Twin centuries for Sharp
A scintillating batting performance from Gisborne Boys' High School's Graham Sharp propelled his team to two easy victories in premier grade cricket's Walker Shield T20 competition.
Opening the batting, Sharp scored centuries in wins against both Horouta and HSOB on the same day, hitting 39 boundaries including 10 sixes as he raced to 232 runs in just 122 balls without losing his wicket.
A first-innings score of 107 not out off 65 balls against Horouta in their opening game was overshadowed mere hours later by his 125 not out off just 57 balls against HSOB.
The power of Sharp was in full display as he and his batting partner, David Gray, combined for 44 runs in the space of just two overs at the death to catapult GBHS to a score of 173-4 against HSOB.
It was a mixture of skill with a smattering of luck for Sharp as he was dropped four times by Horouta and at least once by HSOB.
He said he wasn't focused on his individual performance. Rather, it was a team effort and getting two wins from two games was an “excellent result”.
GBHS coach Mal Trowell said Sharp's performance with the bat, scoring more than half their runs, set a strong foundation for his team to defend.
“I can't say I've seen a performance like that before . . . he certainly set more than just a platform for us.”
Trowell said he was incredibly happy with how the team performed, saying they still needed to back Sharp's innings up in the field.
“The guys with the ball all bowled pretty well . . . all round I'm happy with the performance.”
GBHS had an intensity that had been missing in the field in previous games, but it wasn't a perfect outing, he said.
“(The fielding) in the second game was much better than the first but it's something we can improve . . . but the intensity, even in the warm-ups, it was amazing.”
They will meet OBR, who also achieved two wins against HSOB and Horouta on Saturday, in the final.
OBR earned a first-up win against an HSOB side who were missing eight of their first-class players.
It was a close game, where HSOB rallied late to score 122 in their 20 overs, with Ryan Majstrovic hitting 20 runs in the final four balls, which included three sixes, to set a competitive total to defend.
Ultimately, Majstrovic's last-gasp heroics weren't enough, OBR cruising home in the 18th over to win by four wickets.
Stand-in HSOB captain Pat Udall said they had to scratch a team together last minute.
“One guy had never played cricket before. We had no expectation of winning.”
Udall said it was hard to find positives from a day where they lost two games, but even fielding a team was a triumph in their circumstances.
“We've always been a club that celebrates our cricket and to give some guys out there some experience was a win.”
OBR's second game was a nail-biter, needing five to win off their final over after losing two wickets in the previous two overs.
It was left to opening batsman Craig Cristophers (67, not out) to seal OBR's final berth with a four and a six in the first two balls of the 20th over.
OBR captain Ian Loffler said it was an all-round team effort on Saturday, with several players drafted up from their 2nd 11 to make a combined T20 team.
“It was well led by Craig Christophers, who built a good team spirit during the day. Everyone contributed and took part in a sort-of-like-a-festive atmosphere.”
Loffler said it was good to play some games that went down to the wire and he was thankful they came away with the win, particularly against Horouta.
“When Craig and I were batting we thought we had it in the bag. All credit to Horouta, they made a fun game of it with a couple of quick wickets.”
Horouta stand-in captain Parminder Kulaar said his team had been struggling for numbers. With several of their key players missing, they had to pull a team together last minute.
His team played “quite well” in both games but could not capitalise on the important moments, he said.
“A big concern was our fielding; we dropped a lot of catches.
“From us, Tushar (Balaat) played well in both games with bat and bowl.”
Next weekend sees OBR scheduled to face GBHS before the final, which will also include both teams.
Poverty Bay Cricket Association operations manager Nicholas Hendrie said he would be in discussions with the clubs to see if they wanted to play both games, or just one.
HSOB and Horouta will face off in the other game next weekend in a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.
GBHS 158-3 (Graham Sharp 107 not out) defeated Horouta 112-8 (Tushar Balat 40; Max Briant 2-14, Daniel Stewart 2-30).
HSOB 122-8 (Isreal Turner 38, Ryan Majstrovic 24; Jonathan Purcell 3-11, Lloyd van Zyl 2-18) defeated by OBR 123-6 (Nick Greeks 30 not out, Cody Andrews 25; Israel Turner 2-13, Yegan Lanka 2-18, Marshall Norris 2-30).
GBHS 173-4 (Graham Sharp 125 not out, David Gray 22; Angus Orsler 2-17, Jared Priest 2-34) defeated HSOB (Paul Udall 31; Matthew Foster 3-27, Daniel Stewart 2-15, Nathan Trowell 2-26).
Horouta 132-7 (Yegan Lanka 42, Tushar Balat 37, Keegan Martin 26; Lloyd van Zyl 2-12) defeated by OBR 138-6 (Craig Christophers 67, Cody Andrews 20; Parminder Kulaar 3-22).