It was with much anticipation that members
of the Hamilton Planks and Cambridge Antiques "Masters" Cricket sides arrived
at Seddon Park, Hamilton on Sunday April 8th. They were to battle it out, as
top qualifiers, in the Northern Districts Masters Club Cricket final. With a
history of very close matches over the last few years, this was the "dream"
final. The ground was looking a picture, and to play at Seddon Park was a
thrill for all. A large crowd was expected.
Antiques Captain Webb won the toss, and had no hesitation in batting. The opening batsmen made a cautious start, and Planks opening bowlers Blair Finlayson and Kevin Bartels were unable to make an early breakthrough.
At the 20 over halfway mark, the Antiques were 84 without loss, with opener Mayston 30 retired, and colleague Swanepoel, not far behind.
But the introduction of Captain Ritchie Stevens, and some excellent Planks ground fielding, saw the fall of 4 quick wickets. With the Planks enjoying the smooth, swift outfield, they were diving around like schoolboys. A senior Plank, post-match, was quick to praise the ground staff and the absence of bare patches and acorns. Nick Shoston and Malcolm Harding both effected great stops, resulting in run outs. Captain Stevens and highly regarded seamer, Grant Wood, picked up a wicket each.
Enter Captain Webb, and with a series of lusty blows, soon reached his 30 retired. However, all the Planks bowlers stuck to the task, with another run out, and a smart stumping by keeper Louis Ott, standing up to slippery seamer Shoston. The Antiques were all out with a few overs remaining, enabling the retirees to return. Death bowlers Finlayson and Shoston did the job asked of them by the skipper, and the Antiques finished on 200 after the 40 overs.
After a wonderful, leisurely lunch, with a large crowd building and a real festival atmosphere, Planks openers Harding and big Darren Mordecai strode purposefully out to the middle. Mordecai was an early casualty, with seamer Webb sneaking one through his defence. Enter the powerful Garth Littlejohn to the middle, and together with Harding, the score was rollicking along. Littlejohn quickly reached his 30, which featured 7 boundaries.
The batting exhibition was continued by Captain Stevens, with he, Harding, Ott and all-rounder Shoston, all reaching 30. Team statistician and scoreboard attendant Mordecai was keeping players and public up to date with the score and run rates.
There was a slight hiccup in the run chase with Wood and Bartels dismissed cheaply. However, the experienced Tony Govorko and Andrew Singers were in control, and saw the Planks home to a comfortable victory, with more than 7 overs remaining.
So a great day of cricket to conclude the season at Seddon Park. A big thanks to Cliff Dickeson of Northern Districts for staging the event, to the official umpires who gave up their Sunday and to all the family, friends, team members and supporters from both sides who came along to watch and support.
Cambridge Antiques 200 for 9 after 40 overs.
R Swanepoel 30. M Mayston 39 not out. G Webb 33 not out.
B Finlayson 2/15. G Wood 1/18. N Shoston 1/21. R Stevens 1/27. D Mordecai 1/15
3 run outs.
Hamilton Planks 204 for 3 after 32.5 overs.
M Harding 30 not out. G Littlejohn 30 not out. R Stevens 30 not out.
L Ott 35 not out. N Shoston 30 not out. T Govorko 16 not out. A Singers 13 not out.
G Webb 1/26. P Bridgens 1/17. G Calder 1/25.
Match reporter: B Finlayson.