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Ngatapa spring seismic-scale upset

CRICKET by Ben O’Brien-Leaf

It was a club cricket upset of seismic scale at Harry Barker Reserve on Saturday.

Two-time Hope Cup defending champions Ngatapa ended OBR’s Senior B winning streak this season at 12 victories.

Ngatapa’s margin of victory in the top-of-the-table clash was seven wickets, while Horouta beat High School Old Boys Presidents by six wickets and Campion College made it three from three against the winless Gisborne Boys’ High School (2) by four runs.

The points now read: Rawhiti Legal OBR 36, Civil Project Solutions Ngatapa

Green Caps 30, Siteworx Horouta 21, Bollywood High School Old Boys Presidents 18, Campion College 12 and Gisborne Boys’ High School (2) 0.

And while there’s no denying that Horouta keeping their season alive is big news, or that Kavindu Withanage almost swung the Boys’ High-Campion game Boys’ High School’s way, Ngatapa made history and gave their chances of a “three-peat” the perfect boost at the most opportune moment imaginable.

Caps skipper Mike Gibson won the toss on Harry Barker Reserve No.3 and, armed with quality pace and spin, opted to bowl.

Wicket-takers Ryan West (3-17), his new-ball partner, left-armer Will Faulks (1-22), and Gibson himself (3-20) bowled out. Seamer George Whitehead took 2-26 from five overs and off-spinner Grant Walsh cost only 23 runs in six overs as OBR were pinned down for 118-9 in 30 overs.

Only OBR titan Craig Christophers, who carried his bat for 69 off 88 balls with four fours in 112 minutes, made runs of note for the competition leaders. The next-best effort was 13 by leftie Peter Stewart at No.2.

OBR needed to bowl superbly in defence of 118. Left-armer George Reynolds (2-15 in two overs) and his fellow opening bowler Amit Vyas (1-34) probed for weaknesses with Vyas even supplying a comic twist in the form of an anomaly: a seventh over.

Walsh, who faced the first ball of the second innings, and second-drop gloveman Simon Wilson both made 38. Wilson and Gibson (22 at No.5) were together at the end, Ngatapa reaching 119-3 in 20.2 overs.

Christophers said: “Hats off to Ngatapa. They had a plan and stuck to it. They bowled very tight lines to well-set fields with sweepers cutting off boundaries. They caught well, stayed positive in the field and theirs was the same blueprint that we’ve been reaching for this season.

“Limiting extras and taking catches is key when fielding.”

WELL might Liam Spring breathe a sigh of relief.

The Campion College first 11 captain was the dominant figure in the schools derby with Gisborne Boys’ High School.

But though winning the toss and making 32 at the top of the order might have been on the cards, odds-on bowling his off-spin in the last over with GBHS requiring 14 to win, wasn’t.

No.11 Akira Makiri was stumped by Daniel Bailie for seven off the last ball of an over which cost 10 to preserve victory for Campion by four runs.

Bailie also held a catch in the gripping encounter, his team having posted 176-4 first-up. Reuben Swanepoel continued his tremendous representative and Challenge Cup batting form with an unbeaten 53 in 76 balls from No.5, all-rounder Rhys Grogan (37 as second-drop) giving Campion a third run-scorer of note. Spring, Swanepoel and Grogan stepped up for their team without their three regular adult players - coach Mark Naden and his fellow schoolteachers Darryl Dunn and Matt King - against Boys’ High.

First-change Daniel Watts’ inswing netted him 2-31 and John Broad’s outswinger yielded 1-23 (both were good for six overs) while surprise package Dylan Worsnop - the eighth bowler used - took 1-29 off four at “the death”. Broad, in the absence of Bekko Page, who was magnificent in the field against Horouta last week, produced a Bekko Page-calibre effort in the field, at one stage haring lt 25m around the fine leg boundary to save four runs.

Watts bowled Spring’s opening partner Hamish Swann (8) and later had first-drop Luke Hurlstone (3) leg before wicket with outstanding deliveries older, more experienced player.s - even premier batsmen - might have had to work hard to defend.

Grogan (2-24), Taye McGuinness (2-25), Hurlstone (2-34) and Swann (2-43) all bowled out, while up-and-coming Year 9 student Connor Starck (1-13 from three) held two catches. Spring took 1-17 off two but as has been mentioned before, has the potential to be a front line off-spinner.

For Boys’ High, their captain Dylan Foster (27 from 37, four fours) and No.7 Kavindu Withanage (20) played well. Foster cleared the man in the ring at wicket three times, while Withanage’s flair and unorthodoxy had Campion scratching their heads.

Withanage plays with flair outside off-stump but also hits hard pull-shots: against a field set peculiarly close, he took toll. Foster later said: “It was a nail-biter and fantastic to play cricketers of our own age and level which gave us a super-close match.”