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Horouta secure first win

THE rub of the green didn't go the way of local club cricket powerhouse OBR on Saturday.

Both OBR Rugby teams – Coastal Concrete OBR, in Round 2 of the Premier Grade race for the DJ Barry Cup – and Senior B side Rawhiti Legal OBR, in Round 9 of the Hope Cup – lost by just one run.

The result gave Siteworx Civil Horouta their first win of the season, with a monumental effort in the field.

After scoring a below-par 154, they rallied in the field to create a barn-burning game that either team could have won.

Captain David Situ led from the front for Horouta with a patient 45 runs before being denied his half-century by Ian Loffler off the spin of OBR captain Nick Greeks.

He was one of six bowlers to take wickets as Horouta were unable to make the strong partnerships needed to post a stronger total.

“Going into the field, I knew 154 wasn't much to defend, but it was definitely defendable,” said Situ.

OBR looked to play confident cricket as they came out to bat, but were punished on a wicket that looked to have variable bounce.

Combined with a first-shift bowling masterclass from Horouta's Shubham Ralhan (3-26) and Bruno Judd (3-41) to take five wickets in the opening 10 overs, OBR were on the back foot.

Fantastic fielding also saw opener Paul Stewart run out in the second over. With Stewart having been sent back after a great piece of fielding from Teghbir Singh while he looked to pressure for a quick single, Singh then sent Stewart to the dressing rooms with a fantastic throw from a tricky angle for a direct hit.

OBR's woes were then compounded as they found themselves 40-7 after another direct hit, this time from Ben Brick, as Ian Loffler (17) looked to hustle through for a single.

Horouta looked in control, 113 runs ahead with the eighth and ninth batsmen, Daniel Stewart and Deevon Grey, at the crease.

The pair had other plans.

They combined for a 91-run partnership that put OBR right back into the game, before Stewart was dismissed for 36, to have them 131-8 needing 24 runs from 17 overs.

The stage was set for a showdown, with elation in store for one team and heartbreak for the other.

The tension only heightened with Judd breaking through after changing to around the wicket to dismiss Grey for 33.

OBR, having clambered back from the brink of defeat, were 149-9. Horouta's spirits were back after the deflation of seemingly squandering a golden opportunity.

Six runs needed and one wicket in hand.

Judd and Shubham had bowled out their overs, Horouta having gone for an all-or-nothing effort to make a breakthrough knowing they didn't have the overs in hand.

It was left to Jagroop Singh to bowl what looked like the final over of the game. With OBR on 153, chasing 155 to win, he was called up to the crease to deliver his right-arm medium pace at 11th batsman Jimmy Holden.

Having gone for nine runs in his first three overs, he was their safest choice and delivered Horouta the win with his second delivery of the over with Shubham taking a spooned-up catch at mid-off and the entire team mobbing him in celebration. With six edges sliding between slips and out of reach and 47 extras, it was nearly a self-inflicted defeat after starting “really well”, said Situ.

“It was a good win and the team were pumped with the result.”

Greeks said Horouta had taken their chances throughout the game and deserved their win “You won't win games playing poor cricket shots. And that's something we have to work on in the coming weeks at training.

“We got very close in a game where we shouldn't have. It was great to see Dan Stewart and Deevon Gray dig in and nearly get us home.”

LED FROM THE FRONT: Captain David Situ's 45 runs in the middle of the Horouta innings saved his team from defeat in their one run victory over OBR. This coming weekend, he will be hoping to continue his form as Horouta participate in a one-off 20/20 tournament held at Harry Barker Reserve. Picture by Paul Rickard