilliant — we bowled tightly when we needed to and we fielded with intensity.”

Campion also took a great deal out of the match.

“Keeping extras down was one of the things we'd aimed to do and (pace bowler) Grace Levy created four wicket-opportunities in just one over,” Marshall said.

“Mr King batted time — we needed someone to do that and (Year 9 student) Hamish Swann (1-16 bowling pace) in years to come is going to be a solid all-rounder.”