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Super 8 winners not decided yet

THE winners of the Gisborne-hosted Super 8 secondary schools tournament probably won’t be decided until at least mid-February.

Rain this morning ended finals day before it even began and the six outside schools were heading home earlier than expected.

Defending champions Hamilton Boys’ High School and New Plymouth BHS were to decide the overall winners of the 50-over tournament. They will arrange a meeting some time in the near future to sort that out.

Gisborne Boys’ High School did not have a match today anyway. Their third consecutive loss yesterday at Harry Barker Reserve consigned them to seventh place out of the seven schools, Rotorua Boys’ High’s withdrawal having reduced the tournament to seven.

The other six schools were to play off for positions.

Gisborne lost by 119 runs to Hastings Boys’ High yesterday. Hastings won the toss, chose to bat and were dismissed for 246 in the 50th over — a seventh-wicket partnership of 67 steering them to a solid total after they were 135-6.

Gisborne coach Ben O’Brien-Leaf said all the bowlers stepped up after their heavy loss to New Plymouth on Tuesday.

Korban Harrison-Allen took 3-48 off 10 overs; fellow medium-pacer Jack Faulkner, 3-32 off 10; skipper and pace bowler Robbie Tallott, 1-32 off 10; offspinner Ben McNeil, who opened the bowling, 1-33 off 10; Ryan Nepe, battling a calf strain, 1-45 off six; and medium pacer Paul Stewart, 1-48 off 10.

Keeping the faithO’Brien-Leaf made special mention of Harrison-Allen and Stewart. Harrison-Allen had a rough Day 1 and Stewart struggled on Day 2, but both put that behind them and improved significantly.

“Robbie kept the faith in them, which was really good.”

Gisborne once again were exposed in their batting and were all out for 127 on the last ball of the 44th over.

McNeil completed a solid all-round display with 32 at No.4 while vice-captain Drew Scott made 23.

O’Brien-Leaf said the tournament was a learning curve for his young side, who comprise three Y13 students, three Y12s, three Y11s, three Y10s and one incoming Y9 student (Matt McNeil).

Some of the boys needed to learn to bat time; to set small goals rather than a long-term target, “to have a plan of how they are going to play”.

He intended to put a lot more time into areas such as throwing, footwork when batting, and fielding, in particular urgency in the field for the entire 50 overs.

He also wanted the boys to study the game and their opponents more closely, particularly in tournaments such as these where they were not familiar with their opposition.

One area he was delighted with was their attitude and commitment as a team. He was confident they had the potential to develop into a strong unit under the captaincy of Tallott, “who digs deeper than any other cricketer I’ve coached”.

O’Brien-Leaf paid tribute to the efforts of Mark Jefferson (GBHS manager), Poverty Bay cricket development officer David McDonald and groundsman Rowan Clark, whose pitches played really well, he said.

“I’d also like to thank my boys for their efforts.”