HPCC win championship

Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club’s premiers celebrate after a much-deserved win to clinch the Hedley Howarth two-day championship title. Photo Jim Allnatt.

Howick Pakuranga are the champions of Auckland after claiming the Hedley Howarth two-day championship with a draw against East Coast Bays at Lloyd Elsmore Park on Saturday.
The HPCC premiers last won the cup 25 years ago.

In one of only two games that got on the field, East Coast Bays resumed day two with Michael Ross (31*) and the in-form Seb Langridge (9*) at the crease with their side on 51/2.

However, with the University/Papatoetoe fixture unable to get on the field, it soon became apparent that a draw was going to be enough for Howick to claim the title.

Skipper Bill Walsh celebrated the season with a couple of wickets while Seb Langridge (40*) finished his 2017/18 off with another solid knock.

With ECB on 147/7 and rain about ECB Captain Seb Langridge audibly congratulated the Howick side as the two teams walked off the field for the final time this season.

Howick Pakuranga had claimed the Hedley Howarth championship with an unbeaten season, including coming back from a first innings deficit against ECB earlier in the year.

It was the club’s first title in 26 years and their third ever Hedley Howarth championship.

Earlier on day one, Chris Groenink did the early damage for ECB with a couple of top order wickets.

However, it was that man Donovan Grobbelaar who brought his side back into the contest, using all his experience in his run-a-ball 85.

Grobbelaar hit 11 fours and three sixes in his knock, batting through the middle of the day with opener Bill Walsh (65).

Howick suffered another mini collapse around the 50 over mark, losing a couple of quick wickets.

It was the lower order who rallied for the home side, Adam Jones (45) holding things together at number 10 to ensure Howick Pakuranga passed the 300 mark.

Groenink finished with 4-55 from 23 overs while Michael Ross was the surprise package with 3-26.

But this was Howick Pakuranga’s game to celebrate after a long time between titles, something Coach Ben Williams can be immensely proud of also in his debut season with the club.

HPCC’s Jim Allnatt said: “It’s been quarter of a century since we last won the Hedley Howarth Cup. That’s a long time between drinks.

“With five matches to go we were lying in sixth place but we knew that if we could win each match on the first innings we would be there or thereabouts and that’s what happened.

“When you’ve got Rudi Botadra and Adam Jones batting 9 and 10 you know you got the strongest batting lineup in Club cricket and the boys bowled sides out as well with Adam, Rudi and Dale Phillips more than holding their own.”

RESULTS Howick Pakuranga 301 (B Walsh 65, D Grobbelaar 85, C Neale 31, R Botadra 31*, A Jones 45; C Groenink 4-55, M Ross 3-26) draw with East Coast Bays 147/7 (M Ross 31, S Langridge 40*, C Briggs 37)