First-up wins for GBHS and HSOB
Gisborne Boys' High School held on to win their first match in the DJ Barry Cup against OBR on Saturday in a game that could have gone either way.
The Galaxy World GBHS team won by three wickets over Coastal Concrete OBR in a match where both teams were missing some of their key playmakers.
In the other match of the day, Bollywood Stars HSOB cruised to victory against Horouta to win by six wickets in the 21st over.
OBR batted first against GBHS and set 151 to win for GBHS, who made their run-chase harder than it needed to be with a steady stream of wickets.
GBHS's win came off the back of their first innings, only allowing 12 boundaries with tight bowling that restricted OBR significantly. The most expensive GBHS over was nine runs, in a testament to their line and length that gave their opponents trouble finding scoring opportunities.
Josiah Turner opened the bowling attack and set the tone early, with an economy of 2.25 from his eight overs.
The entire GBHS bowling attack worked in unison to apply pressure and capitalised on the mistakes that were forced from OBR's slowing run rate.
Missing both Nicholas Hendrie and Graham Sharp, who have established themselves as crucial wickets, GBHS forged ahead to earn a hard-fought win.
When the team lost coach Mal Trowell to be 89/7 at the start of the 24th over it looked like GBHS were in trouble, with their tail exposed. But Te Raimana Gray (42) and Travis O'Rourke's (23) partnership of 63 runs was unbreakable as they guided their team to victory.
The duo dispatched the bad balls to the boundary and played solid defence on the good balls, stumping the OBR bowlers who were unable to find the breakthrough they needed.
Trowell said before the game that the team needed to have several players step up if they were to come away with the victory, and that's precisely what Gray and O'Rourke did.
“I was pretty pleased with Te Raimana and Travis. Travis has the potential and it's good to see him come out and play like that . . . Te Raimana didn't look like getting out — they've both really come on.
“It's good for the team to not have the older guys doing the job for them . . . it was a good contribution from everyone.”
Paul Stewart bowled well for OBR, taking four wickets in his 10 overs, but it wasn't enough against a strong GBHS side.
OBR captain Ian Loffler said the odds were stacked against them, having four fill-ins and only fielding 10 players.
“We almost snuck in a win which would have been an upset.”
He said being a bowler short cost them late in the game, with their three preferred bowlers having to bowl out their overs early to keep up the pressure.
“We thought anything 150-plus would be competitive . . . All credit to GBHS, hopefully we can get our top team out together and finish the season strongly.”
In the other game of the day, opening batsman Ben Brick was the saving grace for Horouta, scoring 48 (off 62 balls) of his team's 116 runs before being dismissed LBW by Drew Scott.
Scott earnt four wickets from his 4.2 overs as he worked his way through the Horouta batting line-up, after coming into the attack in the 22nd over.
Horouta had been slowly building with Scott coming on and were at 87/3 before collapsing, losing seven wickets for 29 runs in nine overs.
Ducan Gibson batting third was the only other player for Horouta to score double-digit runs, with 13, as the team failed to establish themselves at the crease against a strong HSOB bowling attack.
Horouta captain David Situ said his experiemnt to put a few players higher in the order, and have himself and Keegan Martin bat further down the order, still had some kinks that needed to be ironed out, but it “definitely helped”.
“We've had a little bit of stuggles at the top of the order and seeing what happened on Saturday, it helped a lot more.
“The middle order is still a bit shaky.”
He said Martin was dismissed off a good ball for cheap, and Ryan Majstrovic caught him with a “screamer of a catch”, which made it hard to go on and set a competitive total.
“We bowled fairly well but didn't score enough runs to keep the pressure going. Keegan (Martin) and Ryan (Nepe) bowled really well with no reward.”
The HSOB bowling attack was like a shark circling their prey as they slowly constricted Horouta, never allowing two boundaries in the same over.
HSOB captain Carl Shaw said choosing to bowl first gave them a lot of control with the tournament's new format, but it took a little bit of time for his team to settle into the game.
“Horouta started really well with the bat, and dropping five catches didn't help our cause. Dropping catches doesn't win matches.
“I'm really proud of how we stayed positive and supported one another. Drew's spell of leg-spin bowling was incredible — wonderful control and courage, and he deserved every wicket he got.”
In the second innings HSOB didn't let down the pressure. Their batters scored with regularity and precision as they quickly worked through the required total with six wickets in hand in the 21st over.
Shaw said Scott's performance, along with Baxter Mackay to set the stage in their innings with the bat was “wonderfully patient”, and they were unlucky not to bat on and score a large number of runs.
“The debutant Sean Wills then came in and finished the game with an amazing display of skill and understanding of his own game.
“We are thrilled to have him on board.”