NZCT National Club Cricket Championship 2019
Cornwall Cricket Club, Auckland
Napier Technical Old Boys defeated St Albans by five wickets
It was the first five-wicket bag Bronson Meehan, 29, had ever taken for his club Napier Technical Old Boys, and what a time to do it.
Allrounder Meehan, who was named man of the match, claimed stunning figures of 5-16, including three maidens, off his 9.3 overs to restrict Christchurch's strong St Albans to just 96 in a low-scoring, yet tense, NZCT National Club Cricket Championship final at Auckland's Cornwall Cricket Club.
"Texans" captain Liam Rukuwai had won the toss and elected to bowl on a tacky surface in brilliantly fine conditions, just a half-hour delay necessary for dew to burn off the outfield after the previous day's heavy rain.
The match began ominously for Rukuwai, however, as the captain conceded 17 runs off the first over of the match and the Saints' Dan Sharples (below) raced out of the starting blocks.
It was St Albans' fourth appearance in the main Final, and they had got there undefeated this time as the only club to have beaten Napier Tech during the round robin. Yet they were destined to be bridesmaids yet again, as the trophy eluded them for a fourth time.
St Albans was bowled out in the 35th over, the opening breakthrough by NTOB paceman Stevie Smidt triggering a domino effect through the St Albans innings. But it was the spinners who profited with Meehan's 5-16 backed up by 2-13 off six overs from New Zealand Under 19 rep Todd Watson (below), who was later named Player of the Tournament.
Coached by player-coach Jesse Ryder, Napier Tech's chase was not without its own wobbles, finding themselves two down before lunch. However, Meehan and Watson were ultimately comfortable as they chased down their target in 34.1 overs to claim the national club title for their club for a third time (with previous national crowns won in 2003 and 2018).
Eastern Suburbs (Wellington) defeated Green Island (Dunedin) by 59 runs
- Wellington's Eastern Suburbs batsman Jimad Khan scored 99 and veteran bowler Paul Connell (above) took 5-32 to trump Dunedin's Green Island for the bronze in the 3v4 Final
- Earlier, Blair Soper had claimed 6-31 off his nine overs as Green Island restricted Easts to 162, but O'Connell turned the tables on the Dunedin side as the Wellingtonians bowled them out for 103 in reply.
- Eastern Suburbs' Jamie Gibson (above) was named Allrounder of the Tournament
- Green Island's Christi Viljoen (above) was named Batsman of the Tournament
- Green Island's Blair Soper (above) was named Bowler of the Tournament.
Parnell (Auckland) defeated Greerton (Northern Districts) by four wickets
- Parnell captain Brad Rodden (below) responded, however, smashing a ballistic 129 off 50 balls
- Rodden blasted 16 sixes in his match-winning innings to ensure his side avoided the wooden spoon for 2019
All images: MBUTCHER
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)