NZCT National Club Cricket Championship 2019
Cornwall Cricket Club, Auckland
Parnell (Auckland) defeated Greerton (Northern Districts) by four wickets
When you smash 12 sixes and 11 boundaries for 125 off 51 rocks... and you still don’t get a win. Greerton opener Henry Collier (a former New Zealand Under-19 World Cup rep; above) had a pretty good week at the 2019 NZCT National Club Cricket Championship even if his club couldn’t get on the board and took the wooden spoon in the 5 v 6 playoff on Finals Day.
The left-hander was coming off a half century in the previous match on the Friday against challenging Easts, and a knock of 77 against Green Island before that. He was on course for a big one to finish on the number three ground, with its beckoning short, straight boundary, after his captain Brett Hampton won the toss and batted (a match reduced to 49 overs as the ground dried out from the previous day’s downpour).
Collier’s first 50 came off just 19 balls, and was composed entirely in boundaries: 5 x 4, 5 x 6. So far, so good. Having lost his scoreless opening partner third ball of the innings, he had wasted no time in a 96-run second wicket stand with Pip Thickpenny (25).
After Parnell paceman Keegan Russell had Thickpenny caught and bowled at the end of the eighth over, the foot went back down and Collier got his second 50 off 25 balls to clock up a smashing century off just 44 balls (9 x 4, 10 x 6).
Russell was no doubt moderately happy to pick up his wicket on 125, caught by Harry Miller after 52 minutes of carnage. Greerton was 159 for four by then, after just 14 overs.
Hampton (38 off 31, below) and Lee Watkins (38 off 34) kept up the pace so that, even with Parnell dismissing Greerton inside 31 overs, they reached 281 — thanks to Collier’s insolent start.
Russell, for his trouble, ended up with 3-61 off seven overs, and spinner Anikhet Parikh mopped up with 3-22 of his 4.5 at the back end.
A few more runs from the tail might have put more pressure on the Aucklanders, however, with a total of 300 considered par on the ground at the championship. It gave Parnell a license to thrill in reply. They, too, would end their innings in exactly 30.5 overs. The problem for their opponents was that they were only six down in doing so, helping themselves to the four-wicket win thanks to captain Brad Rodden responding with his own blazing hundred.
Rodden’s 50-ball, unbeaten 129* took the tally of sixes in the match to 43, a thoroughly pyrotechnic display in fewer than 62 overs and much time spent looking for and replacing balls.
And, all this with Greerton having had Parnell in early difficulty. The team from Tauranga might finally have been sniffing a win from 27 for two, if they could just keep this up. By the time Rodden arrived at the crease, Parnell was in further trouble at 80 for four after 13 overs.
Captain Rodden simply let fly, hitting 16 sixes and five fours in his innings. Crucially he batted 10 overs with Josh Fisher – who made 57 off 38, with five fours and five sixes – in easily the longest partnership by either side.
Greerton used eight bowlers to try and separate the damaging pair, but it was to no avail as Parnell picked up just their second win of the tournament to finish off the 2018/19 season on a winning note.
FINAL STANDINGS for 2019
1. Napier Tech Old Boys (Central Districts)
2. St Albans (Canterbury)
3. Eastern Suburbs (Wellington)
4. Green Island (Otago)
5. Parnell (Auckland)
6. Greerton (Northern Districts)