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Youngsters flex muscles

But veterans still have a few tricks up their sleeve


Kelan Bryant is a good cricketer.

The 13-year-old was one of six Year 9 students in the Gisborne Boys’ High School second 11 and one of only three batsmen to score a Hope Cup half-century at the weekend.

Two-time defending Senior B club champions Civil Project Solutions Ngatapa Green Caps won the 30-over Round 4 clash with GBHS at Harry Barker Reserve by 24 runs, but Bryant hit a six and seven fours in his 48-ball innings of 62 from No.5 over 54 minutes.

“Kelan’s innings was outstanding in a team effort — we played well,” new Boys’ High captain Dylan Foster said.

“At the end of the game, we still had five wickets in the shed — another positive — although the 32 extras conceded by us in the field is a few too many. Also, we might have missed a few opportunities to run quick singles in the run-chase, which is something we can improve on.”

Ngatapa’s Cam McNaught won the toss on pitch No.4 — a wicket best-suited to front-foot play — and took first knock.

The Caps made 193-6. McNaught’s co-captain, Grant Walsh (48 from No.1), and left-hander Richard Briant (41) at second-drop were in good touch. Briant, like Matt King of Campion College, has a remarkable eye, never better demonstrated than when playing cross-bat shots.

Walsh’s battle with off-spinner George Gillies (1-32 off six overs) made for great cricket, the veteran using his feet to drive for four down the ground twice. Gillies later had him stumped by keeper Alex Shanks: a classic dismissal.

Foster used the bowlers intelligently and his predecessor as skipper, Noah Torrance-Cribb, took 3-38 off six. Daniel Watts (1-22 off six) and John Broad (1-19 off three) followed Torrance-Cribb’s example as seam bowlers, asking questions of Ngatapa with their accuracy and movement of the ball.

In reply, GBHS reached 42 before they lost the wicket of Jack Whitehead-McKay (11). His opening partner, Foster, made 26 off 36 balls and Shanks, in at No.4, made 20 not out.

Kelan Bryant and Shanks put on 93 runs for the fourth wicket — one run more than the GBHS team total in the 48-run loss to Campion last week.

Green Caps all-rounder Ryan West was tidy with the new ball without taking a wicket but the off-spin of Charles Morrison (1-14 off four overs), medium-pace of Paul Randall (1-19 off three) and Tim Gardner (1-38 off six) yielded fruit.

Gloveman Harry Cave held a superb catch to dismiss Watts off Morrison, whose fellow offie Walsh took 2-5 — including the wicket of Bryant, leg before wicket — in the last over of the match.

Walsh, a Boys’ High first 11 cricketer in 1987-88, rated the match highly as a contest.

“It was good stuff and we’re all very happy that GBHS have a second team out on the park again,” he said.

“While they had to field in the heat and we got off to a good start, once they got a few wickets, they were right in it.

“We had to work hard to get wickets but then were able to manage the game, change bowlers up and restrict the Boys’ High batsmen.

“Boys’ High, though, will only get better and that’s great for Poverty Bay cricket.”

WHILE second-placed Ngatapa (nine competition points) beat GBHS (no points), unbeaten competition leaders Rawhiti Legal OBR (12pts) won their clash with team No.3 — Siteworx Horouta (6pts) — by 95 runs.

OBR keeper Thom Berry had a great day, holding two catches and effecting both a stumping and a run-out (courtesy of Craig Christophers’ return-throw).

Christophers’ OBR won the toss on the practice wicket, Harry Barker Reserve’s smallest ground, and scored 188-8.

No.3 Andrew Bristow played a fine hand for 52 off 44 balls with eight fours. He is good to watch, especially on the off-side, when in form.

Opener Berry made 28, with Lloyd van Zyl at No.4 (23 not out) and second-drop Jannie Jacobs (22) also making contributions against The Waka’s hard-working seam bowlers.

Billy Morse (3-33 off six overs) and Hasantha Vethanage are consistent performers for Horouta. Vethanage and left-arm orthodox spinner Clarence Campbell shared the same figures, 2-39 off six.

Horouta are a great-hearted cricket club, and the fact that they — like OBR, High School Old Boys and GBHS — field teams in both the Senior B and premier grade competition — is proof of their depth and commitment to the sport.

