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Campion give OBR a fright in edge-of-your-seat cricket match

Garland, van Zyl steady ship after students have them in dire straits.

Campion College cricket is edge-of-your-seat stuff in 2021.

The Liam Spring-led giant-killing first 11, who beat Senior B champions and holders of the Hope Cup HSOB Presidents by nine runs nine days ago, came within three wickets of victory against last season's finalists OBR at the weekend.

Campion captain Spring's team could have been forgiven had their heads hung after the first innings in Round 5. On a decent Harry Barker Reserve No.4 deck — their skipper having won the coin-toss and opted to bat — the college was all-out for 62 in 27.4 of a possible 30 overs.

Tall left-armer George Reynolds (4-16) and OBR spearhead Lloyd van Zyl (3-15) both bowled their full complement of six overs to devastating effect. Reynolds is a skilful operator: his tight line from over-the-wicket, with an angle away plus a little swing back, is too much for the majority of Senior B batsmen.

Van Zyl is rather swift for the same. Year 9 Aiden Armstrong, batting at No.9, was the only Campion batsman to dig his toes in with 14 off 44 balls. That effort by Armstrong was an innings of character.

There followed the unexpected.

Rhys Grogan, fresh off taking 5-24 v HSOB, stepped up again to take 3-15 and his partner in crime Connor Starck got in with 3-25. Wicket-keeper Daniel Baillie, injured hand or not, held three catches off the two young swing bowlers — and Rawhiti Legal Old Boys Rugby were in the most dire of straits having lost five wickets for four runs. But for Oliver Garland's 26 from No.6 and van Zyl's timely 34 not out batting at eight, matters might have been much worse.

It was a nice touch that seasoned campaigners van Zyl and Reynolds (unbeaten on three) were together at the wicket when OBR brought up their win with a boundary from the bowling of Luke Hurlstone, one of only two Year 13s in the college side.

Campion coach Mark Naden was chuffed with the heart his outfit showed: “Aiden batted from the 13th over to the 27th with great technique and patience.

“I'm proud that our boys are improving with every game and, most importantly, that they never stop fighting.”

OBR skipper Craig Christophers was at different stages a tad concerned.

“This was a close, low-scoring match. We made a slow start with the bat. For Campion, Rhys Grogan was their stand-out player with bat and ball.”

Grogan and Campion may have made a close contest when defending 62 but the GBHS second 11 couldn't prize a scalp out of Ngatapa in their clash on the practice wicket.

Civil Project Solutions Ngatapa Green Caps ran GBHS' total of 92 down in 9.3 overs, Boys' High Bekko Page having earlier won the toss and chosen to bat.

Gisborne Boys' were bowled out for 92 in 24.2 overs, West the pacey opening bowler having reason to feel aggrieved.

During the first innings, the ball took the outside and inside edge of the bat 12 times in all but not one chance was taken behind the wicket.

West and new ball partner Zac Borrie took 1-17 and 1-10 respectively while big leftie Will Faulks, with 2-15, and the bustling Thor Crombie (4-4) took the major prizes.

Neither Page's co-captain Lukas Fry (16) at first-drop or No.11 Dylan Worsnop (13) could be said to have been “in.”

West (56) and Charles Morrison (20) were unbeaten in the chase, with both teams being able to take in quality action between balls, playing as they were between the two Premier Grade tussles.

The youngest team in senior club cricket didn't shell a catch . . . or apply pressure to either opening bat with six consecutive balls on a good line and length. GBHS are capable of making 130 — and defending 180 — yet absent a half century-maker or two, to post 130 or more is difficult.

It is time that they and other players with Challenge Cup experience take the next step of building partnerships, hitting the ball with intent and running much harder between wickets than they currently do, on Saturday afternoons.

If not, then older opponents may give them a bit of good-natured ribbing (and rightly so) to get their young selves into gear.

In that spirit, Green Caps skipper Ben Holden and his posse contributed greatly to the way in which the game was played.

Holden spoke to the Caps' good form: “Our men played well and we're seeing greater consistency week-in, week-out in all departments. I thought Thor (with the ball) and Ryan (with the bat) were the best of us.”

A Horouta team with Mel Knight at the helm is a different beast.

The Waka handed HSOB Presidents their third straight loss in as many weeks — this timeby eight wickets.

Knight won the toss and chose to bowl on Reserve ground No.3.

Her Tairawhiti Women's Cricket Club protégé Grace Levy — the fifth seamer — responded superbly, bowling out to take 3-26.

Horouta's strike weapon Piumal Madasanka nabbed 2-19 as the Presidents, under ‘keeper-skipper Ollie Needham, got to 141 in 29.3 overs.

Second-drop Needham (30), opener Nathaniel Fearnley (27) and Mahmood Khan (21, batting at eight) wielded the willow to best effect for HSOB. Classy Fearnley, just 14 years old, and the team's gloves shared a 63-run stand for the third wicket.

Fearnley's strokeplay and poise in the middle were remarked upon by good judges.

A score of 141 is a fair total in Senior B Grade cricket but it is the sort of mid-range score — in defence of which — wickets must be taken soon after the resumption. Catches must be held.

As it was, old hand Mike Tapp (20 not out) at the top of the order and No.4 Aman Kamboj (75) shared a partnership of 128. They secured victory for the green and gold in their 98 minutes together.

Slippery quick Anil Kumar, the only Presidents bowler to take a wicket, bowled out with 2-31.

That he was very full versus Vishal Singh (11) and straight enough to trap Knight lbw first ball would indicate he bowled smart.

Needham had no complaints while Fearnley, since returning from King's College in August due to the lockdown, has thrived in his home (Poverty Bay) cricket environment.

“Being able to play my No.1 sport here — where I couldn't have, had I remained up in Auckland — has been awesome, to be honest,” he said. “I've been able to practise and just be around the game for the last six weeks.”