NZC National Men’s Under 19 Tournament
ROUND ONE | 4 December 2019
Central Districts U19 beat Otago U19 by three wickets on the last ball
Lincoln Green, Lincoln
A last-ball thriller provided plenty of bitten fingernails on day one as the NZC National Men's Under-19 championships got underway for 2019/20.
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Otago had won the first toss and batted on Lincoln Green in windy conditions, putting on a respectable 242 for nine in their 50 overs first up.
Captain Beckham Wheeler-Greenall dominated the scorecard with his 89 at number four, providing a steadying influence for his team across 28 overs - and the possibility of a captain’s century even coming into view as the first innings hit the death overs.
Clumps of wickets had hurt Otago’s momentum at key times, however. Both opening batsman were back in the pavilion at 60/2, and CD’s Akhil Kumar was involved in two early dismissals as he bowled Josh Kellett and then ran out Harrison Biggs in the 13th.
Wheeler-Greenhall had done well to settle things down with Tom Dempster until Jordie Gard went on a wicket spree of his own at the 30-over mark — having both Dempster and Caleb Carson caught, then bowling Ethan Booth in the 40th, and finally running out a gutted Wheeler-Greenhall at the end of the 47th over.
The tail produced a run-a-ball finish while CD’s Gard walked off with a first-up haul of 3-48, and Logan Trower 2-38.
Remarkably both sides would find themselves 68/3 in this encounter with CD likewise getting off to a stuttery start with the bat.
With Ben Hatton picking up both NZU19 centurion Thomas Zohrab and fellow opener Finn Raxworthy (30) and Mason James meanwhile bowling Sam Lauderdale-Smith, Otago was doing the job with the ball early.
NZU19s youngster Will Clark recombined with Heaphy for the fourth wicket but Wheeler-Greenhall managed to trap him on 31 at the midway mark of the match: 102/4.
CD’s line-up was getting starts but not going on, until captain Joey Field, another NZU19s rep this year, strode in at seven. The tall allrounder brought up a 50 off just 60 balls as he worked alongside Finn Restieaux at the death to bring the ask down to run a ball.
That equation had dropped to just 19 off the last 15 balls when Otago struck back with his wicket, given LBW on 56 (3x4, 3x6) in the 48th over.
If it was a pressure situation for new man Gard, it didn’t show as he punched Angus Herron for six off the second ball he faced.
With 10 off the penultimate over, CD now needed just five off the last, then three off the last two balls as Blair Donaldson kept it tight.
Gard once again had the strike under pressure, but managed to turn over a quick single off the penultimate ball that allowed Finn Restieaux (32*) to win the match on the last delivery with a boundary.