OBR bowled Horouta out for 93, Vethanage for a golden duck by medium-pacer Bristow (one ball, one wicket) off the first ball of the 23rd over.

Van Zyl (3-9 off five overs, two of them maidens) bowled good pace, while leg-spinner Mana Taumaunu (3-35 off three) and former Horouta player Amit Vyas (2-15 off six) added to the confusion with their wiles and craft.

OBR captain Christophers said: “Our batting focus was on running between wickets, to look for opportunities to rotate strike, and pick up as many singles as possible. All of our batsmen implemented that policy, so our score moved from 150 to 188.”

That was an imposing total. Only Horouta club stalwart Greg Taylor (28 off 42 balls from No.2) and Piumal Madasanka (20, in at No.9) made any headway for The Waka with the bat, with eight batsmen scoring five runs or less.

HIGH School Old Boys know that Saturday’s game was far too close for comfort.

The fourth-placed Bollywood HSOB Presidents (6pts) beat Campion College by three wickets with three overs and five balls left to bowl on HBR No.3.

Yet the truth is that even without player-coach Mark Naden (and another Campion teacher, Daryl Dunn), Liam Spring still came close to leading the college to victory against one of the local game’s great traditional clubs.

Spring — captain and keeper of the fifth-placed Campion side (3pts) — won the toss, opted to bat and then carried his bat for 65 from 84 balls with eight fours, the college getting to 140-4.

The previous Saturday, they had successfully defended 140 against GBHS on the practice wicket while dodging Doleman Cup bullets (from GBHS versus OBR on HBR No.2).

The Campion skipper was impressed by his Year 9 partner Hamish Swann’s discipline and technique.

“It’s hard work, opening against men but still, Hamish (28 off 49, three fours) and I put up 63 together,” Spring said.

“The bowling and fielding from HSOB was tight — we did well to post 140.

“We then made a promising start with the ball and were in with a shot. It was Ollie Needham’s composure that won HSOB the game. We fought hard against a strong side.”

The aforementioned Matt King, batting at No.5, struck 24 from 28 balls — the third knock of consequence in the innings.

Brett Armour was the most successful HSOB bowler with his tantalising off-spin. He took 2-27 off six overs.

Enter Blake Marshall, spearhead of Campion’s attack.

Marshall trapped the dangerous left-hander Baljeet Sandhu, leg before wicket, with the first ball of the second innings and took 2-16 off six overs, two of them maidens.

He shared the new ball with Luke Hurlstone (2-29 off six). Swann, another steady medium-pacer, grabbed 2-36 off 5.1 overs.

Juggling the bowlers at Senior B level is a different proposition now to what it was in the days of 40-over cricket, when captains needed to use only four bowlers.

The 22nd over in this Campion-versus-HSOB clash proved to be a turning point — it cost 26 runs, and included four boundaries. The last such over in Senior B cricket was Gisborne Boys’ High School’s Cohen Loffler versus Naden in February this year — the latter found the fence at mid-wicket four times.

HSOB skipper and keeper Needham’s unbeaten 49 off 67 balls, from No.4, was the key innings. It was backed up by Mahmood Ghaznavi’s 21-ball 22 from No.8.

They rode out the storm — Marshall’s second spell, overs 21 and 23, Brayden Sycamore having bowled the 22nd.

“Young Hamish played with composure for 28 — he put the bad ball away — in Campion’s good batting effort, but they were perhaps 10 to 20 runs light in the end,” Needham said.

“They also bowled well as a unit with Blake and Luke the picks. Hamish, too, was effective on that surface and Rhys Grogan conceded only 23 runs in six overs. Year 8 student Taye McGuinness didn’t look out of place in men’s cricket, with 1-11 off two overs.”

COACHING BEARS FRUIT: Kelan Bryant practises a pull shot as Northern Districts cricket development officer Cliff Dickeson (left) and Poverty Bay Cricket Association operations manager Nicholas Hendrie look on during a Northern Districts coaching clinic at Harry Barker Reserve in August last year. Bryant, 13, scored 62 for Gisborne Boys’ High School second 11 against Ngatapa on Saturday. File picture by Paul Rickard