NZCT National Club Cricket Championship 2019
Cornwall Cricket Club, Auckland
2-7 April 2019
Eastern Suburbs defeated Green Island by 10 runs
Undefeated Green Island versus winless Eastern Suburbs: no contest, right? Wrong. Easts is a decidedly useful side, stacked with experienced players who had already won this title twice in recent seasons — and they were no doubt stinging from a luckless start from their first two rounds. They were destined for yet another close finish, and this time luck would be on their side.
On another fine, sunny morning the Green Island elected to bowl first on the big number one ground. Easts opening batsman Ben Orton and Jeremy Dean made a fair start against Blair Soper, Ethan Childs and first change Christi Viljoen before Ben Orton was caught off Soper at 33 for one.
Dean had carefully picked his way to 32, including the first six of the innings, before Geordie Scott (who went for an impressive 2-11 off his six overs) came on in the 14th and struck in his second over, bowling him at 54 for two.
That brought Michael Bracewell to the crease to pair with young Luke Georgeson who was just getting started. Unfortunately for Easts, Bracewell couldn’t get going as the pair fell in quick succession to Joyce and Scott respectively: 66 for four.
It was impressive stuff from Green Island with the ball and they would keep it up. Jimad Khan and Jamie Gibson started afresh in the 22nd over and Gibson was able to stick around until the 40th, getting the Wellingtonians to 150. His 39 was the side’s top score, and with Lauchie Johns making a quick start their was hope for a sixth wicket recovery. But that man Soper had Johns caught behind on 16.
The “Swamprats” kept the pressure on — bowling out Easts for 171 in the 47th over.
Soper finished with 3-37 while young Southland spinner Jack Mockford mopped up the tail with 4-28 off his 7.2 overs.
But Green Island was soon in trouble in the reply. Without the services of the the previous day’s century-maker Brad Wilson, the onus fell on Mark Joyce who doggedly battled away at first drop for more than two hours for his 57 off 130 balls.
Joyce’s problem was that he had lost a succession of partners, Green Island finding themselves in a pickle at 40 for four. But a form batsman in allrounder Christi Viljoen would keep him company for some 25 overs as the pair grafted a crucial stand of 87 for the fifth wicket to keep them in the chase.
Viljoen reached 45 off 55 balls before Michael Bracewell continued his giant-killing form with the ball at the tournament and had him bowled, at 127 for five in the 40th over.
With another five wickets in hand, Green Island needed just a further 45 runs at less than five an over, but when Joyce departed soon after — a second wicket for young Jed Wiggins — the tail was exposed on a tricky deck.
Wiggins (3-35) soon had his third as the nails on the sidelines began to be bitten, Green Island perishing in the 47th over just 10 runs short of maintaining their winning streak. For Easts, meanwhile, they were back in the hunt, and in the nick of time with just two more rounds until Finals day.
Friday 5 April 2019
- Napier Technical Old Boys v Parnell on Number One
- St Albans v Green Island on Number Two
- Greerton v Eastern Suburbs on Number Three
All matches are free admission and live-scored from 10am at nzc.nz