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Captain’s knock sets up HSOB win

CRICKET.

Captain Carl Shaw scored an unbeaten 81 as High School Old Boys defeated Horouta in the Walker Shield twenty20 competition playoff for third on Saturday.

Bollywood Stars HSOB batted first and scored 173 for the loss of five wickets from their 20 overs at Harry Barker Reserve.

Shaw smacked nine fours and a six in his 58-ball knock at a strike rate of 140.

The HSOB bowlers then whittled away at a defiant Horouta batting line-up to restrict them to 121-8 for a 52-run win.

Spin bowler Adam Whibley produced a game-changing over for HSOB. Horouta were 74-2 at the start of the 11th over and looking to up the rate when Whibley struck.

Two stumpings (Liam Springs for seven and Tushar Balat for a two-ball duck) by wicketkeeper Ollie Needham off Whibley's bowling put Horouta on the back foot.

They had been batting positively, keeping a reasonable run rate for the first 10 overs only for Whibley to halt their momentum.

Keegan Martin (41 off 33 balls including three fours and two sixes) anchored the Horouta batting, but with limited help from his partners the required run rate grew.

Horouta captain and opener David Situ (their next highest scorer with 17 off 19 balls) said HSOB's consistent pressure eventually put his team between a rock and a hard place.

“Their bowling was pretty good and they slowed the run rate right down. We were really restricted over the middle overs. When the run rate was creeping over 10 (an over), both batsmen had to go for it, and we just had to hope he (Martin) could do it.”

When Martin was caught by Whibley off the bowling of Matt Adams in the 14th over, Horouta were 82-6 and the run rate had ballooned.

HSOB started strongly. Scott Tallott's 38 runs from 25 balls featured five boundaries and a six, and he and first drop Tyler Phelps (27 off 19) combined for an 88-run partnership.

Their left and right-handed combination looked almost unbreakable before a poor shot from Phelps saw him caught by Spring off Mike Gibson's bowling.

HSOB batted well throughout their innings, playing smart cricket while punishing the bad deliveries. They were helped by Horouta's indecision in the field, with several catching opportunities going amiss.

Shaw said it was great to be back at the Harry Barker grass pitches after playing on the artificial turf of Nelson Park the weekend before.

His team went into the tournament with the attitude of enjoying themselves and that was evident throughout.

“The game was a lot of fun as we knew it would be against Horouta,” said Shaw. “It was icing on top to win.

“I thought the format was a great idea. It worked really well, getting a real mix of players from all the grades and teams who just wanted to play cricket, and that inclusive atmosphere showed on Saturday.”

Chasing 174 was a big ask for Horouta but they gave themselves a chance.

They kept close to the asking rate through the first half of their innings, but Whibley (3-30 off four overs), Jared Priest (1-20 off 4) and Adams (2-22 off 4) combined to slow them down, and a stream of wickets stifled Horouta from being competitive at the death.

Despite the scorecard looking one-sided, Situ said his team could take a lot of confidence out of the game.

“I told the guys, ‘it's definitely chaseable' . . . you see what happens when batsmen get in. The boys enjoyed it regardless of how we went. The pressure wasn't fully off but it gave them freedom, especially with the bat.”

ON THE ATTACK: HSOB skipper Carl Shaw's 81 not out set up his team for victory in their Walker Shield twenty20 playoff for third against Horouta. Picture by Paul Rickard